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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is behind bars after police say he stole about a dollar in change at a bank yesterday. But the way that police took Roy Smith II into custody has some asking if the they acted too harshly.

Police say around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday Smith entered the SECU on Converse Drive and held out his hand. He did not say anything to the cashier and didn’t present a weapon. After a few awkward moments he ran towards a woman who was depositing money into a CoinStar machine and stole one dollar in change before running outside.

We talked with Smith in jail today. He did not seem to understand some of our questions or what happened after he went to the bank. At one point he said he didn’t remember anything that happened yesterday because he didn’t have his clothes on, even though he was fully clothed.

But he was clear that he did not try to rob the bank.

“I was trying to take out a checking and savings account,” Smith said. “I ain’t got no reason to steal nothing from nobody. Why would somebody steal a dollar?”

Wilmington Police say officers tried multiple times to get Smith to leave his vehicle peacefully, but they say he would not. Once they finally got him out, they say he would not show officers his hands. They then used what Chief Ralph Evangelous called necessary force.

“Had he shown his hands, there would not have been an issue,” Evangelous said. “Until we see his hands, it is a very dangerous and volatile situation that could have gone really bad and didn’t. I support our response and our efforts there”

When we asked Smith if he felt an officer had assaulted him, he said, “no.” When we asked if he’d ever been in trouble or been arrested, he shook his head no. But Wilmington Police say this is not their first run in with Smith.

“This individual has been armed several times in the past in confrontations that we have had with him,” Evangelous said. “We didn’t know whether or not he was armed. Like I have said before, I am not going to put our officers in a situation where they are going to get themselves hurt or killed because of our complacency.”

Department of Corrections records show Smith has a lengthy criminal history including multiple convictions on drug and gun charges and two convictions for assault with a deadly weapon on a government officer.

Smith is in the New Hanover County Jail facing a felony larceny charge. His bond is set at $10,000.

Wilmington Police released dashcam video of Smith’s arrest.

Click here to watch the video

Cpl. Kevin Smith says on the video that the arrest was appropriate, because the suspects were considered to have robbed a bank.

Smith says the occupants of the vehicle police stopped refused to get out for several minutes, however the video shows it was 57 seconds before the suspect was out of the SUV and on the ground.

The video shows an undercover officer dragging the suspect away from the SUV, then stomping on his rear-end twice while yelling, “Put your hands behind your back!”

Smith says the officer felt he needed to “emphasize that with his foot.”

He says it’s important for the public to know that felony stops like this one are one of the most dangerous situations an officer can be in, just short of being shot at.

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32 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: WPD posts video of controversial arrests, chief applauds officers"


Frank Splendorio
2015 years 8 months ago

come on just another example of the media blowing things out of proportion to get a story. How about the bum had prior arrests for offenses involving drugs and guns. what is he doing on the street to begin with.

The Natural
2015 years 8 months ago

I don’t know….I don’t have a problem with the stomp because the suspect had not yet shown his hands. I have an issue with the dragging of the suspect face down after I’m assuming he toldh im to leave the vehicle and lay down. Excessive force? I don’t know that it is neccesarily, but that officer could use some training.

non name
2015 years 8 months ago

I understand what the video may look like… however my father was a police officer for most of my life, and he had to use force when dealing with criminals. The thing is that we dont know the whole story about wht happened. Ok the guy stole a dollar, Im sure at the time they didnt know the amount and the WPD did what they are trained to do. I didnt like the play on an officers eudcation, my father went to college and was the top of his class before entering the force so please think about what you say and who it can hurt. Again I know what it looks like but they have to be sure of every little detail bc if they back off even for a second then they could loose their life or some bystander could as well. This is only a short climpse of the dash cam I am sure there is more to the story.

Guestbr549
2015 years 8 months ago

Ok,

One, these two clowns walk into a bank. Two, clown one walks up to a teller and acts out a mime act that the teller feels is his way of saying “Give”. Three, said clown does not have an account, a check, a bill to make change, a deposit slip, a coupon, or any slip or anything in his hand. Four, when said mime act is misunderstood, clown walks over and steals money from some poor soul who has to empty out their change jar just to make ends meet in this time of “recovery”. Five, when said clown act is stopped by LEO after bank sets off alarm they fail to comply. End result, Clowns gets butt kicked. Clowns go to jail. Clowns should be happy that is all they got instead of a handful of high speed lead supplements.

Mac
2015 years 8 months ago

I am a veteran of 40+ years, on the Phila. PD, the video shows that the proper amount of force was used to effect the arrest.

The plainclothes Officer, used only the force that was necessary to get the suspect to comply, once the suspect complied no further force was used. A proper use of the force continuum Good Job by the Officers of the WPD.

 

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