Wake deputy pleads guilty in case of man who was attacked by police dog
Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Broadwell pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges in the case of siccing a K-9 dog on an unarmed man last year. It was a rare conviction for an officer in the line of duty.
Broadwell will permanently surrender his law enforcement certification as part of his plea. The deputy choked up as he admitted his guilt, his voice breaking as he spoke to the judge.
“He has been punished, your honor,” said Broadwell’s attorney, Joe Zeszotarski. “He has given up his career. It was what he always wanted to be. It was what he always wanted to do.”
In April 2018, officers responded to a 911 call reporting a man standing in the middle of Raleigh Boulevard, possibly holding a gun. A state trooper and four Raleigh police officers found Kyron Hinton screaming and waving his arms near the intersection of Yonkers Road, holding a cell phone in one hand and his genitals in the other. They formed a circle around him and waited, one officer holding a Taser behind his back.
In a video shown to jurors last week, Broadwell can be seen entering the scene from the left, rushing up to Hinton as the dog barked and pulled at its leash. Broadwell did not speak to any of the other officers. He yelled, “Get on the ground now or you’re gonna get bit,” then released the dog and swung his arm toward Hinton’s head.
Hinton suffered multiple bites and a fractured orbital bone, and Broadwell was charged with felony assault. Those assault charges were dropped in exchange for the deputy pleading guilty to willfully failing to discharge duty.
“The actions of Mr. Broadwell on that evening were unnecessary, excessive and against the policies of his agency,” District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said. “Today marks a big day in this community. We appreciate the acceptance of responsibility.”
Hinton’s mother Vicki has said her son has long suffered from mental health trouble along with drug and alcohol problems. Still, she said, watching the video of her son getting bitten left her “heartbroken for America.” She fled the courtroom as it played Thursday.
Hinton died in February from causes unrelated to the dog assault, a day after receiving an $83,000 settlement from Wake County. Freeman said evidence in the case has been changed by Hinton’s death, making a felony conviction uncertain. The priority was making sure Broadwell no longer served in law enforcement.
“We count this as a victory,” said Diana Powell, executive director of the Raleigh community group Justice Served. “He will never be able to put a dog on another human being.”
Freeman said she will urge Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker to adopt a no-bite policy for K-9 dogs, using them only to apprehend violent criminals. Baker said Monday that the policy is already under review.
On Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office announced that Broadwell had officially been terminated.
The case marked a rare prosecution of an on-duty law-enforcement officer, both in Raleigh and nationwide.
Freeman, who tried the case personally along with Assistant District Attorney Patrick Latour, could recall only one other recent example: Markeith Council, the Wake County detention officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2013 for fatally beating inmate Shon McLain.
Nationally, only 54 law-enforcement officers faced charges in fatal shootings between 2005 and 2015, out of thousands of such incidents, according to a 2015 Washington Post report.
Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway gave Broadwell a suspended 45-day jail sentence for his plea, placing him on unsupervised probation.
Broadwell’s attorney Rick Gammon said the deputy had no prior excessive-force complaints. But he had a choice between protecting his family and risking a felony conviction. He criticized the deputy’s prosecution, saying he was motivated only by protecting the public.
“My advice to any and all law enforcement officers is they need to get another line of work,” Gammon said. “This is just the beginning.”