NAACP review of old arrest alleges police abuse in Dunn

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
NAACP levels accusations at Dunn Police
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The Harnett County NAACP held a news conference in Dunn on Monday.

DUNN, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Representatives from the NAACP, activists, and a man alleging abuse at the hands of a Dunn police officer gathered Tuesday afternoon in front of Dunn City Hall.

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The news conference was called after video was leaked from 2012, apparently shot from a Dunn police cruiser's dash cam, showing an attempted traffic stop, a subsequent police chase, and then the arrest of Seneca Jackson. During that, you can see an officer kick the man on the ground.

Before the chase, an officer leaning near Jackson's passenger window said he smelled marijuana in Jackson's car. Jackson took off shortly after and a chase ensues.

When Jackson was pulled over a second time, he refused to lie down on the ground. A male officer rushed to his car, pushed him to the ground and cuffed Jackson. A female officer helped, and then, after what seems to be a minor argument, appeared to kick Jackson while he was lying face down with his hands cuffed behind his back.

"When you see that happening at a local scale and what's happening across the country, we're appalled," said Lewis Bell with the Harnett County NAACP.

That video prompted Tuesday's news conference with Harnett County NAACP President Carolyn McDougal, the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, and the man who was arrested that night, Seneca Jackson.

Here's our interview with McDougal shortly before the news conference:

"No one should ever have to be kicked at the hands of the law enforcement," McDougal said. "People who protect, that we depend on to protect us."

Dunn Police are referring questions to the City Manager, Steven Neuschafer. He offered the following statement:

"As City Manager, I am the final decision-maker for personnel matter, therefore it is inappropriate for me to comment on the specific actions in the video. I want to assure the residents of Dunn that I expect the highest level of professionalism and accountability for actions taken by any employee of the City.

"Dunn City officials are reviewing actions taken by the Dunn Police Administration following the 2012 event to ensure that all concerns were appropriately addressed."

Neuschafer declined all other questions, including the name of the officer involved or whether the "event" had been investigated at the time.

If the case was resolved, Dunn's policy on dash-cam video requires the original to have been destroyed by an "Evidence Technician" and any copies that had been made and held by the police department to be destroyed by the Department Commander.

RELATED: Here's Dunn's policy on dash- and body-cam video (.pdf)

"Only a very few people would have been allowed to access copies of the video prior to that, and only after a formal request in writing was approved by the Chief," Neuschafer said.

Neuschafer declined to say whether that happened, referring us to the statement saying the actions taken by that "Administration" are under review.

"Somebody knew and somebody should be held accountable," McDougal said.