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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest 211

    DOESN’T ANYONE THAT SIDES WITH THE SUSPECTS REALIZE THAT IT WAS THEIR DECISION TO GO TO THE BANK AND DO THIS? NO ONE MADE THEM DO IT. THEY DIDN’T COMPLY WITH THE OFFICERS REQUESTS. ITS TIME TO MAKE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. OF COURSE HE WOULD SAY HE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND OR REMEMBER. WOULDN’T YOU?

  • Brian

    He deserved more than he got, but I’d suspect that he didn’t immediately get out of the car because of the vicious manner in which the dog was acting and its close proximity to the vehicle. I know that I would be hesitant to exit my vehicle with a dog that close and behaving in that manner.

    They need to keep the dog quiet and non-threatening until it’s needed.

  • PublicAvenger

    He is a hardened criminal. He figured out a lot of things in jail. He deliberately tried to set himself up, as a victim, but it failed. He rode the edge, and made sure, to keep it at a “misdemeanor” level. The police did a great job, and it’s good they have a chief who stands up for them.

    The sad part is, this is just a misdemeanor, and will end up being just another ‘slap on the wrist’, for our little ‘Professional Victim’. I bet this guy gets a disability check, and has had whiplash, a dozen times. My bet is, he will show up again, in the news, committing another crime. He knows how to work the system.

  • Guest Reply

    The WPD must have found their missing video camera from their “Hooker Sting Op”…or HSO.

    First off…how did the WPD catch this guy so quickly…and so many others that actually rob a bank ride off on bicycles then sought after?
    Once again…with a long criminal record this guy has…he is out walking the streets???
    There are tons and tons of open land in Wyoming/Montana/Idaho/etc. that our Government could copy and paste prisons onto…and there they would have a long term containment center(s) to house these folks. If there’s a choice of my tax dollars paying to feed these folks behind bars, or have them endanger lives of people on the street, by letting these criminals roam free…for “once”…I guess I would have to say “use my tax dollars Uncle Sam for something useful…for a change”.

  • Guest CommonTater

    The only folks that will whine are the racists….

  • Mac

    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.

  • Guestbr549

    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.

  • non name

    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.

  • The Natural

    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.

  • Frank Splendorio

    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.

  • idiotsramongstus

    …you’re an idiot

  • idiotsramongstus

    …need to give Roy and his accomplice a room in your house if you feel so sorry for him.

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