3 Wake Deputies Investigated After Restaurant Fight
Posted September 6, 2006 9:05 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Three Wake County deputies are under investigation after a Garner minister was beaten up outside a restaurant.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Wake County District Attorney's Office are investigating deputies Chris Roth, Katie Broda and Kevin Hinton. All three have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, authorities said.
Three undercover drug officers were on duty but had stopped at a Garner restaurant on Aug. 26 when they got into a confrontation with Robert Wise of Garner, authorities said.
Wise said he, his wife and 11-year-old daughter were leaving the restaurant when a man came up to their car window, yelling at them about taking up two parking spaces. The man, who Wise said didn't identify himself as an officer, then tried to pull him out of the car, he said.
"He was twisting my foot completely all the way around. He said to me, 'Go ahead. I want you to kick me so I have a reason to kick your (behind),'" Wise said.
As Wise's wife called 911, his daughter watched the incident unfold.
"My daughter was terrified," he said. "When they were trying to pull me out of the car, my daughter was holding onto me. She was telling them 'Let go of my daddy, let go of my daddy.'"
"To witness something like that in person and know you're innocent and haven't done anything is really bad," said Wise's wife, Cynthia.
Wise said he was beaten, Maced and handcuffed. He was charged with three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting a law enforcement officer, authorities said.
He said had to be treated at a hospital for injuries suffered during the altercation.
After Wise filed a complaint about the incident, Sheriff Donnie Harrison asked for outside agencies to investigate. He has also spoken personally with the Wise family. Robert Wise said he believes Harrison is genuinely sorry about the incident and committed to getting to the bottom of it.
"We're professionals. We should maintain our professional standards," Harrison told WRAL. "We're human beings and we make mistakes, but we're going to deal with it -- be fair, honest and above-board. That's the reason I'm handling it this way. I would rather have an outside agency looking into it so no one can say we did anything improper."
Harrison said the three deputies, who have a combined 21 years with the sheriff's office, all have spotless records.
Wise, who is black, said he believes race played a role in the incident, noting all three officers are white.
"I understand when you're black and you're being pulled out of a car by two white officers, it's not going to be pretty," he said.
The SBI will turn its findings over to Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby to decide if criminal charges against the officers are warranted.
"There are certain groups the law gives broader authority to," Willoughby said. "But those persons must operate within the authority that's given. That's the basis on which we'll review this case."