Local News

DA: No charges against Micro police officer accused of manhandling 88-year-old veteran

Posted October 15, 2021 5:13 p.m. EDT

— A Johnston County police officer won't face criminal charges in a May incident in which an 88-year-old veteran said the officer tried to yank him through his car window.

Ray Hail told WRAL News he was sitting in his car parked in front of his Micro home on May 16 when Micro police Officer M.B. Creech approached, accused him of being drunk and ordered him out of the car.

Hail said he has a bad leg and is most comfortable sitting in his car with the leg elevated. When he didn't quickly comply with Creech's order to get out – because of the leg – he said the officer grabbed him and tried to pull him out through the window.

The incident left Hail with gashes and bruises on his left arm, and he was charged with resisting an officer.

The State Bureau of Investigation looked into Hail's excessive force complaint and found that Creech came upon an unresponsive man sitting in a running car and that Hail repeatedly honked the car horn during the encounter and refused Creech's requests to show his hands, which were under a blanket, and to get out of the vehicle.

A Pine Level officer who responded to Creech's call for assistance helped get Hail out of the car but then determined Hail was suffering from a medical condition and wasn't impaired, as Creech suspected, according to the SBI investigation. Paramedics were called, but Hail refused any medical attention.

"While I have serious concerns about the way Creech handled the situation, I do not believe that Creech's actions rose to the level of excessive force that would justify criminal charges in this case," Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle wrote in a letter to the SBI on Friday.

But Doyle recommended that Creech receive additional training in conflict resolution and de-escalation.

"At a minimum, Creech displayed poor judgment and unprofessional conduct in the way he handled this situation," she wrote, adding that Hail shouldn't have been charged once it was determined he was suffering from a medical condition.

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