'Joke was on me:' Raleigh mom tells story of police pointing rifles at 6-year-old son in call for increase in police accountability

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, February 7, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Woman angered by RPD handling of search

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Raleigh woman called for changes to the Raleigh Police Department during the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

LaDonna Clark stood up in front of city leaders and called for more accountability in the police department.

She retold a story that happened to her family in November. Click here to watch her presentation.

"My senior citizen parents, as well as my 6-year-old son with autism and cerebral palsy, experienced the most terrorizing experience of their lives," Clark said. "On a 35 degree and rainy night, my son with autism was forced out of the home with military-style rifles aimed at him and made to sit on the cold, wet ground for over an hour by RPD Swat."

Clark said when she learned of what happened, she filed a complaint and requested video from the event so she could see for herself what happened.

"However, the joke was on me, because not only was I not allowed to see the footage of my son being terrorized, I was told by Sgt. Neville that I could not get an I.A. number and I would need to identify the actual offenses of the officers involved, as well as do a verbal interview before I would be able to get an I.A. number."

Clark said Sgt. Neville also assured her that the officers did not do anything wrong.

After telling this story, Clark called out City Council.

She said a lack of action from the council members had given Raleigh police officers a "free pass ... to demonize black citizens."

"What will City Council do to begin the process of police accountability to avoid travesties like my family's?" Clark challenged near the end of her time.

Raleigh officers had a warrant to search Clark's family's house that night in November, our news-gathering partners at the News & Observer reported. The officers were looking for Brian Clark, who was wanted in connection to an armed robbery at an AT&T store on Capital Boulevard in October.

Brian Clark, 22, is accused of using a semi-automatic gun to threaten people in the store and then stealing $50,000 worth of cell phones and other electronics.

LaDonna Clark said the robbery suspect is a family relative but he was not at the house when police arrived. Her problem is with the way officers handled their investigation.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown released a statement to ABC11 about the case:

The safety and well-being of all Raleigh residents is a top priority for the Raleigh Police Department. The November 14, 2018, incident on Friar Tuck Road was precipitated by a search warrant for that address based on probable cause that evidence from a recent armed robbery would be located there. Through investigative means it was determined that the armed robbery suspect, Brian Lamonte Clark, had indicated that he resides at this address. Mr. Clark was arrested at a later date and faces multiple felony charges, to include armed robbery.The incident has been, and is still being reviewed by the Raleigh Police Department Office of Professional Standards.

Deck-Brown said she remains confident that the investigation, which was started on November 16, will be thorough.