AP NEWS

Proposed clinic named for Kyron Hinton would bring mental health care to Raleigh

March 29, 2019

There is discussion about creating a new mental health clinic in Raleigh to be named after Kyron Hinton, who was beaten by law enforcement officers during a confrontation last year.

The idea is only in the planning stages, but it calls for opening a youth mental health clinic named for Hinton, who struggled with mental illness before his death last month.

“Our community is a wilderness when it comes to mental health. It’s just a desert,” Rev. Nancy Petty said during the meting Thursday night.

Hinton gained widespread attention after an encounter with Wake County deputies and state troopers last April.

On April 3, officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun yelling at passing cars near the intersection of North Raleigh Boulevard and Yonkers Road when they confronted Hinton.

Hinton said he suffered a broken eye socket, broken nose, multiple cuts on his head, “probably 20 bite marks” and memory loss during the incident when several officers pushed him up against a patrol car and beat him up while a Wake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 bit him on his right arm, side and head.

Hinton died on Feb. 23 from an apparent drug overdose, although an official cause of death has not yet been released.

Hinton’s supporters said the system failed him and has failed others with mental illness.

“Everyone failed Kyron. Kyron struggled with so many things, but yet he had a will to live. He had a will to want to bring awareness to mental health, things that he struggled with,” Diana Powell, executive director of Justice Served NC, said.

Powell said the idea behind the clinic was a collaboration between many community members and groups, including Justice Served NC.

The goal is for the clinic to be run almost entirely by volunteers. The mother of Hinton’s child said the clinic would be a perfect way to honor him.

“This is what he was about, helping people, Shannon Utley said. “A lot of people don’t realize that he wasn’t just a man who was beat by the police. He was a father.”

Supporters of Hinton believe the incident with law enforcement put mental health in the spotlight, and they want to use that spotlight for good.

“I know he’s smiling down on us right now,” Petty said.

Troopers Michael Blake and Tabitha Davis were fired by the State Highway Patrol in June in connection with the beating of Hinton, and they are charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and willfully failing to discharge duties.

In December, Blake and Davis were indicted, along with former Highway Patrol Sgt. Rodney Goswick, on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice after they were accused of lying about the use of force during Hinton’s arrest.

Wake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cameron Broadwell also was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, willfully failing to discharge duties and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.