Judge dismisses hostage’s claim against Cary

akenney@newsobserver.comApril 10, 2013 

— The town of Cary has won dismissal of a lawsuit that alleged the Cary Police Department mistreated a hostage in a fatal stand-off at a Wachovia Bank in 2011.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused the Cary Police Department of mistreating a hostage in a fatal stand-off at a Wachovia Bank in February 2011.

Lee Everett, then 55, was among the first people freed from the western Cary bank during the hours-long incident. In his lawsuit, Everett claimed that he was then thrown to the ground and forcibly restrained and dragged by three Cary police officers.

The hostage-taker, Devon Mitchell, 19, later emerged from the building, appearing to police to hold a gun to a woman’s head, and was shot to death by law enforcement officers. It soon became clear that Mitchell held only his hand beneath a cap.

Everett’s lawsuit, filed in January 2012, requested compensation, disciplinary action against the officers involved, and changes to Cary police policies. The lawsuit also alleged that Everett was mistreated because he is black.

On Monday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway granted Cary a “summary judgment,” dismissing each of the plaintiff’s claims “with prejudice.” The lawsuit can continue now only if Everett and his Chapel Hill lawyer, Alan McSurely, successfully appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court.

Ridgeway also found that McSurely had not properly submitted some of the plaintiff’s evidence, and that some of the materials were “rife with non-relevant, unauthenticated, hearsay, and otherwise inadmissible evidence.”

District Attorney Colon Willoughby also has sided with the town, finding last June that Cary police officers forced Everett to the ground only because he failed to comply with their commands.

In a written release, Police Chief Pat Bazemore said her department had investigated Everett’s claims and found them meritless, while Town Attorney Christine Simpson said the local government had unwavering faith in its officers.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or twitter.com/KenneyOnCary

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