Ex-Vance County SRO pleads guilty in body slamming of 11-year-old, will serve 55 days in jail

HENDERSON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A former Vance County resource officer pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor assault and child abuse charges 13 months after he was caught on camera body slamming a student.

The charges stemmed from an incident in a Vance County Middle School hallway, where viral images showed Warren Durham body slam an 11-year-old student.

The district attorney said Durham suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and said that contributed to his actions with the child, who suffered a concussion in the ordeal.

The judge said that the assault looked horrific and added that these kind of actions can't be tolerated.

Durham pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors: Failure to discharge duty and assault on a child under 12. He was sentenced to 55 days on the assault charge and 45 days on the failure to discharge duty charge.

However, 45 days of the sentence were suspended. That means Durham will spend 55 days in jail and 18 months on probation.

He will be allowed to report to jail on January 18.

The child's family was in attendance, hoping that Durham would be justly punished for his actions. They had pushed unsuccessfully for Durham to face felony charges.

"We're just here today asking God and praying that justice be done," said John Miles, the student's grandfather.

"I asked him the other day, 'Grandson, what would you say to America about this case?' He said, 'Granddad, I ask one question ... Why did this man put his hands on me, and why'd he try to kill me?'" Miles said.

Surveillance video shows middle school student being slammed, dragged; viewer's discretion is advised:
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Durham's Law Enforcement Certification will be suspended while he's on probation.

He was ordered to not have contact with victim or victim's family.

The case will also be referred to a law enforcement commission - which could result in permanent removal of his Law Enforcement Certificate.

"Warren Durham should never, ever be allowed to be a sheriff, a SRO officer or even carry a gun or be around kids," Miles said.

Durham was fired from his job just days after the incident. Miles and his family want to see more change but he noted that Durham's actions were not reflective of all law enforcement officers.

"Our attorney can't change the law. I can't change the law," Miles said. "We as a community and the people have to go to Raleigh and change these laws."

ABC11 Photojournalist Larry Chavis contributed to this report.
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