Local News

Man held hostage files complaint against Cary police

Posted February 25, 2011

— One of the men held hostage in a Cary bank standoff Feb. 10 has filed a complaint against the police who responded to the scene.

According to a letter sent to the Town of Cary attorney, Lee Everett was beaten, cursed and handcuffed by officers when he emerged from the bank where police said 19-year-old Devon Mitchell held as many as seven people.

Mitchell allowed five of the people, including Everett, to exit the bank over a three-hour period.

As he walked out the front door, Everett alleges, he said, "I'm a hostage." Then, according to the letter, "Several officers jumped on him immediately. He was roughly thrown to the ground, with obscenities being yelled at him."

Like Mitchell, Everett is black. Police knew the hostage taker was a black man from a description to a 911 dispatcher during a call from inside the bank. The caller described the hostage taker's purple shirt and red pants.

Everett's lawyer, Alan McSurely of Chapel Hill, wrote in the complaint that his client was wearing a Harris-Teeter smock. He had come to the bank after his shift at the grocery store as a produce manager.

"Everett was treated differently and with unnecessary roughness and violence than the white hostages who were released or remained in the bank when the situation was finally ended," McSurely wrote.

Hostage alleges Cary police hurt him Hostage alleges Cary police hurt him

Everett suffered an injury to his shoulder and had bruises that "were visible for more than a week," according to the complaint. He and his wife both missed work while they dealt with the physical and emotional fallout from the incident.

McSurely asked Cary police for copies of incident reports and video and suggested that the officers' actions be subject to an outside investigation. 

Cary spokeswoman Susan Moran said Friday, "We take it extremely seriously. And if we find that we have staff members that haven't upheld our expectations, they are gone."

"We proactively approached the District Attorney's Office, and asked D.A. Colon Willoughby and the SBI to independently investigate these allegations, so that everyone would have the trust and confidence in the police department and their actions," she said.

The three-hour standoff at the Wachovia Bank on Green Level Church Road ended when authorities shot and killed  Mitchell as he emerged from the bank holding what appeared to be a gun to the head of a woman.

Police now say he did not have a weapon.

Four women and three men were inside the bank when Mitchell entered, Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said.

Four Cary police officers and a Wake County sheriff’s deputy all fired at Mitchell, but Bazemore did not say how many times he was shot.

The officers and the deputy are on administrative duty, which is standard whenever an officer discharges a weapon, pending a state investigation of the incident.

Friends of Mitchell have questioned the use of force in the case, but Bazemore has said the officers did as they were trained and were expected to do under the circumstances.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • A J Mar 1, 2011

    Wonder if the "REV" had shut his mouth and listen to the officers instructions would the outcome have been different?
    Wonder if the "REV" actions now are guided by the good Lord or is the devil showing him dollar signs. Good job and good luck with lunnies to the Town of Cary...........

  • adcallow Feb 28, 2011

    Lol thank you "imsirius". I did more reading about this, and it was known that the suspect was a 6'4 young man, and this guy who was beated was a 5'6 52 year old man, so a lot of these people's conjectures are blown out of the water by this alone. I do think it's wonderful that the police protected the hostages and that are all alive and well, but I'm definately thinking that this older man filing a suit was treated unjustly.

  • imsirius Feb 28, 2011

    I'm a little late on this one, but are we assuming that the person inside of the bank who gave the police a description of the bank robber on said "It's a black guy with purple and red on"? Maybe they should have used some other descriptive words like tall, slender, or young. Maybe they did. Or maybe the police could have verified it with any of the other hostages who were let out of the bank. Police routinely assault suspects. That's nothing new. The difference is they assaulted a man who was not the suspect. At the least the town should pay for his medical bills, if any.

  • SouthernLady05 Feb 28, 2011

    1) The suspect was black. A black guy walked out of the bank, matching description. In a situation like this... police don't give a rats rear end what the person is wearing... quite frankly because it's easy to make a hostage give you thier clothes when they think they are being held at gunpoint.
    2) The white hostages weren't detained because the suspect was black.
    3) end of story, good luck with your suit... you'll never win. This is how departments operate around the nation. First action, stop the threat, second action... figure out who is who.

    What would you people be saying if the suspect had changed clothes with this guy and the police just let him walk out because he had a harris teeter smock on and not red pants?

  • adcallow Feb 25, 2011

    I have a lot of questions about this situation. For one, what is the age of this man who was "beaten" by the cops? Because if he is well over 19 years old, then there is no way he could've been the then "suspected" hostage taker. And also, for those saying that he may've been the accomplice, was there any indication that the hostage taker's accomplice was black? This bothers me. And if getting thrown to the ground, cursed at, and cuffed isn't a beating, I don't know what is. Would like to know more facts about this before forming a strong opinion.

  • NoObamaCare Feb 25, 2011

    ONGODSPATH- How did CPD know that Everette was an innocent bystander until they proved his identity? They didn't know him from "Jack." If they threw me to the ground until they confirmed who I am, I would dust myself off and shake that Officers hand for doing his job that we the public expect them to do!

  • tpendergrass2 Feb 25, 2011

    If I respond to a scene, as most cops, everyone and anyone who closely fits the description is going to be treated as a suspect. It's called survival, for the people who don't like it...."You become a cop and do the job!"

  • dcatz Feb 25, 2011

    Perhaps the Cary police should have thrown down the white hostages, even *knowing* that the suspect was black, in the name of racial equality.

    Or perhaps they should have just let the hostages die.

  • tpendergrass2 Feb 25, 2011

    give me a break WRAL, get a life, either learn police procedure or STOP your negative reports!

  • bombayrunner Feb 25, 2011

    What is this guy now trying to do, rob the police. And why, because he thinks they hurt his feelings.