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Harnett inmate dies after altercation with officers

Posted March 16, 2011

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— An inmate at the Harnett County Detention Center died Tuesday after being involved in an altercation with detention officers, Sheriff Larry Rollins said Wednesday.

The altercation between Brandon Jolvon Bethea and officers occurred at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, and one of the officers used a Taser on Bethea, Rollins said. A short time later, an officer noticed that Bethea wasn't breathing, and officers administered CPR until paramedics arrived.

Bethea was taken to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, where he was pronounced dead.

Detention Officer J. Clark was placed on administrative leave, pending the results of an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, Rollins said.

Bethea, 24, of Fayetteville, had been in the county jail since Jan. 23 under a $150,000 bond. He was awaiting trial on two counts of attempted first-degree sex offense, attempted armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon and selling or distributing a counterfeit controlled substance.


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  • wimbishmatt Mar 23, 2011

    Look this man was in the wrong; he had to be subdued by officers, but he didn't HAVE to be tasered. Why didn't they use pepper spray; why didn't they use physical restraint; there are better and safer ways to deal with violent inmates than to zap them with electricity which can potentially cause death.

    Now think about Brandon's family, I know his brother, I was incarcerated with him. He's a kind hearted, respectable individual. I know that his heart is breaking right now because that PIG used a taser instead of another means to subdue Brandon. I don't know his mother, father, or anyother family but his bro, but I know their lives have forever been forever changed, and hearts broken because of these PIGS that are called detention officers and corrections officers who think the only way to deal with criminals is to beat em now ask questions later. Not all of them(officers) are bad. But too many are. Peace.

  • belovedsparrow Mar 16, 2011

    Seems to me that the officer was perfectly within his right to tase the inmate. If that imate had been behaving himself then there would've been no tasing and he'd still be alive. Sometimes you pay a high price for your own bad behavior.

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 16, 2011


    Tell us how you would subdue out of control inmates??? Can you explain how the 10's of thousands of officers that have been tased in training over the years have not died??? Didn't think so.

  • applylogicb Mar 16, 2011

    This is not a corrections facility where this incident happened, its a JAIL, where criminals are kept awaiting trial that can't make bond or held without bond(because of the crime)and some are serving sentences less than 90 days. If you have never toured one, maybe you should go check it out. Harnett Co is a state of the art facility with a record for good care. But if you people think that its a cake walk to take care of the inmates at any place like this you have no clue.
    If the taxpaying citizens of all the counties in NC knew just how much damage inmates caused to the facility and to the staff and how much it cost, it would make you sick. We can't pay for teachers to teach our children but can pay hundreds of thousands to make repairs that these animals do everyday!!!

  • commonsense99 Mar 16, 2011

    There are usually other contributing factors that cause the death and not the tasers alone.

  • beachboater Mar 16, 2011

    Before any law enforcment officer can carry a taser, he must agree to be shot with a taser. I hear it is pretty bad. No, really bad. But, a lot carry one. That makes me believe that LEO's would rather use a taser than a handgun.

  • pjnoobie2 Mar 16, 2011


  • not pc Mar 16, 2011

    this guy got what he deserved he has brought pain and suffering to to many people. if this guy killed your family member would you say he was unjustley handled then i dought it.people like this make the decession to break the law and they cry when they get caught but still dont learn there lession so this is what happens.If he would have changed his ways the first time he was CONVICTED HE MIGHT STILL BE HERE BUT NO HE WANTED TO BE A GANGSTER LIVE BY THE GUN DIE BY THE GUN. I SAY GOOD RIDIOUS

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 16, 2011

    "Tasers can no longer be considered non-lethal. Hundreds have died." goodnessgracious

    Go to youtube, there are 100's of videos of police officers being tased in training and not a 1 of them die. How is that possible? Would you prefer the officer use a lead pipe instead of a taser? Or do you know some magic words that instantly make suspects feel all calm and peacefull?

  • CandyParamedic Mar 16, 2011

    I am not saying I am happy this man died. I am actually truly sorry for his family's pain. But this man really took his own life when he committed the horrific crimes that got him jail in the first place.

    Imagine yourself as the corrections officer, outnumbered by dangerous criminals. Most of whom have no consideration for human life, as demonstrated by the crimes that got them in their. You are being attacked by one of them, so you tase them because it is the least dangerous and most effective weapon you have. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. What about this deserves punishment?

    And tasers are not like defibrillators. Defibrillators deliver 360 joules of power (1-2 amps), whereas most police issued tasers delivier 1-2 joules (about 0.02 amps.) The relationship between sudden death and tasers is circumstantial in my humble but medically educated opinion. Most deaths result from complications of agitated delirium, which tasers are frequently used to subdue as a last resort.