Religious leaders react to release of police videos of Raleigh man's violent arrest

Ed Crump Image
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Reaction continues over release of police video
Reaction continues over release of police video in Kyron Hinton case.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- When a Wake County Superior Court judge released videos of a confrontation between a Raleigh man and law enforcement officers, he ruled there was a compelling public interest.

He was right.

The videos have been viewed thousands of times and spurred a group of local religious leaders to organize an effort to hold police accountable.

"Our collective voice as a clergy group has been silent too long and we are here today to say we will not be silent any longer," the Rev. Nancy Petty told reporters at a news conference Thursday.

Behind the pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh was a diverse group that included representatives of many denominations.

They included more than two dozen men and women who are black and white, old and young and representing Jews and Gentiles.

Dash and body cam videos released in Kyron Hinton case (1 of 10)

Despite being incensed about what they saw on the videos, they said they were pleased that wheels of justice were at least in motion.

The Rev. Jemonde Taylor of Raleigh's St. Ambrose Episcopal Church said, "The indictment of the three officers and the release of the video are initial signs of justice. However, we cannot stop there. We must ensure that justice and due process are carried out. We must hold law enforcement accountable and evaluate our policing systems that ensure that an incident like this will never happen again."

But at least one legal expert says convicting the Wake County Sheriff's deputy and two state troopers now charged with felony assault won't be easy.

Karl Knudsen, a long time Raleigh criminal lawyer and former prosecutor, said after viewing the videos he thinks those officers did go too far and can understand why Wake County residents on the Grand Jury indicted those officers.

"It seemed that the situation was stable when it was just Raleigh police officers that were there," Knudsen said about the early minutes of the videos.

Kyron Hinton has admitted he was drunk and mad on the night of April 3 after losing all his money at a sweepstakes parlor on Raleigh Boulevard.

He was standing in the middle of the road and yelling, prompting several people to call 911.

"There's a man standing in the middle of Raleigh Boulevard. He looks like he has a gun," said one caller.

Another reported, "He's screaming something and he's holding a gun or what definitely looks like a gun."

But Hinton did not have a gun.

He wasn't armed at all.

And Knudsen notes that Raleigh police officers calmly talking to him obviously realized that.

But the videos show that all changed when Wake County deputy Cameron Broadwell, who later said he had heard Hinton was armed, arrived with his canine partner.

"The deputy with the dog comes in and it was quite stunning to see the situation just really escalate and get out of control very quickly," Knudsen told ABC11.

In the videos, Broadwell not only sics his dog on Hinton, he swings his forearm across Hinton's head and neck and knocks him to the ground then begins punching him as the dog bites Hinton.

Other officers can be seen kicking Hinton and one can be heard ordering others to repeatedly hit Hinton in the head with their flashlights.

Hinton was left bloodied and bruised and three of the officers were left facing felony assault charges.

But just because citizens on the Wake County Grand Jury saw fit to bring charges after presumably also seeing the videos doesn't guarantee a conviction from a trial jury.

"This is absolutely not open and shut," Knudsen said adding, "A jury is going to have to be fully satisfied and entirely convinced that under the circumstances of this case the force that was used was way beyond that which was necessary."

And if the officers are not convicted, Petty promised action saying, "We will be in the streets of Raleigh. You can count on that. There will be protests, there will be gathering, there will be marching. We will be in the streets of Raleigh and I for one will do all I can to lead that. Now, with that said, we will call for peaceful non-violent response in that moment."