Local News

Private Investigator Alleges False Arrest, Abuse Of Power

Posted March 17, 2006

— A messy divorce, an alleged affair with a police officer and candidate for sheriff. Now, a local private investigator is caught up in the case.

Wilson private investigator Rick Eatmon said he was hired to document a married woman who was allegedly dating another man.

"We concluded that they were seeing each other and she was spending the night over there at his house," he said.

Eatmon said the man who he recorded in the video was former Rocky Mount Police Officer David Hawkins. Hawkins is currently running for Nash County Sheriff.

After one of the stakeouts, Eatmon said he was spotted by the woman. The woman trailed Eatmon and Hawkins followed. Later, a state trooper hit the blue lights and stopped Eatmon on I-95. That trooper was Stephanie Young, David Hawkins' daughter.

"There was no reason other than I was working her father on an adultery case," Eatmon said. "He used his daughter to do his dirty work."

Hawkins disputes that. He said his girlfriend was spooked by the private investigator's tactics. He told WRAL, "She was fearful. I attempted to find out who he was. I called my daughter, Trooper Young, as a last resort ... I've never abused my power."

Young's warrants indicate she stopped Eatmon for failing to signal, then charged him with resisting an officer and carrying concealed weapons. The private investigator claims he cooperated and displayed valid gun permits.

"They were intent on trumping up charges to arrest me," Eatmon said.

Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin said he will not discuss details of the case since it is headed to court next month, but he said, "we take all complaints serious."

Still steaming, Eatmon is speaking out.

"[It's] clearly an abuse of power. I think there needs to be justice," Eatmon said.

Eatmon's charges will be heard in court April 7. The district attorney is pressing on with the case. The private investigator not only wants the charges dropped, but he is considering a civil suit.

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