Local News

Man Says Ex-Wake Deputies Cursed, Beat Him

Posted April 3, 2007 12:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2007 7:49 p.m. EDT

— A Garner man testified Tuesday that three Wake County deputies beat him up last summer as he and his family tried to leave a local restaurant.

Robert Wise said three undercover Wake County deputies—Katie Broda, Kevin Hinton and Christopher Roth—cursed and hit him in front of his wife and daughter last August. He said the deputies were angry because he took up two parking spaces outside an Applebee's on U.S. Highway 70.

Two weeks after the alleged incident, all three deputies resigned from the Wake County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Donnie Harrison has since apologized for his deputies' actions.

Roth is the first of the trio to be tried on an assault charge stemming from the incident. The trial is expected to go to the jury Wednesday.

Roth testified late Tuesday that he didn't do anything wrong. He said he felt it was his duty to investigate why Wise was occupying two parking spaces outside the restaurant.

Earlier Tuesday, Wise, his wife and daughter testified about the altercation.

"The (deputies') vehicle got almost halfway in front of us and then came to a sudden jerk (stop)," Wise said. "The driver of the car jumped out of the car and ran around his car and all the way up to my window, cussing the whole way."

He said he didn't know the three were law enforcement officers, and he refused to get out of his truck when they yelled at him.

"(One) said, 'I got his leg.' The other started hitting me in the face until either the twisting of the foot or the banging of the face caused me to come out of the car," he said.

Broda testified Tuesday afternoon that she and her fellow deputies were upset with Wise's actions.

"We just couldn't believe it. It just seemed arrogant, I guess, to us that someone would take up (two spaces)," Broda said. "They were parked right on the middle—the line was right through the middle of their car."

Hart Miles, Roth's attorney, has maintained that Wise instigated the incident. Broda said she was scared as the confrontation escalated, adding that Wise became more aggressive toward the deputies.

"(Wise) rolled down the window on the (car) door and leaned out the window and was waving and yelling," she said. "I've been in a lot of bad situations in my career, and I'll admit I was terrified. I was really scared."

But other law enforcement officers responding to the scene said the three deputies crossed the line in handling the situation.

"It appeared the entire incident was over double-parking, and it all could have been left alone," Wake County Deputy Anthony Lochlear testified.

Wise testified that the former deputies started using pepper spray on him and wound up spraying his daughter, who was 11 years old at the time.

Wise's daughter, Diamond, told the court she was scared.

"I started choking, and it started to get on my arm and my arm started to burn," Diamond Wise testified. "He grabbed (my mother's) hand and tried to get her to stop, and she said, 'Let go of my hand.'"

Robert Wise brought a towel with dried blood on it that had been wrapped in plastic to the court as evidence of the alleged assault. Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby and defense attorney Hart Miles argued for 15 minutes outside of the jury's presence about the towel.