WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A member of Wilmington City Council is weighing in on a controversial videotape. Councilwoman Laura Padgett is criticizing the police officer seen loading his k-9 into a suspect's car at the end of a high speed chase.
"I don't know what was going through his mind that prompted him to feel that the best way to keep the suspect subdued was to put the dog in the car. That is not what he was trained to do," Padgett said.
Officer Stafford Brister's actions after the chase Halloween night were caught on dash cam video, which was just released this week. The suspect, Johnnie Williams, can be seen lifting his hands in apparent surrender, just before Brister lifts his k-9 into the car. Williams was mauled and sustained injuries to his face and shoulder that required stitches.
A grand jury saw the dash cam video on Monday, and cleared Brister of criminal assault. But Brister remains under the microscope, the subject of an ongoing internal investigation by the Wilmington Police Department.
Padgett said Williams put officers and the public in a very dangerous situation when he fled a checkpoint and led them on a chase, but that doesn't excuse what Officer Brister did.
"This is an incident that is not good for the community, and I think Officer Brister could have used better judgment," she said.
Padgett says she has been getting emails from citizens concerned about what happened. She has assured them the police chief is taking this very seriously, and the results of his internal investigation will be shared with the public.
Though some in the community have called for the chief to resign in light of the k-9 attack, Padgett thinks that's over the top.
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