A disabled Navy veteran says she was assaulted during a traffic stop by a former North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper six days before the trooper was involved in the beating of a Raleigh man.
Kimberly Ingram filed a complaint last month with the N.C. Industrial Commission against the State Highway Patrol, saying that former trooper Michael G. Blake pulled her out of her car, threw her on the ground face first and jumped on her back on March 28.
Ingram, 44, of Raleigh said she was startled when she found out Blake was one of three officers charged with felony assault of a Raleigh man on April 3 and that he was accused of beating a motorist in 2016.
“I was very surprised,” she said. “Surprised that he was still on the street.”
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Blake and former Trooper Tabithia L. Davis and Wake County sheriff’s Deputy Cameron B. Broadwell face criminal charges in the beating of Kyron Hinton on Raleigh Boulevard in April. Hinton has said the encounter left him with broken bones and dog bites from a K-9 partner.
Blake and Davis were fired June 15 by the State Highway Patrol. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said the troopers filed reports claiming no use of force against Hinton.
Ingram said she was driving on Interstate 540 near the Lumley Road exit at about 3:45 p.m. March 28 when she noticed a Highway Patrol vehicle with its lights and siren on along the shoulder of the road. She didn’t realize the trooper was trying to pull her over, she said, adding that she wasn’t speeding.
Ingram pulled into the parking lot of a business near the Brier Creek community, and Blake got out of his patrol vehicle to approach her.
“He was angry,” she said. “I knew at that point it was really serious.”
Ingram said a second Highway Patrol vehicle pulled in front of her car while Blake told her “to put her hands where he can see them.”
“Trooper Blake then tells (Ingram) to stop resisting arrest,” Ingram’s attorney, Donald G. Huggins Jr., wrote in the complaint. “Ingram replied she was not resisting arrest, and that she needed to place her car in park because it was still in drive.”
Then Blake “aggressively” pulled her “out of the car by her left arm, threw her on the ground face first and jumped on her back,” according to the complaint.
“I was in a state of shock at that point,” Ingram said. “At that point I couldn’t imagine why I was being stopped. I went from ‘why’ to shock.”
Blake wrongly told Ingram that her license plate was invalid and never asked her for her driver’s license or registration, according to the complaint. She sat handcuffed in Blake’s patrol car for nearly two hours.
Ingram apparently allowed police to use a dog to search her car after Blake told her that a can of air freshener in the vehicle was used to mask the smell of marijuana. No drugs were found.
Ingram said she missed work that day and went to a hospital emergency department where she was treated for pain, swelling and bruising on her hands, arms and wrists.
The complaint says that Blake’s supervising officer, Sgt. R.W. Goswick, later talked to Ingram and “repeatedly minimized Ingram’s concerns as to how she was treated by Trooper Blake.”
Goswick also told Ingram that he had reviewed video footage of her encounter with Blake and concluded “there was room for improvement and the need for additional training was being assessed,” according to the complaint.
Goswick was placed on administrative leave by the Highway Patrol last month, after the Hinton beating. He was accused of telling his troopers to report that they did not use force during their encounter with Hinton.
The complaint filed by Ingram expressed concerns about Blake’s history with the Highway Patrol, pointing out that he has been at the center of two excessive-force complaints in recent years in addition to the incident that led to his firing.
In 2016, a complaint was filed against Blake in Wake County Superior Court after a motorist was beaten during a traffic stop near Apex. The man, who was a suspect in a criminal investigation, was hospitalized for six days after suffering bleeding on the brain, a collapsed lung and fractured ribs.
Blake also was suspended in 2015 for excessive force and misconduct, according to the complaint.
Ingram was initially cited for failing to stop her vehicle for a law enforcement officer, but the citation was dropped, the complaint says.
In the complaint, Ingram is seeking damages for gross negligence and negligent retention and infliction of emotional distress.
Ingram said she was mindful when filing the complaint of Blake’s history with the Highway Patrol.
“That’s why the complaint was filed,” she said. “Because I didn’t want that to happen to another citizen.”