‘I never touched the officer’: Pender County man says in jailhouse interview he was tased in the face

Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 5:30 AM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A man who was tased and injured during an encounter with sheriff’s deputies shared his side of the story in an interview with WECT from jail Wednesday.

Atkinson resident Wayne Corbett, 59, disputes accusations he ran away from and assaulted officers. He contradicts parts of the narrative provided by the Pender County Sheriff’s Office and claims charges against him are to cover up officers who he says injured him.

“I want justice as it pertains to the officers,” said Corbett. “I feel a person should be held accountable for what they do. ... These charges they put against me are bogus charges.”

In a press release, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said Corbett was arrested following a traffic stop for vehicle registration violations on March 14 just after 11 p.m.

The incident happened on Bell Williams Road near US Hwy 421. The officers were not wearing body cameras and the law enforcement vehicle did not have a dash camera recording, according to Captain James Rowell, Pender County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

The sheriff's office said Corbett tried to run away from officers and then assaulted two of them during the traffic stop.

Behind glass in the Pender County Jail on Wednesday, Corbett recalled what he said happened.

“At about 11:30, I picked a friend up at a club,” said Corbett. “She wanted to go back to her house to get something, that she had left, and I was going to take her to my house.”

Corbett said an unmarked patrol car followed him, then pulled him over because his car tags were expired.

“The officer asked me did I have any drugs in my car,” said Corbett.

He said he initially denied having drugs but then realized his female companion did have marijuana.

Corbett said he did not have any weapons, and told the officer that was the case.

“I reached down and picked up the marijuana up, the small piece, and showed it to him, and then he says, ‘Well, have you been drinking?' I said, ‘I had one drink earlier’ within that time period,” said Corbett.

The officer then asked Corbett to step out of his car, and Corbett said he complied.

“And as I go to the back of vehicle, of my car, he says, ‘Are there any more drugs?’ I said, ‘I can show you,'” said Corbett. “And as I did, he tased me in the face.”

When asked if he did anything threatening or violent toward the deputy, Corbett repeatedly denied that he did.

"I think this officer was very anxious,"said Corbett.

Corbett said he lost consciousness as a result of the taser to his face. When he woke up, Corbett said he had received further injuries to his face but does not remember how it happened.

“I don’t know how long I was there but I did come to consciousness," Corbett said. "They had me handcuffed or whatever. I saw a lieutenant or someone with more authority showed up.”

According to the sheriff’s office press release, “Corbett was taken into custody and EMS was requested and responded. Corbett was transported to Pender Memorial Hospital for treatment.”

Corbett said he was taken to the hospital in the passenger seat of one of the deputy’s vehicles.

“(The deputy) takes me, rather than wait for the ambulance, or something,” said Corbett. “If I assaulted two police officers, why would he put the handcuffs on me on front? Put me in the front seat and take me to the hospital?”

Corbett said doctors told him he had fractures in his face that would require surgery.

“As of now, I still have massive headaches at times from being tased in the face,” said Corbett. “As for my eye, I have not seen anybody, no doctor or nothing yet.”

Once Corbett was transported to the Pender County Jail, he said he learned he was accused of assaulting the officers. Corbett said officers also told him he was tased in the buttocks, which he denies.

“I asked the officer, ‘What is it I’m being charged for?’ He said for assaulting police officers. I said, ‘No sir. I never touched the police officer. Never touched no one,’" Corbett said. "That’s why I’m giving this interview because I know there’s a lot to be told, which is a cover up of their actions.”

Corbett said authorities photographed both sides of his face and his buttocks to collect evidence.

“I have nothing against police officers. I want the record to know that some of my friends...are police officers," he said. "I just want the public to know that I never assaulted a police officer. All of these are trumped up charges.”

District attorney and sheriff request SBI investigation

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is investigating the encounter between Corbett and Pender County Sheriff’s Office Vice and Narcotics detectives. An SBI spokesperson on Wednesday said they could not provide any comment while the investigation is ongoing.

The SBI investigation was launched after a request by District Attorney Ben David and Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler.

WECT obtained the letter sent by the district attorney to the SBI.

“The incident resulted in injuries of an offender while they were attempting to place him into custody. Due to the injuries received by this individual, I feel that the incident merits review by the State Bureau of Investigation,” DA Ben David wrote.

Corbett was tased, and he also suffered a laceration above his right eye, according to the letter.

Corbett was placed under an $85,000 bond for the following charges:

  • Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver cocaine
  • Manufacture cocaine
  • Felony possession of cocaine
  • Maintaining place for controlled substances
  • Possess drug paraphernalia
  • Simple possession of marijuana
  • 2 counts Resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer
  • 2 counts Assault on government official
  • Fictitious, canceled or revoked registration plate

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