Raleigh man accuses officer of excessive force

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Raleigh man says police used excessive force
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Raleigh Police say they are looking into Kyle Garcia's complaint against alleged police brutality.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Kyle Garcia told ABC11 he thought his life was in danger while being arrested by a Raleigh police officer earlier this month.

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Garcia said bruises on his head, face, and knees came from a violent encounter two weeks ago with a Raleigh officer.

Garcia said he was parked by an air pump at a Sheetz station on Ramble Way when he was approached by officers demanding he get out of his car.

"My trunk was popped open. I barely moved a muscle. All I did was close my trunk. He immediately started to punch, kick, elbow," Garcia said. "He slams me on the ground and he stomped my head repeatedly."

Garcia also said the officer didn't read him his Miranda rights during the arrest.

Editor's note: A Raleigh Police spokesperson clarified on Tuesday that officers do not have to read Mirando rights at time of arrest, only during custodial interrogation.

The 22-year-old Garcia was taken into custody and charged with possession of marijuana.

Garcia is now out of jail and back to work on a pretrial release. He says his physical scars are healing, but the emotional wounds are still fresh.

"I'm not saying that every police officer is an animal," Garcia said. "In his case, I just want them to look further into it."

Raleigh Police told ABC11 that it is looking into Garcia's claims of excessive force.

A spokesperson told ABC11 by email that RPD would investigate whether security cameras at the Sheetz or the officer's dash cam captured footage of the incident.

RPD told ABC11 it is still in "the contract phase" of body-worn cameras, so officers are not yet equipped with those.

Garcia wants a thorough investigation. He also plans to file a complaint.

"As a young man, I feel like I have to fear for my life when I see a police officer," Garcia said.

Raleigh Police confirmed to ABC11 that there has not a complaint filed against the officer, who was identified by RPD as Officer M.R. Wigger.

"However, we are investigating Mr. Garcia's allegations as brought to our attention by the media," RPD said.

RPD said it has received just six excessive-force complaints out of 297,534 "officer/citizen contacts" for 2017 to date.

In 2016, RPD received eight complaints out of 387,696 "officer/citizen contacts."

"Officer Wigger is a highly respected officer with over 15 years of dedicated service on RPD," the Raleigh Police Protective Association told ABC11 in a statement. "His work record is impeccable and The Raleigh Police Protective Association is confident he will be exonerated of all false allegations against him."

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