VIDEO: Aggressive arrest under review
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Police are reviewing a video posted on social media that is raising questions of how officers handled the involuntary commitment of a man in Wilmington.
Hiram Farmer’s mother had taken involuntary commitment papers out on her son, who has a history of being aggressive, according to police.
“He is not violent, he just has outrage and anger and all that. He just wants to fight everybody, so we try to get him some help,” explained Christopher Farmer, Hiram’s brother, who took the video and posted it to Facebook.
Officers verified the papers and tried to take Farmer to the hospital, but the man started to run.
“It just went sideways, the police came here three times looking for him and he wasn’t around,” said Christopher Farmer.
Police say the 35-year-old man began assaulting the officers trying to restrain him, so an officer deployed his Taser, but Farmer continued to resist the arrest.
“I agree, he did resist arrest but the rest that happened was unnecessary,” said Christopher Farmer.
“You can clearly see the man bite the deputy (in the video)," said New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer. "The reason our deputy struck the subject is because the subject was actively biting the deputy. Sometimes we have to use strikes as force.”
The video posted on social media shows a deputy punching Farmer while officers were trying to restrain him.
“They were grabbing his arm, and he was in an accident last year and his right arm is like dead,” Farmer said. “They took it to the extreme. It could have been better communication, they didn’t need all those officers out there, and back up, I counted like 18 cops.”
Several people crowded around, visibly upset at how the situation was being handled.
“There was two rookies out there and they could have said ‘Hiram Farmer, we aren’t arresting you, your mother put out commitment papers trying to get you help,' instead of not saying anything. He thought he was going back to jail," said Farmer. Christopher said his brother was just released from the Brunswick County Detention Center three weeks ago.
“Law enforcement was there to take him into custody for involuntary commitment and he was resisting arrest to allow us to do so," Brewer explained.
Brewer said the deputy who was bitten had to seek medical attention. Farmer’s brother said he is currently in the hospital but says he is not wounded from the punches.
WARNING: Video contains strong language and graphic material that may be found offensive.
Officers with the Wilmington Police Department were called to help New Hanover County Sheriff Office deputies with crowd control.
Farmer was taken to the hospital for involuntary commitment.
The body camera video will be reviewed by the Professional Standards unit at the Wilmington Police Department and Internal Affairs at the sheriff’s office to determine if the actions were within policy.
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