Burlington Reporter

Burlington Reporter

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Three Burlington officers cleared in excessive-force case

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Jan 17, 2020


Three Burlington police officers have been exonerated in an excessive-force case following a monthlong investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs division, according to the Times News.

“It means the department recognizes that force was used during the arrest, but the officers will face no punishment as their actions were not deemed excessive,” Assistant Police Chief Brian Long said in a statement, according to the Times News. "The officers acted within the polices of the department and followed state and federal laws regarding the use of force.”

the findings in the Oct. 4 arrest of Bobby Harvey. Long added in his statement that department investigators determined 

The incident dates back to just before 10 p.m. the night of Oct. 10, 2019, when officers accosted Bobby Harvey in the 600 block of Dailey Street as part of an assault investigation. Police reports indicate the incident quickly escalated when the officers tried to detain the 41-year-old Harvey, who had given them a false name.  

Harvey was punched and tased during the incident, and later required medical treatment.

“There is no way to take a person into custody nicely in what amounts to a knock-down, drag-out fight on the side of the road,” Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe told the Times News. “That’s going to look bad. The question is, did the officers follow their training and protocol, did they respond to threats in a way that was equitable, or did they use excessive force?”

The three officers involved, identified as Thaddeus Hines, Peter Balling and Will Steele, also received non life-threatening injuries.

Harvey’s sister, Sandra, filed a use-of-force complaint with the department to launch the investigation. In the wake of the department’s findings becoming public, she took to Facebook to express her displeasure.

“It’s outrageous how Alamance County, Burlington, North Carolina has fabricated the incident that occurred," Sandra Harvey posted. "The police officers exaggerated their fabrication of lies of the unlawful arrest and incident. It did involve excessive force. When someone beats, tases you many, many, many, many times over and over until you are unconscious is leaning on the side of torture.”

In December, Harvey, who was not involved in the assault that caused officers to initially stop him, was sentenced to up to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to three felony counts of assault on a law-enforcement officer inflicting physical injury, and one misdemeanor count of resisting a public officer.

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