Wake board member, police chief 'agree to disagree'

Posted August 10, 2010 3:21 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2010 3:23 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County school board member caught in the flurry of police activity at the July 20 board meeting met recently with Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan, but he didn't get an apology for police actions that day.

Keith Sutton said he told Dolan the show of force and number of officers who responded to protests both inside and outside the board's meeting that day was excessive.

Nineteen people, including the head of North Carolina's NAACP chapter, were arrested at the meeting. Sixteen of the arrests came after screaming and unrest erupted during a public comment period of the meeting.


The protesters held hands, locked arms and chanted against resegregation, refusing to leave the podium. More than a dozen officers intervened and took the protesters to a Division of Prisons inmate transfer bus.

Sutton was briefly caught in a scuffle between protesters and police before authorities realized who he was.

Sutton said he went into the crowd to try and calm things down and encourage officers not to use such strong force. He said he felt insulted that he almost got arrested and believes the officer who tried to detain him owes him an apology.

Dolan did not provide any apology in their meeting, Sutton said. The chief told Sutton why he should not have involved himself in the standoff.

The pair "agreed to disagree," Sutton said, but they better understand each other's perspective as a result of the meeting.