School board member, chief meet over scuffle

Wake County School Board Member Keith Sutton

August 10, 2010 10:39:33 AM PDT
Wake County school board member Keith Sutton says he has met with Raleigh's police chief about how an officer dealt with him at a recent school board meeting.

Sutton was almost arrested last month in a mix-up between protesters and police in which officers took several people into custody. An officer apparently mistook him for a protestor.

The protestors were demonstrating against changes to the Wake County school district's diversity policy.

Sutton says he went into the crowd in the board's meeting room to calm down the situation after he noticed a child and woman with a walker caught up in the protests. He says a police officer put his arms behind his back.

Sutton said Monday that he met with Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan a week from last Friday and both "gained an understanding" of where the other was coming from.

Sutton said he originally thought the police presence was excessive and pointed to the fact that RPD brought its mobile command center to the meeting.

Dolan explained to Sutton that the vehicle was there to give officers a place to get relief from the heat. The heat index was near triple digits the day the arrests and officers had also worked a street protest downtown before the board meeting.

Sutton said he did not get an apology from Dolan or the officer who nearly arrested him. And, while he would have preferred an apology from the officer, he's not losing sleep over it - saying it would have been a "common courtesy" much as one would apologize if you bumped into someone in the street.

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