Investigation underway after Wayne County deputy punches woman at county fair

Monday, October 7, 2019
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Wayne Co fair incident

WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- An investigation is underway after video shows a deputy punch a woman while escorting her out of the Wayne County Fair.

Cell phone video showed 18-year-old T'Ziah Kelly in a tussle with a deputy before he punches her in the head Saturday.

The video also showed Kelly returning a jab.

"Looking at the video I feel hurt, betrayed. Because my daughter should have been protected," said her mother, Lateryka Sanders.

Sanders filed a complaint Monday against the deputy.

"He needs to be fired," Sanders said. "It could have been worse."

Kelly said all of this started when she rushed to break up a fight between her brother and another teen.

Kelly said deputies also responded to that same fight.

"I was like 'Why y'all grabbing him like that?' and they were like 'We can grab you like that too.' They yanked me and that's when the beginning of the video started. I pulled away," Kelly said.

ABC11 asked Kelly why she pulled away.

"Because he was grabbing me. He didn't have to -- he was using excessive force," Kelly explained.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office said Kelly was being escorted toward the exit after she was causing problems with other people at the fair.

Authorities also said she was cursing at the deputy while resisting and fighting the officer.

Right now, the deputy is still on patrol as the sheriff's office reviews how he responded.

"I'm not going to feel safe around him," Kelly said.

Kelly is charged with assault, trespassing and resisting an officer.

The college freshman fears a criminal record will sideline her basketball career at Lenoir Community College before it can even begin.

She hopes the investigation leads to all charges being dropped.