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Wayne County man dies in altercation with deputy

Posted January 27, 2010

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— The State Bureau of Investigation was called in Wednesday morning to investigate after a man died in an altercation with a Wayne County deputy, authorities said.

Deputy Martin McAlduff used a stun gun to subdue Joe Spruill Jr. during the incident, said Capt. Tom Effler of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Joe Spruill, killed in Taser incident with Wayne County deputy Family: Deputies knew man had heart condition

The incident began at about 5:30 a.m. when deputies responded to a report of a fight near the intersection of N.C. Highway 111 and Dollard Town Road, southeast of Goldsboro, Effler said. When McAlduff and Deputy Zachary Kinlaw arrived at the scene, they didn't see any evidence of a fight and searched the area.

The deputies found Spruill sitting on a porch on Thrasher Circle nearby and were escorting him to his Dollard Town Road home when he became unruly, Effler said. The deputies said Spruill began throwing things at them and resisted when they tried to take him into custody for disorderly conduct, Effler said, so McAlduff fired his stun gun.

One prong of the stun gun hit Spruill near the neck, and the second hit him in the back, Effler said. The deputies called EMS, which is standard protocol, he said, but while waiting for paramedics to arrive, they noticed Spruill was lying motionless on the road.

Paramedics declared Spruill dead at the scene.

Joe Spruill Sr. said his son had collapsed in late December and had been hospitalized for heart problems. He said his son was still on medication for his condition.

Jessica Spruill said her husband was well known in the area and that deputies knew he had a heart condition.

"They were very aware of the situation in reference to his health and what happened at Christmas," Jessica Spruill said. "They knew his heart was bad, and they (used a stun gun on) him anyway."

Effler said the deputies didn't know about Joe Spruill Jr.'s alleged heart condition. He noted that deputies used a stun gun on him about a year and a half ago for not cooperating during another investigation.

"At this point, I do not know of anything that they have done wrong," he said.

McAlduff has been placed on administrative duty, pending the outcome of the SBI investigation. That is standard procedure when someone dies in an incident involving a law enforcement officer.

Joe Spruill Jr. has a criminal record dating to 1996, with convictions on several drug charges and for assault, according to state Department of Correction records.

He is survived by a wife and four children.

"God gave him back to us," Jessica Spruill said, recalling her husband's collapse a month ago. "He pulled through that. He was able to have second chance, and the police took that away from him (Wednesday) morning.

"Outraged is far from what I'm feeling," she said.

252 Comments

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  • yayandmime Jan 29, 10:24 a.m.

    don't believe there were two stun guns? there were over 30 people out there cause the body laid in the streets winting for the investigation they all saw there were two they were still connected to the body.my eyes don't lie right is right and wrong is wrong if junior was wrong which he has been on several occasions i would admit itbut this time the officers were.and the sad thing abouit it is that they will prob get awy with this it wouldn't be the first time...

  • yayandmime Jan 29, 10:19 a.m.

    let me guess i think i hit a nerve you must be in law enforcement here in wayne county "wayne county citizen".that would be the only way you think that you know all these details about him or was it the news?and if you believe everything in the news then there's the problem right there.there are good cops and bad cops didn't a cop in durham just get arrested this morning for drug charges?why don't they have a webcam in their cars?

  • yayandmime Jan 29, 10:14 a.m.

    and following up on somebody's comment about wait til toxicology comes back, well all i have to say is nobody reported that he was outside acting intoxicated everyone obviously knows him well in that area and yet the passerby never stated there was a intoxicated man acting crazy in the streets.if he did have anything in his system that's not the issue,the issue here is the cops were over stepping their bounderies they felt the need to babysit and "escort" him home.he was just sitting on the porch.and as you know by his record not one time have they given him a break why now?why not just arrest him then if he was so wrong he needed to go home.how is it that he was stunned in the back but he was resisting? that shows he might have been trying to get away but i thought the proper protocol for fleeing suspect was to run after him...

  • yayandmime Jan 29, 10:06 a.m.

    HAVE I NOT BEEN SAYING THAT HE WAS NO SAINT?? HELLO I KNOW HE HAD A HISTORY...BUT LIKE I SAID I HAVE BEEN WITNESS TO POLICE HERE IN WAYNE COUNTY HARASSMENT NOT JUST OF THIS MAN BUT OTHERS AND LIKE I SAID IT REALLY WILL NEVER GET TOLD,THE REAL STORY.I'M NOT SAYING THAT HE WAS RIGHT BUT HE WAS 'throwing" things @ the officers?he was emptying his pockets to the police telling them he didn't have anything on him throwing it on the ground.he wasn't being arrested and who says a grown man can't be out @ that time in the morning,maybe i didn't get the memo, is there a curfew in wayne county for adults?who says a grown man needs a escort?they had to drive down almost a block from the whole "fighting" incident that supposedly took place on hwy 111 before thay even saw him on that porch why did they stop there?why did they mess with him?he was sitting on a porch who's to say that he didn't go outside to smoke? the house he was @ was on steps away from his own

  • WCCitizen Jan 29, 8:57 a.m.

    Nobody has the right to be treated badly, thats not the point here. If an Officer used his badge to flaunt his power then by all means that Officer should have action taken against him. This isnt the case here. Joe Nathan knowing and willing disobeyed a direct order given to him, then acted out against the Officers. Thats like taking a car down the interstate the opposite direction while speeding, hitting another car and dying. Whose fault is that? Dont try making this man out to be a Martyr, he isnt. He died due to affects of his own actions. Two stun guns? Mmmhmm, thats another I caught a fish this big story. The SBI has this case now and the truth will support the Officer(s) involved.

  • yayandmime Jan 28, 7:18 p.m.

    ALSO I KNOW FIRST HAND THERE WERE TWO TASERS USED ON HIM THETY WERE ON THE GROUND RIGHT BESIDE HIS BODY BUT NOBODY IS SEEING THIS IN THE NEWS

  • yayandmime Jan 28, 7:06 p.m.

    LIKE I HAVE SAID ON NBC17 "IGNORANCE IS BLISS" IF YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ IN THE NEWSPAPERS AND NEWS THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG I KNOW THE SPRUILL FAMILY VERY WELL ESPECIALLY JUNIOR, YES HE HAS A CRIMINAL HISTORY BUT THAT DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT BADGE OR NO BADGE TO TREAT HIM OR ANYBODY ELSE ANY WAY YOU WANT.I HAVE BECOME A REAL CYNICAL PERSON OF THE WAYNE CO SHERIFF AND GPD I HAVE SEEN THINGS WITH MY OWN EYES THAT ARE MEANT FOR TV.YES I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR POLICE BUT THEY SHOULD BE UPHOLDING THE LAW THEY WERE SWORN TO PROTECT AND NOT TAKE MATTERS IN THERE OWN HANDS YOU GUYS ARE NOT HEARING THE WHOLE STORY AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL.YES I ADMIT HE WAS NO SAINT BUT THE POLICE ARE LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH AND THERE ARE WITNESSES THEY WERE BEATING THIS MAN AND KICKING HIM WHEN HE WAS CRAWLING ON HIS HANDS AND KNEES HOW IS THAT RESISTING?

  • WCCitizen Jan 28, 2:50 p.m.

    hatterasgirl, It is sad when children have to see this. I know from first hand knowledge that during a raid on the family house children were inside and witnessed the grown-ups who were suppose to be role models for them being anything but. People want to point fingers at the police when a tragedy like this happens, but fail to see the road that paved this path. Its not the Officers fault Joe Nathan, or his family choose the path in life they did. Its not the Officers faults drugs controled this family. Its not the Officers fault they were called to the scene that morning. Its not the Officers fault Joe Nathan decided to act out. Is it sad this tragedy happened? Darn straight it is. I can pretty much say with certainty this Officer that tazed him is not rejoicing. This isnt a day of celebration. Enough is enough. If you cross the line and knowingly do wrong, then you should be man/woman enough to take the punishment...

  • hatterasgirl Jan 28, 1:06 p.m.

    There was a article in the local paper a few months ago about this family. "The Spruills" A family known in Wayne County for selling drugs. Its showed a picture of a picnic table in the front yard the "hang out". My 11 year old son read this, we live about 2 milesfrom this "place" and go by their house often and if the yard has alot of cars in it or if the yard it filled with people my son will say "They have alot of customers today". How sad!! My son has made reference to this and I simply have told him when you are involved with drugs your life usually ends much before it should!! Follow the instructions of the Law officers! They put their life on the line everyday they go to work, how many of us can say that. RESPECT THE LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WCCitizen Jan 28, 12:30 p.m.

    Gork, do you seriously believe the officers were out to get him?

    "If it hadn't killed him this time they would have kept trying, don't you think?"

    I read this on another blog and just had to shake my head.

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