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Hostage expert says officers must be firm, not abusive

Posted February 28, 2011
Updated March 1, 2011

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— Law enforcement officers must treat every person leaving a hostage situation as a threat, said a national hostage recovery expert in the wake of allegations that Cary police brutalized a man after he was released from a bank standoff earlier this month.

Danny Coulson, former deputy assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, created the agency's first hostage rescue team. Though he wouldn't comment directly on the complaint filed against Cary police, alleging that officers roughed up Rev. Lee Everett because they mistook him for the hostage taker, Coulson said police officers must be “firm” in hostage situations.

"How do you handle hostages in a hostage situation? You do it firmly. You do it professionally, and it's not abusive," Coulson said. "They put you on the ground, and they should do that."

He said anyone leaving the scene of a police standoff must be treated as a suspect or accomplice until proven otherwise.

"The person coming out of there is scared to death. They may act irrationally and that irrational behavior can key some kind of response on the part of the officer that maybe it's the bad guy," Coulson said.

Still, he stressed, "firmness doesn't mean brutality."

Everett, who is black, said he believes he was treated differently from the six other hostages, who are white. 

Cary police declined to be interviewed, but town spokeswoman Susan Moran said Saturday that the town has asked the Wake County District Attorney's Office and State Bureau of Investigation to look into these allegations, so "everyone would have the trust and confidence in the police department and their actions."

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

The results of the investigation will be posted on the town of Cary's website for the public to see, she added.

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

Police later determined that Mitchell was not armed. He was fatally shot by officers as he left the bank with a female hostage.

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  • Honky Mar 4, 2011

    This tabloid "media source" has edited my last two posts. Devon Mitchell only wanted to talk to Black Negotiators. That along with his scriptural blathering put Lee Everette in a position to change the situation entirely. Isn't there some guy named Jesus who said something like ""Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me"! or something. I don't know, the rev is the bible thumper.

  • Honky Mar 4, 2011

    Also, Devon Mitchell SAID his boys were coming to join him. Good reason for the police to think their was an accomplice

  • Honky Mar 4, 2011

    He came out screaming at the police "YALL GONE KILL ME!" as well as deliberately not following orders. You can't make someone do whats best for themself. And all those white people happened to listen to the authorities.

  • Honky Mar 4, 2011

    As the father of the child of the hostage that little hood rat held hostage, let me tell all you one thing. This man came out of the bank completely irate, and is lucky he didn't get hurt. That being said, "Rev." Lee Everette chose to leave the bank. He was not forced out by the hostage taker. The perp WAS mixed up a blathering religious rants nearly the entire time. Sounds like a preacher in there would have been advantagious right? So I don't want to hear anything about the "Plight of the Black Man" being unfairly dealt with by authorities. The rev. abandoned that boy to die. I repeat Rev. Lee Everette, a "Black Community Leader" was more concerned with getting out of there to try to talk that psychopath into surrendering. That blood is on your hands Black Society.

  • HeadPro Mar 1, 2011

    Wow. A black man was mistaken for a black robber and was taken down according to regulation... with exception to being cussed at. There is no question it would make a law abiding man feel violated, angry, and out to make his abusers pay. But wait a minute.... the cops can't take any chances and choose in a split second... to error on the side of caution thinking they were subduing a violent and dangerous individual. The only thing these guys did that was uncalled for was the cussing, but hey... sticks and stones.... sticks and stones. Overall, I give the cops a B+. Mr. Everett...as they say, it wasn't personal, though I'm sure it felt that way. It was business. These guys are trained to react the way they did... minus the cussing. But again... sticks and stones...

  • bear2010 Mar 1, 2011

    Most reverends still have to earn a living...like working a 9-5..you can be ordain as a rev..doesnt mean it pays the bills...GET IT RIGHT PEOPLE!!!!

  • roberttt42 Mar 1, 2011

    Seriously, after reading the comments - it's not wonder why our Country is in the state it is in.....unbelievable.

  • RonnieR Mar 1, 2011

    Remember there was a mole in the bank texting the situation to the police. That means they shoulda known who was the perp and who was the victim. Now did the IC pass the info to the other officers, I don't know. I did not observe any of the other hostages that came from the bank being treated this way. Heck, there were "salt and pepper" teams of bad guys even way back in the ole days, when I was working. Something does not sound right.

  • shoyaryt Mar 1, 2011

    "Amazing, you knew before it ended that there wasn't an accomplice..."
    I understand what you're saying, but the trouble is no one else was treated as a suspected accomplice.

  • bronzegoddess40 Mar 1, 2011

    letssee, once again show me where in any of these articles he is asking for a CHECK for NOTHING!! He filed a complaint which is the right of any citizen who feels that they have been done wrong. Even you can file a complaint. Now show me the request for the money.

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