Local News

Trooper's Arrest Of Wilson Investigator Thrown Out Amidst Controversy

Posted April 8, 2006 4:03 a.m. EDT

— A private investigator that claims he was wrongly arrested was cleared Friday amidst questions about a Nash County trooper's motives and family connections.

Just moments after Trooper Stephanie Young took the stand on Friday, she lost her case against private investigator Rick Eatmon. Last May, Young stopped Eatmon on I-95 and arrested him on charges he resisted an officer and carried illegal guns. However, on the stand the trooper admitted Eatmon willingly handed over his license, registration, and gun permit.

"He had a concealed carry permit," said Young.

The judge immediately dismissed the charges against Eatmon.

"W're glad the judge made the decision to throw it out," said Eatmon. "We think justice did prevail."

What Young didn't tell the court was that her father, former Rocky Mount Police Sergeant David Hawkins, asked her to stop Eatmon. Hawkins, now a candidate for Nash County Sheriff, was allegedly having an affair with the woman who joined him in court on Friday.

Eatmon was hired to spy on the couple, and he shot video of them together for a divorce case. The private detective believes Young made a wrongful arrest to intimidate him.

"It was an abuse of power," he said.

"It makes you think twice before you go ahead and take things into your own hands," said Eatmon's attorney Allen Thomas.

Hawkins declined comment, although he's said he just wanted to find out who was following his girlfriend. Young also had nothing to say. She was suspended for two days for an undisclosed reason. Her commanding officer says the public can trust the checks and balances.

"That's what it's there for," said 1st Sgt. Keith Stone. "It's for the justice system. It's for the people. Our internal affairs is there to instill our professionalism as a law enforcement agency within the state."

"I don't quite trust the police policing the police," said Eatmon.

Eatmon believes Young should lose her job. He said he's considering a civil lawsuit for wrongful arrest.

Hawkins unsuccessfully tried to get the Nash County sheriff eliminated from the election. Sheriff Dick Jenkins forgot to sign his paperwork when he filed for re-election. The State Board of Elections said it wasn't a problem. David Hawkins failed when he tried to challenge that decision. The primary is set for May.