WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A day after details were released in the investigation of three Wrightsville Beach Police officers, citizens are coming forward with their own allegations of police misconduct.
From a traffic stop that ended in a Tasing, to claims of a botched investigation of an apparent sexual assault, residents say one officer should not be allowed on the streets.
“All three officers had strong performance records… up to this particular time,” Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Bob Simpson said Tuesday when announcing the demotion of two officers and the resignation of another after an internal investigation.
Simpson’s comments had some people scratching their heads. Among them, Arlo McLawhorn. He is one of four men seen in dash cam video that shows a Wrightsville Beach cop Tasing McLawhorn’s friend. He says the officer firing the Taser is Shaun Appler, who the town demoted this week.
“He’s basically getting Tased, and you can see he’s Tasing him the whole time; just holding him telling him to come, you can see him motioning,” McLawhorn said about the video.
McLawhorn says the incident happened in June 2009. He and his buddies had hailed a cab when they were pulled over. McLawhorn says Ofc. Robert Miller, who was also demoted this week, was in the process of giving the cab a citation for an illegal pick-up when his buddies got out to try and let one of their friends go to restroom. McLawhorn says that’s when things went downhill.. He claims the officers in the video acted unprofessionally.
“Immediatly the officer comes up with his cuffs drawn and arrest my buddy,” McLawhorn said “He never tells us why he’s arrested.”
About five minutes later the video shows McLawhorn’s friend being Tased.
But McLawhorn is not the only person that has had a run in with one of the demoted officers. A man who we’ll call “Rick” says his son was caught up in a he-said-she-said story in which he was accused of rape.
Rick says his son was beat unconscious by friends of the alleged victim, but when it was time for police to investigate what happened, Rick says Ofc. Appler made no attempted to be fair and investigate both sides.
“This young man did not need to be carrying a weapon and enforcing the laws, ’cause he doesn’t know how to enforce the laws equally,” Rick said. “He enforces the laws as he sees it. It’s his court. What he said to me, and I quote, ‘Your son deserves what he got.’ He was almost beat to death, and my son had not even had his day in court yet. How would you feel if a police officer said that to you?”
We reached out to Simpson about his comments regarding Miller’s and Appler’s performance record. He said he made the comment based on what was in personnel records, including looking at reviews or any reprimands from five years back. As for the incidents in our story, he declined to comment.
We also tried calling Appler at work, but we could not reach him for comment.