Misconduct Allegation Being Investigated In Harnett County
Posted June 27, 2001 11:44 a.m. EDT
LILLINGTON — An incident in September involving possible police misconduct by a deputy is causing waves in the Harnett County Sheriff's Department.
Ten months ago, on Highway 210, Jesus Sosa Bergos led officers on a high-speed chase, which ended in a crash in Lillington.
A Lillington police cruiser with a video camera caught what happened next. Bergos was hauled away in handcuffs, and it appears that a Harnett County deputy kicked Bergos from behind.
It is not police brutality, according to Sheriff Larry Knott, but he says it is conduct unbecoming an officer, and will not be tolerated.
He is also concerned about the behavior of other lawmen at the scene. He says the length of time it took for deputies to bring this accusation forward is unacceptable. For that reason, the deputy who is accused of the kick, Sgt. Johnny Sanders, may not be the only one in trouble.
"Those people that are responsible and knew of it will be dealt with by either reprimand, demotion or firing, whatever it takes," says Knott.
The sheriff believes the deputies brought up the incident to try and fuel an internal argument in the department.
As for why no one had looked at the tape, Lillington police say that they would only review tapes when there was a reason to or when it was ready to be re-used.
"We will not review the tape until it comes up to be re-used," says Lillington Police Chief Frank Powers. "That tape had not come up to be re-used."
The suspect pleaded guilty to several charges but never filed a complaint against the sheriff's department.
The S.B.I. will investigate whether criminal charges should be filed. Knott also plans to interview officers from his department, and the Lillington police and State Troopers who were at the scene.