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Man turns officers’ own stun gun on them during violent arrest in NC, body cams show

A 41-year-old man in North Carolina took control of a cop’s stun gun and tased two officers who were on top of him during a violent arrest, video footage released by police on Friday shows.

Now Burlington police are investigating whether the officers used excessive force during the Oct. 4 arrest of Bobby Lamont Harvey.

Police said Harvey matched the description of a suspect officers were searching for in the area, but they later determined it was not him, the Burlington Times-News reported.

Sandra Harvey, who identified herself as Harvey’s sister, posted a cellphone video of the arrest to Facebook last weekend. The video had been shared 1,300 times by Friday.

“This is definitely excessive force used by them pigs,” Sandra Harvey wrote on the Facebook post. “Is this proper procedure when arresting someone?”

But Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe said that video lacks context.

The department has since released roughly 15 minutes of video detailing the circumstances of Harvey’s arrest, showing side-by-side comparisons of footage from four officers’ body-worn cameras and a bystander’s video.

Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe said in a Facebook post the move was meant to underscore a commitment to “transparency and professionalism,” saying the compilation video is designed to “clearly show the community what actions were taken by officers of the Burlington Police Department.”

Prior to the arrest, Smythe said, officers were responding to a woman’s 911 call reporting an assault by an acquaintance in Burlington, roughly 20 miles east of Greensboro.

They arrived at her home at 9:53 p.m., at which point Smythe said she identified the suspect and provided a physical description as well as where she believed him to have gone — a location three blocks away.

Officers reportedly went to that location and found several people at the residence, including Harvey.

“He was sweating in a manner that was consistent with someone that could have walked or run the few blocks from the location of the assault,” Smythe said.

Officers attempted to detain him after they said he gave them a fake name — the footage shows Harvey tell officers his name is Terry Neal.

“As officers announced their intention to detain him to confirm his identity, he violently resisted,” Smythe said.

One officer tases Harvey, who is heard yelling “Stop!” and “You’re killing me!”

“We’re not killing you!” an officer responded.

The bystander video begins with Harvey on the ground and both police officers on top of him.

Police said Harvey then took control of a Taser and shocked the officers.

The video shows them striking him in response as bystanders yell, “Stop hitting him!”

Two more officers arrive, at which point police said Harvey bit one of them in the leg.

“He’s biting me, he’s biting me,” an officer is heard saying.

The footage lasts a little more than eight minutes and ends as four officers carry Harvey to the back of a patrol car with his legs in what police later clarified was a nylon strap.

One of the officers was “bleeding heavily from a head wound” after the ordeal, Smythe said, but Harvey did not appear physically hurt.

“Mr. Harvey was not significantly injured during the incident,” he said. “There were no obvious wounds that would lead us to call for EMS.”

Instead, Smythe said Harvey was taken to the hospital and admitted for a medical condition “not directly related to this incident.” He was also treated for minor scrapes on his elbows and knees.

Harvey was released from the hospital and taken to jail Oct. 7, Fox 8 reported.

County jail records show he has since been charged with three counts of assault on an officer, one count of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer and two counts of failing to register as a sex offender.

He is being held in custody on a $1.4 million bond.

Smythe said the incident is now under investigation.

“At this time, the Burlington Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation based on an excessive force complaint,” he said. “The outcome of that investigation will be released when it is completed.”

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.
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