WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said Thursday an officer accused of lifting his K9 into the driver's side window of a man who drove through a DWI checkpoint in October, leading officers on a chase, will remain an active member of the Wilmington Police Department. However, he won't be returning to the K9 unit.
WPD K9 officer Stafford Brister was put on administrative leave with pay in November, pending the outcome of the investigation. He will return to active duty as a patrol officer.
Authorities said Johnnie Williams drove through a DWI checkpoint and led officers on a ten minute chase, at times, trying to injure three officers.
Dash cam video shows Brister, who was one of the responding officers, lifting his police dog and forcing it through the driver's side window, right into the driver's lap.
Williams said the attack happened so fast, he claimed he didn't even have the chance to surrender. He went to the hospital for treatment of injuries from the police K-9. Williams face and shoulder required stitches.
A grand jury, made up of 15 people, saw the video several times in December and decided Brister should not face criminal charges. Evangelous said Thursday the police department supports that decision.
The department started their own internal investigations into the incident to determine if any policies, procedures or matters of employee conduct were in question.
"Officer Stafford Brister remains an active member of the Wilmington Police Department," said Evangelous. "He will remain assigned to the Patrol Services Bureau as a Patrol Officer. His date to return to work has not been determined at this time."
There has been no determination if the police dog will return to duty. For now, Evangelous said he will stay with another handler.
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