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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There are new details about last year's Wilmington police dog attack involving Ofc. Stafford Brister.

The law firm representing Johnnie Lee Williams, the man bitten by the dog after leading police on a chase, sent a letter to Police Chief Ralph Evangelous requesting all public records for a potential civil lawsuit.

Attorneys claim Williams's 4th Amendment rights were violated. They also claim assault and battery.

A grand jury declined to indict Brister on any criminal charges. After an internal review, Brister was returned to patrol duty, but he is not in charge of his dog as WPD seeks a review of its K9 program.

Comment on this Story

  • Lawman

    Wow, This guy surely broke the law, Had he been in Boiling Springs I guess they could of just shot him, Putting the dog in the window was B/S. That was done to hurt him not to arrest him. You don’t lose your rights when you break the law, Nor do they get to punish you before the trial. In court, I think he could win. The officer should be unemployed.

  • Curious

    What law firm ?

  • guesty

    Another criminal looking to get paid. And the city looks guilty since they took Officer Brister’s dog away. Good job ralphie, way to not let facts get in the way.

  • jj

    I hope I get called to sit on that Jury.

  • SurfCityTom

    you speak without understanding. And that shows.

    The City has Liability Insurance which will cover the City’s cost for a defence as well as any judgement awarded by a Court.

    The City’s obligation, once aware of a potential lawsuit is to advise the insurance carrier; become a silent monkey with regards to making any statements; and forwarding any and all documents pertaining to the lawsuit to the insurance company or the law firm hired and paid by the insurance company.

    Therein ends any and all actions which the City can take while this is being litigated.

    Does not matter what the Mayor thinks; does not matter what the Chief might want to do.

    Does not matter what you think.

    The one writing the check, aka insurance company, is the only party allowed to have an opinion. They can even choose to make an out of court, pre-trial settlement without the City’s concurrance or your approval.

    And now, all of the wondering minds, who could not understand why the officer was not terminated, know why he is still on the payroll.

    Termination could be construed as an admission of culpability.

  • Lisa’s Two Cents

    This guy was racing over 80 MPH through red lights. He is a career criminal, and has no respect for the law, or anyone else’s safety.

    The first thing he did, when he was finally stopped, was not put his hands up. It appears he locked the door, to keep the police out. He had the potential to “peel off”, again.

    For good reason, his “lawyer”, apparently didn’t want us to know his name. All K-9 Brister did, was the right, and only thing, he could do.

    If we throw a good officer to the dogs, and even give this guy, and his “lawyer” a penny, we will open the floodgates for every criminal to hinder the police. And race through our streets, without a care in the world.

    And it will tell our cops, “Turn your head the other way, and pray you’re not the next Stafford Brister”.

    As a taxpayer, I demand our leaders, lead. Make this, unnamed “lawyer” , and his criminal “victim”, Mr Johnnie Williams, come forward. And bring your case publicly against Officer Brister, and our Police Department’s actions that night. I am proud of what Officer Brister, and the Police Department, did that night.

    That incident was a lot larger then the selective 2 second video bite, that was only shown. Are we gonna stand behind Law Enforcement? Or are we gonna ‘cow tow’ to every nameless cowardly lawyer, and criminal, who wants to milk the system ?

    I would love to be in the Police Chief, City Manager, or Mayor’s shoes, right now. This is a great opportunity to stand-up, to show, the great leadership. To stand behind our cops, when they are forced to take control, on the street. To prove good leadership.

    If we cave-in to criminal, Johnnie Williams, and his “lawyer”, every cowardly, sue-happy lawyer, and every Al Sharpton-type, will be sharpening their knives. Knowing Wilmington is “easy-pickens”, and their leadership will gladly cave.

  • johnson

    We will stand behind our law enforcement more when they become a little more professional in the sense of not using more force than necessary to control a situation. There are far too many rogue cops out there making their own rules and acting as judge, jury and executioner. An officer is only supposed to use enough force to get a situation under control, no more. Anger on Brister’s part was obviously a motivational factor causing him to do what he did with the dog.

  • You said “The first thing he did, when he was finally stopped, was not put his hands up…” But that’s exactly what we see him do on the video.

    You also said “he locked the door, to keep the police out”. Now I would like you to pause for a moment and tell me WHAT FRIGGIN’ DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE IF THE DOOR IS LOCKED when the window is rolled down far enough for a German Shepherd to climb through.

    There’s NO EXCUSE for what that officer did, and he should have been charged and the case should have gone to trial. The last time I checked, this is not a communist police state. And I thought the South had outgrown its “Bull Connor” police dogs and water hoses days, but apparently it hasn’t. Shameful…

  • Guest of the Week

    This punk should be sued by the city for the man hours and other costs associated with chasing his sorry ass down in the first place.

  • missingnc

    No litigation on this one.It will be settled and he will get paid something and that’s a damn shame…

  • Gramps1945

    A year ago, three thugs went into a Credit Union, and created a situation that was on the fringe of a robbery. Deliberately making sure it fell short. Then created a public disturbance, during the traffic stop, on S College Rd. They were praying the cops would overstep their boundaries. They even mounted a camera, before they staged the incident. Hoping the cops would take the bait.

    I’m sure they all got their slaps on the wrists. And I bet they’re out, right now, getting welfare, and trying to figure out the next scheme.

    The Police Department was absolutely right, that night. Johnny Williams was absolutely wrong. And if the City, or Insurance Company, give up their high ground, and pay this lawyer off, they will set a horrible standard. Stepping into the trap. Sending a green light signal, to these three “Victim-Thugs”, and hundreds more, just like them.

  • PA

    If the insurance company decides to write a check, to Mr. Williams, and his “lawyer”, they better keep their checkbook out. It will show that crime does pay, in Wilmington.

    There are dozens of “Victim-Criminals”, out there, who will gladly endanger the public, to create ugly “use of force”, situations for the police. They will gladly attack, and resist cops, and create high speed chases, hoping for the next pay-out. Hoping to be the next Johnnie Williams.

    The reason Officer Brister wasn’t fired, was because he didn’t do anything wrong. The Police Department stands behind him. And that decision to transfer him, was a minor decision, that will hopefully be reversed.

  • SurfCityTom

    I did not create the environment which allows out of court settlements.

    It’s a matter of numbers. If the Insurance Company, which funds the settlement and pays the law firm to defend the City, determines it is less costly to cut a deal, it will.

    That’s business.

    The Insurance Company also has to remember its contractual obligations, under the policy, requiring a defense of the city.

    That’s the way it is. Nothing you can say will change it.

    On another note, put as much effort into voting and returning Woody White and Brian Berger to private life out of the public arena as you put into penning your opinion.

  • Guest2020

    I suppose you would have rather the suspect pull another stunt and attempt to hit more officers with his car? This suspect had already proven that he couldn’t be trusted to surrender without incident. He had already pretended to surrender then tried to hit the officers with his car. I think the officer did the right thing in sending in the K-9 in order to keep the human officers from getting hurt.

  • Zenobia

    Let me see if I understand how this works again…when a schizophrenic kid needs to go to the hospital, they shoot him. When a suicidal marine veteran needs help, they shoot them-but when a guy goes speeding through town and tries to run over people, they give him a puppy?

  • Portcity

    SAD THING IS IT IS CHEAPER FOR STATE OR CITY TO PAY THIS GUY OFF THAN GO TO COURT ON THIS SO THIS “POS” will probably get paid a small amount.It’s clear the ones that are supporting the criminal in this are either criminals, racist african-americans, or just ignorant people. The force used in this situation is no where near the damage that was caused by this guy racing thru neighborhoods and city streets, while running red lights and trying to run over officers. The guy did not just pull over and put his hands up. He was stopped when police blocked him off. He did not unlock his door and surrender. He actually locked his door when he was stopped so how is that surrnedering? Would you be saying the same if this guy had ran over and killed a family member. NO you wouldn’t. He is lucky he wasn’t shot and killed. It only takes 2 seconds to pull a gun or put the car in drive and injure or kill one of the officers. The WPD and sheriffs dept. did good on this one. SAD THING IS IT IS CHEAPER FOR STATE OR CITY TO PAY THIS GUY OFF THAN GO TO COURT ON THIS SO THIS “POS” will probably get paid a small amount.

  • NotYour TypicalNegro

    You said the guy “did not pull over and surrender”. But we see him on tape surrendering with his hands up.

    You said he “didn’t unlock his door and surrender”. Again, on the tape we see the WINDOW ROLLED ALL THE WAY DOWN and a police dog climbing through making the status of the door lock IRRELEVANT.

    There is NO EXCUSE for what this officer did. As a law-abiding, tax paying citizen, who put his life on the line for this country, I DO NOT want to pay police officers to BREAK THE LAW. Now you talk about what if he killed somebody. Then he would have been tried and convicted and that would have been good.

    But what if the police dog killed the driver? You’re saying a police officer should walk away from that? You’re SICK.

    What that officer did was completely an abuse of force, and was not necessary to subdue or effect an arrest. PERIOD. How is it you don’t see that?

  • Heimie Schmelter

    …you are STUPID enough to run from law enforcement! Sometimes criminals are killed for pulling ridiculous stunts like this, black and white one’s too. That’s it in a nutshell for simple minded individuals like yourself! Your inaccurate argument doesn’t have a hint of a leg to stand on and further reinforces the “Ferguson Ignorance” syndrome that so many millions have witnessed on the media! Stand up for what’s right, stand against what’s wrong, but don’t try to justify criminal behavior and place the blame on white police because you happen to be black.

  • Heimie Schmelter

    I’m all for human rights. I’m all for standing up for what’s right and against what’s wrong, but when peeps like you attempt to justify criminal behavior and at the same time demean law enforcement, I just shake my head in disgust and disappointment.

    ANYONE that has the propensity to run through a DUI checkpoint, speed through town at over 80 mph, blowing through red lights and stop signs while being pursued by the police in a high-speed chase deserves everything they get when apprehended. This idiot included. Don’t forget that he was already a convicted “HABITUAL FELON” and had outstanding warrants on his head for MURDER. You seem to believe he’s just “a good ol’ guy that was being picked on by those mean ol’ police occifers because he was black”. HORSE-FREEKIN’ HOOOEY is the appropriate response to your ill-thought, racism inciting statements!

    Back up, wake up and get a tiny bit of common sense about yourself! He was apprehended because he was a convicted criminal committing more crime and had nothing to do with being black! He put the lives of the general public and police officers at great risk. When you peeps deny the facts, the truth and fail to understand exactly why criminals like this wind up where they are, you lose your entire credibility. And remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! You aren’t doing you bothers and sisters any good!


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