Former inmate files suit in Brunswick County

Damien Guarniere (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)
Damien Guarniere (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A former inmate in the Brunswick County jail says he was stripped naked, pepper-sprayed and beaten by deputies after his arrest.

He's also put video of the incident online, which you can see to the right.  **Warning: Video contains graphic material**

Damien Guarniere says he was stripped and put in a jail cell, and when he protested, he was pepper-sprayed.

"He basically opened the crack of the door and while one was talking the other one snuck up behind him and maced me in the face," explained Guarniere on the YouTube video.

Guarniere says he was wrongfully arrested Sept. 1, 2007 when a police officer from Ocean Isle Beach pulled him over for running a stop sign, but warrants filed by the sheriff's office paint a different picture of events.

According to the warrants, Guarniere assaulted a deputy and a detective.

A Brunswick County judge found Guarniere guilty of those charges, but he appealed and a jury found him 'not guilty' in May.

Now, Guarniere is suing three Brunswick deputies and the officer who arrested him, in addition to former Sheriff Ron Hewett, the county, and Ocean Isle Beach.  He is seeking more than $10,000 in damages from several of those parties.

Click here to read the suit

An attorney for the county's insurance company says a sheriff's detective was the only one hurt in the incident.

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