The attorneys representing a Wake County deputy accused of assaulting a homeless man say they will not protest the release of video from police body and dashboard cameras if tapes of 911 calls and law enforcement radio traffic from the April 3 incident are released at the same time.
Rick Gammon, the Raleigh attorney representing Cameron Broadwell, the deputy charged with felonious assault and willfully failing to discharge duties, submitted his response on Thursday to a petition for release of the video footage from The News & Observer and WRAL News.
Raleigh police earlier this week released recordings of 911 calls and radio traffic from the incident.
No video has been made public.
Wake County Judge Graham Shirley is scheduled to hold a hearing at 11 a.m. Friday to determine whether the video will be released.
In his response to the petition, Gammon offered a glimpse of a defense strategy for Broadwell — a strategy described by the attorney representing Kyron Dwain Hinton as trying to shift the blame for what happened that night to the victim.
Broadwell was one of three law enforcement officers accused of beating and injuring Hinton with flashlights and a police dog.
The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. April 3, when Hinton, 29, was confronted by officers as he stood in the middle of North Raleigh Boulevard near the intersection of Yonkers Road.
Hinton has said he left a sweepstakes parlor shortly before the incident and was headed to downtown Raleigh when police stopped him.
A member of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was the first officer on the scene.
Five calls were made to 911 emergency dispatchers reporting that a man was in the middle of the intersection creating a disturbance, Gammon said in the court document.
“The callers reported that Mr. Hinton was screaming, yelling, and acting in a threatening manner,” Gammon stated in the response to the media petition.
Two callers reported that Hinton possessed a firearm, though no such weapon was found on him.
That information was relayed by dispatchers to all officers responding to the scene, Gammon stated, and Broadwell arrived on the scene with those details shaping his response.
The state trooper who was first on the scene, according to Gammon, also had sent out a “Code 10-18” over police radios, a phrase used when a law enforcement officer “believes that urgent and immediate assistance is needed to protect the safety of the public and the officer.”
Broadwell arrived on the scene with Loki, a police dog.
Hinton, who has said he had just lost all his money at Good Luck Sweepstakes, a place near the intersection, acknowledges being upset that night.
"I was angry," he said in a recent recollection of the incident. "I didn't say I wasn't, and I was moving my arms and hands from side to side, but not with a threatening action."
Hinton said he did not make any threatening gestures or threats, but acknowledged "talking junk. I was saying, 'Why you stopped me? This is some b******t.' I didn't threaten nobody. I didn't have a gun."
Hinton said he was punched in the face and then was on the ground on his stomach when a police dog bit him on his side, arms and head.
"I didn't hit nobody," he said. I "didn't grab nobody. I really couldn't."
At a news conference on the same afternoon that a Wake County grand jury handed up indictments against Broadwell and the two state troopers — Michael G. Blake and Tabithia L. Davis, Hinton hinted at what video from that night would show.
"You guys are here because of pictures and word of mouth," he told reporters. "When you see the actual video clip, it's worse than a horror movie."
The state Highway Patrol has responded that it will not protest the release of video recorded that night, and Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has given a similar response.
Gammon said a "piecemeal release" in which video was made public but not recordings of the 911 calls and police radio traffic would “create a serious threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice” and jeopardize Broadwell’s right to a fair trial.
Gammon also contends that Hinton was “under the influence of numerous illegal and impairing substances, including cocaine and marijuana,” as well as alcohol.
They contend that EMS officers who responded to the scene injected Hinton twice with Versed, a sedative, “to subdue him so that he could be safely transported.”
Law enforcement officers had placed handcuffs and restraints on Hinton after he had been bitten by the police dog.
Gammon also noted that medical personnel had administered Haldol, an anti-psychotic, after Hinton had been taken to the hospital.
Gammon also highlighted Hinton’s arrest record, noting that he had been convicted in 2003 of robbery with a dangerous weapon, misdemeanor driving while impaired, possession of drugs and misdemeanor assault on a female.
On April 1, two days before the incident, Gammon said, Hinton was involved in an assault in Garner in which “he suffered a nasal fracture and a wound to his right eye area and received medical treatment for those injuries.”
Gammon raised concerns about the safety of the officer’s family, saying that releasing the video without the accompanying information could lead to unrest.
“The need to release information that employs a fair and balanced approach, by releasing the 911 calls and radio traffic that occurred contemporaneously with the video recordings, will protect against these factors being at issue,” Gammon’s response to the petition states. “In addition, this approach would reduce the possibility that the public could be misled. Misleading information can lead to civil unrest and needless confrontation with law enforcement and the public at large.”
'No threats' from the victim
Dawn Blagrove, a Carolina Justice Policy Center attorney who is representing Hinton, adamantly denied that he became threatening or combative toward the deputy and state troopers who confronted him the night of the alleged assault, especially after he was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints.
"It is a complete mischaracterization of what we believe and heard about that night," she said, "and we strongly assert that at no point were the officers involved ever threatened by Mr. Hinton, nor were they ever in imminent danger or harm by him."
Blagrove added Hinton had little recollection of what happened to him that night after he was attacked by Broadwell's police dog and knocked unconscious with flashlights.
"Even if he woke up and became combative, it would not be unreasonable after he had been attacked by a dog," she said.
Blagrove, who spoke with The News & Observer on Thursday afternoon, said the criminal charges against the law enforcement officers highlight the need for a Wake County civilian advisory board that would have a voice and input in these types of cases.
"The response by these officers and their attorneys is indicative of why there is such distrust in some parts of our community for law enforcement," she said.
Blagrove noted that Hinton had misplaced his medical record of treatment after the attack and that she intends to request copies from WakeMed, where he was treated for three days after his encounter with law officers on Raleigh Boulevard.
"The medical records will speak for themselves as to how fresh his injuries were," she answered when asked about the claim by Broadwell's attorney that Hinton's broken nose and fractured eye socket came from a fight two days before in Garner.
"But even without that, he was brutalized by the dog attack, and even if he had prior injuries they were exacerbated by the severe beating he took from North Carolina law enforcement," Blagrove said.