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Bank hostage's suit against Cary police dismissed

Posted April 11, 2013

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— A judge has dismissed a Cary man's lawsuit against local police stemming from his treatment during a hostage situation at a bank two years ago.

Police say that Devon Mitchell, 19, claimed to have a gun and held as many as seven people hostage at a Wachovia bank on Feb. 10, 2011. He let five hostages, including Rev. Lee Everett, leave over the course of three hours.

As he escaped, Everett said, police mistook him for the hostage-taker. He said officers immediately jumped him, kneed him in the back and neck and forced him to ground.

Everett said he yelled that he was a hostage, but police didn't realize he wasn't the suspect until they had dragged him across the parking lot and over a fence.

His lawsuit claimed that he was treated differently than the six white hostages because police knew that the gunman was black.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway this week granted Cary's motion that the suit be dismissed.

"Confidence in our officers and the actions they took during the hostage crisis has never wavered, and while this lawsuit has been an ordeal, it has not diverted anyone’s focus from the real tragedy of that day.” Town Attorney Christine Simpson said in a statement.

“As with all allegations, we thoroughly investigated Mr. Everett’s complaints. We found them to be false then and appreciate that the judge agrees with us now that his charges against our officers were without merit," Police Chief Pat Bazemore said in a statement.

The standoff at the bank on Green Level Church Road ended when Mitchell left the bank holding what appeared to be a gun to the head of a woman and was shot and killed by law enforcement.

31 Comments

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  • ncst8mpa Apr 17, 2013

    The article failed to mention previous reports that Everett had to be taken to the hospital with torn shoulder muscles and bruises resulting from the takedown and that both he and his wife lost time at work because of the incident. While I'm no fan of giving anyone a free ride, "Gee, we're sorry." doesn't cut it either.

  • BigUNCFan Apr 15, 2013

    sounds like his pride was hurt...

  • ccie98 Apr 12, 2013

    The article says: "Everett said he yelled that he was a hostage, but police didn't realize he wasn't the suspect until they had dragged him across the parking lot and over a fence." That is acceptable? It is OK for any police office to drag someone across a parking lot and over a fence? In my opinion, that is excessive force. But hey, all cary cares about is protecting their image.

  • Just the facts mam Apr 12, 2013

    No free ride today...

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 12, 2013

    "His lawsuit claimed that he was treated differently than the six white hostages because police knew that the gunman was black." - article


    So? Sounds like common sense to me. If the gunman is black, then you're looking for a black person. The problem is not that they singled him out because he was black. I would fault them if they didn't because that would mean they're stupid.


    HOWEVER, if they injured him then they should be liable because they made the mistake. I'm not talking about being handcuffed, etc, but seriously injured.


    But if all this is about is that the fact that they grabbed him because he was black, then the suit was correctly dismissed.

  • Tax Man Apr 11, 2013

    Seems like this man should have sued the family of the bank robber rather than the Cary PD - it was his fault, not the PD fault.

  • Tax Man Apr 11, 2013

    If they knew the bad guy was black and then one of the released hostages was black it would make sense for the police to insure everyone's safety by neutralizing the black gentleman until they could verify he was not the criminal. Good decision by the judge and nothing racial about any of this.

  • shediva Apr 11, 2013

    How would the police officers have known who the suspect was? He could have easily been the suspect and would have STILL said "I'm not the suspect." With no other identifying information, a black male escapee would indeed be apprehended until they rule out if he's a suspect or not. Traumatic indeed for this guy, but quite understandable for the police department.

  • keeprightexcepttopass Apr 11, 2013

    I work in a prison and we are taught during initial training if we become hostages and the time comes that we are rescued, etc... that we are to do as the rescuers say, expect that we may be handcuffed, etc... Hostage situations are very dangerous and can be very confusing for those looking in. Everyone is treated as suspect until the proverbial smoke clears.

  • westernwake1 Apr 11, 2013

    This guy was treated no differently than the males in the bank. He has nothing to complain about. The judge wisely dismissed the suit. Everett was trying to make a quick buck at the expense of our tax dollars.

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