NAACP leader hopeful internal investigation finds officer wrong

Deborah Maxwell, NAACP President watches dashcam video for the first time
Deborah Maxwell, NAACP President watches dashcam video for the first time

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT)- The president of the Wilmington chapter of the NAACP says a Wilmington police officer's decision to force a K-9 officer on a suspect appeared extreme.

Deborah Maxwell watched the video for the first time in the WECT Newsroom Monday night.

In the video, you see officer Stafford Brister thrusting his police dog through the driver's side window, forcing the dog to attack Johnnie Williams.

"I'm just surprised that someone with all those years of canine experience would do something like that when there were five or six police cars and a man with his hands up," Maxwell said.

Williams, who drove through a DWI checkpoint at 15th and Market Streets, was eventually cornered on Castle Hayne Road after a high speed chase.

Monday, a grand jury ruled that officer Brister did not use excessive force.

Maxwell says while she respects the grand jury's decision, she believes an on-going internal investigation at the Wilmington Police Department will yield different findings.

"While that's their decision, there is still a review by the city and hopefully they will see this footage and think otherwise," Maxwell said.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous met with several community leaders, including Maxwell, about the incident earlier in the day Monday.

Linda Rawley, the public information officer for the Wilmington Police Department confirmed Monday night that there is an internal investigation but did not say when its expected to be complete.

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