A Raleigh woman says police officers investigating a robbery pointed guns at her 6-year-old son and the boy’s grandparents while searching her parents’ home.
LaDonna Clark was one of a handful of speakers at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting who renewed their call for changes in the Raleigh Police Department. Among other things, they want a police oversight committee with subpoena power — something the city would need the General Assembly’s permission to have.
“On a 35-degree and rainy night, my son with autism was forced out of a home with military-style rifles aimed at him and made to sit on the cold, wet ground for well over an hour by [the police] SWAT [team],” Clark said.
Officers had a warrant to search the home on Friar Tuck Road in mid-November in connection with an armed robbery at the AT&T store on Capital Boulevard. Police had found a cardboard box left by one of the suspects with the address of the home on it, according to the warrant.
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The suspect, Brandon Clark, is a relative, LaDonna Clark said. But the police knew he wasn’t living at the house at the time and officers had previously been to the home to “check in,” she said.
Brandon Clark was arrested and faces “multiple felony charges, to include armed robbery,” according to a statement from Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown released Wednesday afternoon.
“The safety and well-being of all Raleigh residents is a top priority for the Raleigh Police Department,” she said in the statement. “The incident has been, and is still being reviewed by the Raleigh Police Department Office of Professional Standards.”
LaDonna Clark told City Council members she tried to file a complaint with the Police Department but was told she’d have to identify which policies had been violated and come in for an interview before an investigation could begin.
She also asked to see police camera video only to be “assured by [police] that even though my complaint had not been officially acknowledged that the officers did nothing wrong,” she said. “The question remains: Who is policing the police?”
“If you are not offended by the thought of a 6-year-old being forced to look down the barrel of an assault rifle or if you have become desensitized to the mistreatment of blacks in the city of Raleigh, you don’t deserve to continue to sit where you are sitting,” Clark told city leaders.
Clark said she only heard back from the police after she signed up to speak to the council. They wanted to get more information about her complaint and to give her an Internal Affairs case number for an investigation, she said.
In her statement Deck-Brown said the investigation began Nov. 16 — a few days after the incident — and that investigation “will be thorough.”
Mayor Pro Tem Corey Branch met with Clark about the search warrant and asked City Manager Ruffin Hall to follow-up on the incident. It wouldn’t be fair to comment on the incident without knowing what happened, Branch said.
Other speakers Tuesday night, including Jessica Lin, Kimberly Muktarian and Ivanna Gonzalez of the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce, asked that the Police Department follow the example of others that put their policies and procedures online.
The council had previously asked for a staff recommendation on different police accountability task forces and what the city could do. The city manager said the report is still months away.