Video shows white trooper yanking black driver to ground
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors are reviewing a police video of a white North Carolina state trooper who yanked a black driver to the ground to determine whether criminal charges against the officer are warranted.
At a hearing Thursday, a judge ordered authorities to release to news outlets the video taken from a dashboard camera that shows former Trooper Michael G. Blake arresting Navy veteran Kimberly Ingram in March near the Raleigh airport.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said she is reviewing Ingram’s case to determine if criminal charges are warranted against Blake. She said the State Bureau of investigation is also looking into the traffic stop and has interviewed Ingram.
Ingram filed a civil suit in June against the Highway Patrol over Blake’s actions.
The video from March 28, 2018 shows Blake following Ingram’s car down a highway. She exits onto another road, and Blake — emergency lights flashing — follows her into a parking lot. He then reaches into Ingram’s car to pull her out and appears to push her face-first toward the pavement.
“Get on the ground!” he’s heard saying.
The video then shows him put his knee into her back before he sits on her as he’s handcuffing her.
Ingram protests, saying: “Check my record. I have no record. I was trying to pull over.”
Ingram’s lawsuit said she was left handcuffed for nearly two hours while a canine unit was brought in to search for drugs, but none were found. She claims the handcuffs made her wrists go numb. Her lawyer says her wrists are sensitive because of carpal tunnel syndrome and a prior hand injury.
She was initially charged with failing to stop for a law enforcement vehicle, but the charge was dropped.
Weeks after the confrontation with Ingram, Blake and two other law enforcement officers were charged with assaulting a Raleigh pedestrian. Blake was fired after the pedestrian’s April arrest.
Lawyers for Blake expressed concern to the judge Thursday that video of the March arrest could prejudice potential jurors in the case involving the pedestrian. North Carolina state law generally requires a judge to sign off on release of police video.
After the hearing, which was held for the judge to consider a petition by the news media to release the video, defense attorney Joe Cheshire said Blake has served honorably during 20 years in the military and law enforcement. His client had to make split-second decisions during arrests and did nothing wrong, he said.
“We don’t understand why we just throw our public servants under the bus without an absolute clear understanding of what happened,” he said.
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