Sheriff’s department settles with Strickland family

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Submitted: Wed, 02/27/2008 - 11:46pm
Updated: Mon, 04/21/2014 - 2:35pm

WILMINGTON — It's been more than a year since a New Hanover County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a Cape Fear Community College student, 18-year-old Peyton Strickland, in a bungled raid on the victim's home. Today there's a resolution in the long-disputed case. Strickland's family and New Hanover County agreed on a $2.45 million settlement Tuesday. Along with the monetary settlement Sheriff Sid Causey also agreed to have a consultant come in to review the policies and procedures of the sheriff's emergency response team. Former Deputy Chris Long was part of that team when it tried to serve an arrest and search warrant at Strickland's home in December of 2006. Strickland was a suspect in the theft of a Playstation 3 game from another UNCW student. Long confused the sound of a battering ram hitting the door for gunshots and shot through the door, hitting Strickland in the head. Long, a ten-year veteran of the force, was fired after the incident but cleared of any wrong doing by a grand jury. Wednesday the sheriff issued an apology to Strickland's family. Causey said, "First and foremost, I would like to issue an apology to the Strickland family. I cannot imagine the immense sorrow the Strickland family must continue to feel but they will forever be in my thought and prayers." The Stricklands said they have accepted Causey's apology and plan to spend all $2.45 million on charities and a foundation in Strickland's name. The county will have to pay $25,000 of the settlement. The settlement agreement will be presented to county commissioners at a March 10 meeting.

Family's statement We accept the sincere apology of Sheriff Sid Causey. We also appreciate Sheriff Causey's public acknowledgment that Peyton was unarmed and posed no threat as he answered his front door. We believe Peyton's death would have been prevented if the Sheriff's Department had better Emergency Response Team policies and procedures. We are therefore gratified that Sheriff Causey has agreed to have his Department's ERT policies and procedures evaluated and that he is committed to identifying and implementing changes that may help save lives. It is also our hope that other law enforcement agencies around the state will learn from this tragedy. We look forward to creating The Peyton Brooks Strickland Foundation. By its work, the Foundation will reflect Peyton's generosity of spirit and compassion in its charitable work in New Hanover County and elsewhere. Peyton is gone. Nothing can bring him back. We are, however, thankful for the New Hanover County Sheriff Department's efforts to right its wrong and in doing so to help us ensure Peyton's legacy. Don and Kathy Strickland February 27, 2008


  • rowp says:

    funny how the sheriff’s dept. and the taxpayers have to pay for officer long’s screwup and the next week you get a donation form in the mail wanting money for the sheriff’s association. coincidental isn’t it.

  • WilmMan says:

    It’s not the fault of the Sheriff or NHSO that nobody is in jail. The DA took the cause to a grand jury. They are the ones that said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove wrong doing. These are the same people that have put many murderers in jail. These are the same people you pass every day while driving down the steret. They are citizens of NHC. If you are made at anybody, be mad at them

  • Scally Wagg says:

    What evidence a playstation?

  • Guestoff says:

    …apologized to Peyton’s family and admits the kid was unarmed and posed no threat, Yet no one is is in jail nor will they be. Is no one responsible or was all the blame just sloughed off on Payton Strickland?

    It seems $2.5 million and an apology is the price of justice if you wear a badge and we the taxpayers pick up that tab too.

    Resign Sid Causey, Today!

  • star delight says:


  • Guestwilm123 says:

    we’re not in the 1700’s anymore, noone deserves to die just because they have stolen something. that settlement amount sounds like a lot, but i can guarntee you that family would rather have their son than the money. i lost my 20 y/o sister a few yrs ago and since then my father has gone crazy and my mother has aged more than anyone can imagine. i’m not at all asking for sympathy, this isn’t about me. i’m just saying that that money will never replace the son that was murdered! peyton was murdered and years were taken off of his parents’ lives. there’s no amount of money that can reconcile his death!

  • Ashamed LEO says:

    Two days following the death of Peyton Strickland Causey said, “If this boy would’ve come to the door – opened the door – we probably wouldn’t be talking,”

    At that time he knew Long shot thru a door, knew Strickland was unarmed, knew there was no possibility of any gunshot from inside the house and he definately knew that Peyton was inches from the door, reaching for the handle when the 18 year old was shot twice. He knows this because of the roommate (witness) who was thrown to the ground into a puddle of blood. He knows this because Chirs Long could see Peyton thru the glass panels in the door he shot thru. He knows this because everyone there that night knew it was a bad shooting, including the DA who immediately took possession of the bullet ridden and blood soaked door.

    Causey attempted to deceive the citizens by alluding that Peyton hesitated as he came around the corner to see who was banging on the door when in reality the muzzle of Long’s .45 caliber fully automatic machine gun was actually less than two feet away from Peyton’s chest when it fired. Bits and pieces of wood and glass were embedded into Peyton’s skin, he was answering the door.

    Why hasn’t anyone asked WHY Deputy Cina was even ordered to hit the door with a battering ram in the first place? Especially KNOWING Peyton was right there.

    Causey never took responsibility, once the truth was discovered by the media he fired Long, then gave him $6,000 out of his campaign fund and helped in the golf event that was a fund raiser for Long.

    Folks if you are buying any contrition on the behalf of Sheriff Causey you are fooled. His leadership has not only killed Peyton Strickland, but John Lewis, a man shot and killed by ERT for holding a cell phone and the inmate Gary Rummer who was killed from a broken neck and a fractured skull.

    How much more evidence do the citizens need before Causey gets sent packing?

  • Guest1234321 says:

    Sounds as if the right officials need to head to NHC and get rid of the sheriff and while their head south and get rid of that one too!

  • Police around the nation: Please use your size, strength, and skill wisely, not like idiots. And dont taze unarmed citizens that pose no threat to you or the public like you’re stupid.

  • Uncle Reality says:

    …who has never stood toe-to-toe with a suspect who doesn’t want to go to jail, and who could be a contender in UFC.

    No officer needs to endure being beaten up and trust me, regardless of how prepared and confident an officer thinks he is, there’s some guy out there who can beat some modesty back into him. I learned that firsthand.

    The job isn’t about wrestling on the ground with violent suspects – it’s about making an arrest when called for. In that regard, tasers are a safe way to avoid injury to the officer, and having to use deadly force on the suspect should that become necessary.

  • WilmMan says:

    Well, when Peyton left this world, he left it a little worse than what it was as well

  • Alice says:

    In defence of Sheriff Sid Causey, Peyton Strickland was a wanted thief and was considered to be potentially armed at the time of his shooting.
    Peyton was not the only victim in this tragic accident…

  • Tom says:

    I assume by your comment “both sides of the law” you mean law enforcement personnel and law abiding citizens. If, on the other hand, you’re talking about criminals, I doubt any of them care who’s in the DA’s office. I’ve been doing some further thinking on this shooting, and it’s left me wondering about an area of this event that has never been addressed.

    Why didn’t the DA present a charge of Reckless Endangerment against Long for consideration by the Grand Jury, as well as the murder charge that he presented for the death of Strickland the first time around? Peyton Strickland’s roommate Michael Rhoton was in the same room as Strickland when Long’s rounds came flying through the front door. Those rounds passed into the same room in which Rhoton himself was located, and he too could have just as easily been hit and injured or killed as was Strickland. That’s a textbook case of Reckless Endangerment. Long’s lucky both of these young men weren’t killed there that night.

    Rhoton should hire an attorney and sue the county as well, because his life was unquestionably placed in as imminent a degree of danger as was Strickland’s. Rhoton would have a good case on this argument too, especially since he had nothing to do with why the police were there in the first place.

  • Scally Wagg says:

    For all those calling Peyton a criminal doesn’t this country consider us ALL innocent until proven guilty? Also Peyton was at his home with two other roommates, what if one of those “innocent” roommates came to open the door? The officers had no way of knowing who was at the door they just shot. It just so happened the one they were coming to arrest came to the door, that was never even opened mind you, and was shot. If one of the innocent roommates was shot instead would you yahoos defending LEO’s still try to defend that action? I’m not anti LEO but this particular case stinks from top to bottom, and I don’t understand how any sane individual can defend this boy’s death.

  • Glenda Goedde says:

    I have followed this shooting from the very beginning and words can not say from my heart how very sorry I am for your loss of your loved one. You have been in my prayers daily and will continue to be. I will say this to the entire families that: I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail. Your memories of Peyton you will have forever more. God bless you all. This is worse than me losing my niece to murder.

  • Tom says:

    It’s District Attorney Ben David’s fault that nobody’s in jail for this shooting. Just look at the charges he presented to the Grand Juries for consideration in this case. To the first Grand Jury, DA David presented a charge of second degree murder as the only charge those Grand Jury members could consider. But, a Second Degree Murder Charge would require proof that Long INTENTIONALLY fired his weapon through Strickland’s’ front door, and we know by Long’s own statement that that’s not how the shooting occurred.

    However, shooting 5 to 6 rounds from a sub-machine gun through the closed front door of a private residence IS a reckless act, indeed it’s reckless in the extreme, and that’s regardless of whether the shots were fired intentionally or not. The crime that Long actually committed that night, and it’s also one that should have earned him a criminal charge, is Involuntary Manslaughter. That first Grand Jury had members who said they would have indicted Long if that had been the charge they had been giver to consider in the first place. Apparently, they didn’t know that they could override the DA’s choice of charges and consider a lesser charge that they felt actually fit the facts in the case, like Involuntary Manslaughter. Even at the second Grand Jury hearing, the charge presented for that panel to consider was Voluntary Manslaughter; which is yet another charge that requires proof of INTENTIONAL actions on Long’s part.

    District Attorney Ben David should have to answer why he never presented a charge that corresponded directly to the facts in this case. If you read Long’s statement, you would know that his own words, along with knowledge of even the most basic facts in the case, were easily enough to indict him for Involuntary Manslaughter. District Attorney Ben David’s unexplained actions are the reason nobody was ever indicted for a crime in this matter, and HIS efforts in controlling the charges presented to these two Grand Juries actually appears to have been intentional. He didn’t want an indictment to come down against former Deputy Long, even though it’s the DA’s job as a public servant to present a charge that will not only secure an indictment, but in all likelihood, a conviction as well. His actions in this event have been a disservice to the Strickland family, and to justice itself.

  • Guestoff says:

    …that can’t tell the difference between a “True Bill” or “No Bill” but are asked to make decisions based on their feelings and what information a District Attorney presents.

    If I shoot someone, I’ve got to justify why. I can’t just say oops, here’s $2.5 and an apology a couple of years later.

  • peyton's friend says:

    The Strickland family never wanted the money for themselves. All the money will go to charitable organizations for perpetuity. How much selfless can you get? They could have kept every cent for themselves. Telling them that no amount of money can reconcile his death is something they are well aware of. They would give everything they own to have their son back. It is a shame that more people are not like them.

  • peyton's friend says:

    Glenda-as a close friend of the Stricklands, I can tell you that they are very sorry for the loss of your niece. May God Bless you for your prayers and vigilance thoroughout this whole sordid matter.

  • Guest13 says:

    It is so very unfortunate that this child lost his life, it is also unfortunate that the deputy who made a judgment call ( a very bad one) has been ostracized from his community.If you want Causey out- DON’T RE-ELECT HIM!!! It’s simple.

  • WilmMan says:

    Petyon’s “friends” indicated in court that Peyton was involved and he was guilty. True, Peyton never got his day in court, but there is no doubt he was guilty. And just because he was really guilty doesn’t mean he deserved to die

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Anyone could have answered that door, a parent, a visiting child, you or I.

    Of course the nay sayers will say that it would have been their fault for hanging out with criminals. I wonder just how well you have to know everyone you hang out with? Innocent & honest people could have been murdered that night. It was a major gun-ho cop disaster.

    The Strickland’s did not get enough money and i wish that they could go after Long as well for being a twit. I am a middle aged woman with NO police experience and i could have planned how to arrest 3 college kids with no problem. I thought that cops were suppose to know their targets? Commonsense will tell you that they were just 3 white college kids that did something stupid, not hardened criminal minds.
    Take them out of class 1 by 1, duh. Its not like they were hiding.

  • Jim Shown says:

    The officer “confused the sound of the battering ram for gun shots coming from inside the house” and “Another deputy shot and killed Strickland’s two dogs.”

    If someone could explain how you mistake the sound of a battering ram (Which you train with every month) for a gun shot, I would love to hear that!

    On top of that, killing his two dogs! Just another example of dirty cops, being dirty cops! Pathetic if you ask me!

  • Guest Pfft says:

    Well, you can really take or leave what his “friends” said, as Peyton isn’t/wasn’t here to defend himself. They could say whatever the heck they wanted to.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    They were also serving a search warrant on the residence.

    You would never arrest the suspects away from the location to be searched, because one phone call from a friend who saw an arrest to another friend could result in evidence being destroyed. It’s also unrealistic to dedicate additional manpower to serve the search warrant while other teams were out arresting the suspects.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    I did not say i wanted to be a cop. Basically I said they could have arrested the kids w/o causing a huge incident and taking lives and a lot of people agree with that. I never said being a cop was easy BUT in this case they made it much harder than it needed to be.

    Police choose their occupations just like the rest of us, it must have its perks or satisfy some inherent mental need for them to go to work everyday. I feel sure some truly care about society but i KNOW some of them are in it for the power trip. Don’t try and make them all sound like saints and don’t try and make a female look like an idiot for stating the obvious. Only makes you look bitter.

    Go listen to your scanner.

  • Guest1969 says:

    The middle-aged woman who admitted she has NO POLICE experience also stated she could have managed to bring in college students with no problem: Madam, you are delusional if you think being a law enforcement officer is easy. Officers and deputies put their lives on the line every single time they answer a call, and for you to trivialize what they do with your ridiculous statements is vile. Soccer moms like you should stick to the really simple stuff like picking up Junior from school and taking him to play with balls. Leave the hard, dangerous, difficult, and trying work to the professionals that are daily placed in positions that require them to make split-second life-and-death decisions. I think traffic to and from the soccer practice is about all your simple mind can handle.

  • WilmMan says:

    Well, I don’t see the DA staying in office. There are a lot of people on both sides of the law that don’t like him

  • GAVincent says:

    Hey…he hasn’t been too ostracized from this community…I saw him on the be a tourist day, hanging out with his family, laughing it up at the battleship….Something that Peyton’s parent’s can never do. Long should have moved a left this community since he left it worse than it was before.

  • Amazed says:

    It amazes me how it is contiunally overlooked that there was wrong doing on both sides, not just the sheriffs department. The Sheriffs dep was there that night for a reason. It just had a very unfortunate outcome.

  • GuestCop says:

    The dept was not there for the “right reason.” The ERT was there b/c some arrogant arses felt that Mr. Strickland was a threat based upon an internet profile.

    Supposedly well informed, capable decision makers, used their skills of discrimination to determine that this child was a threat based upon a few photos.

    People tried to warn them… no one listened. Welcome to New Hanover County. Your children (and other people’s children) are NOT the highest priority here.

  • Guest u says:

    Just another wonderful chapter to one of the most corrupt police forces thats NOT located in New York or Los Angeles.

  • welderpat says:

    Almost a year and a half goes by and this Sheriff is only now offering an me that is an insult…only now after theres a settlement this guy is sorry that his trigger happy deputy shot and killed an unarmed man..
    shaking my head..he should resign

  • Guest Shey says:

    He apologized for the mess around when it all happened, sorta. I’m glad the family got the settlement, but nothing will ever change the travesty will it?

  • sdsurfer says:

    are we, the taxpayers of New Hanover County, going to pay for the “consultant” that Sid has agreed to work with during the evaluation of his ERT?

    It’s bad enough that we, the taxpayers, have to pay the $25,000 deductible, but once again, the taxpayers end up footing the bill for the Sheriff’s Department inadequacey.

    Take the “consultant” cost as well as the $25,000 deductible out of Sid’s budget for next year and tell him to run his department on a tight budget. No more correctional officers for his jail and no additional deputies to patrol an ever-shrinking patrol area.

    We can only hope that someone will step up to the plate and run against Sid and remove him from office.

  • lets go says:

    Why not call for the resignation of Causey? Since when does a county of good people not hold someone accountable for the death of an unarmed 18 year old? Causey admitted his fault so why wont he resign?

    We need to sign this Petition

  • WilmMan says:

    Your Petition is a joke. First of all, the DA won’t sign off on it because he knows he will not be re-elected afterwards. Secondly, half the petition is from an anonymous source so those signatures mean nothing. And thirdly, half of those that signed the petition have criminal backgrounds. Who is going to listen to them.

    It’s still a sad place we live in when people can’t take responsibility for their own actions and have to blame someone else for whats wrong in their life.

  • Guest 27 says:

    While I understand that the actions of Long were inappropriate based on what we know now, we must understand his position. Before we call him “trigger happy” let’s put oursef behind the gun. A mistake in perception of gunfire: would you wait and let the guy come out shooting if you thought he was shooting at you? Seriously, I would be looking out for numero uno and protecting my life. In the heat of the moment, your adrenaline hijacks your mind and you can’t control it. Even if you want to hold Long accountable, don’t drag Causey, the rest of the ERT, and the whole department down too. None of them pulled the trigger, so they shouldn’t get the heat from the accident of another. Without knowing what we do now and being in Long’s shoes, none of us can honestly say what we would have done because none of us were there. Stop playing the blame game and give some forgiveness for an unfortunate accident.

  • WilmMan says:

    Good Luck with that….how much you willing to bet this petition will do very little? There are 147 signatures on that petition. Why hasn’t anything been done? If you only need 5, then the 147 should be enough. The fact is nothing has been done and nothing will be done. Otherwise something would already would have happened

  • Need to know basis says:

    Wilmman all youneed is 5 signatures and approved by the county attorney or DA. The county attorney answers to the commssioners. The commssioners answer to us. There is a election coming up. You’ve seen and heard the public opinion, they are calling for Causey’s head.

    North Carolina statute that allows for a resident superior court judge to rule on any petition brought by five or more citizens and approved by either the county attorney or district attorney.

    “The statute provides for the various factors that could cause a sheriff to be removed.”

    According to that statute, those include:

    Willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of his office

    Willful misconduct or maladministration in office



    Upon conviction of a felony

    Intoxication, or upon conviction of being intoxicated.

    The procedure is neither a criminal nor civil one and does not require a jury.

    I think it wouldn’t be difficult to prove, Willful misconduct or Maladministration in office , all we would need is the County Attorney or District Attorney to sign off on it. After all the county basically admitted liability when they settled with the Stricklands for a record amount of money.

    The county has a liability issue at stake. Showing a corrective attempt at fixing the problem may go a long way in the penalty phase, in the pending federal case regarding Gary Rummer. I seriously doubt the DA will sign on. It would be a political mess for him. Both Democrats, both elected officials, not many have the nerve to do something like that. But the County Attorney would be showing good faith to a jury that the county is trying to correct a situation that has caused at least two deaths in less than 5 years.

    After all this man receives 30 million dollars of tax payer money and hands us an unarmed dead teenager as his legacy. If this was the only time death came as a result of improper training and authority it would be one thing, but there is a history here.

    Time to round up the troops and make a go at getting rid of this man and his staff.

    Five signatures is all that is needed.

  • Guest0000 says:


  • WilmMan says:

    Why exactly was the department not there for the “right” reason? There was a picture of a suspect with weapons (who’s to say it was for play), the assault that took place was done with a weapon, one of the other boys that was arrested had a loaded shotgun in his truck, and there was drug paraphernalia inside the house and the SC has ruled that where there are drugs you can expect to find weapons. I’m not defending Long or what took place, but the ERT team had every right to be there. Also, the ERT members are the one’s that serve warrants, not the regular street deputy

  • wilmwoman says:

    Everything you said is wrong. Had there have been a weapon the boys convicted of the crime would have been convicted of armed robbery instead of common law robbery. The picture of the “suspect” with a weapon was NOT Peyton Strickland. The kid in the picture DID NOT LIVE with Peyton and they knew it, Ryan lived ON CAMPUS! When Ryan was arrested, according to the Star News, there was no gun in his truck. The autopsy showed that Peyton had no drugs in his system and marijuana remains in your body for up to one month. Where there are drugs there are weapons? Are you nuts? What house doesnt have a weapon of some kind? Kitchen knives and beer bottles have killed more people than guns.

    Yes ERT serves warrants for the sheriff but they dont always serve warrants in SWAT gear. Long said he mistook the sound of a battering ram for a gun shot. He claimed his hearing was impared from the earpiece, helmet and hood. This was not a dangerous knock and talk. The kid was unarmed. Long should have not been in full gear.

    By the way, according to the 911 call TWO people jumped Justin Raines and took two Playstations from him, TWO people pleaded guilty to doing it. Who else was there?

  • Guest nifkin says:

    I wouldn’t compare the corruption in the New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Department to the police forces of NY & LA; that would be disproportionately unfair to those two cities’ LEOs.

    Wilmington PD as an organization has far more integrity. Those sheriffs – some of those people just scare the hell out of me. And I’m a law-abiding citizen.

    In fairness I do appreciate the services provided by LEOs. I recognize that it takes a special kind of person to be a LEO, and that most are inherently good people. But we need to clean house around here!

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