ONLY ON 3: Man accuses WPD of using excessive force

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Submitted: Thu, 02/20/2014 - 4:19am
Updated: Thu, 02/20/2014 - 8:21pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — How far is too far for law enforcement to go while searching for a suspect? According to Charlotte Burns one moment her son was walking home from work, and the next he was in handcuffs with multiple guns pointed at him.

“I’ve always taught my children that cops are good guys if you need help, but not now-a-days,” said Charlotte Burns.

Benjamin Burns, 19, says he was walking home down Market St. when a Wilmington Police Officer stopped him and asked to see some identification because he fit a description of a criminal they say was armed and dangerous.

“He had a polo shirt on with a collar, and a pair of jeans, and black clean sneakers,” Burns said.

While Burns was talking to the officer four more squad cars pulled up, and officers approached him with their guns drawn to cuff him despite the fact he was cooperative and freely offered his ID.

“If they were scared that he was this Josh guy, they should have had one gun or a taser on him until they figured out, but 12 guns pulled on my son?” Bush said. “I would have been terrified and his hands were up he wasn’t even acting aggressive.”

After police verified that Burns wasn’t the suspect they let the traumatized 19-year-old go with an apology, but his mother says they took the families peace of mind.

“It scared me because now-a-days the cops seem like they have gone a little gun crazy,” said Burns. “My biggest fear was if he would have made one wrong move would they have shot and killed him too?”

A WPD spokeswoman says that she didn’t have immediate information on the incident, but it sounded like common procedure since the suspect they were looking for was believed to be armed and dangerous.


  • Practice what you preach! says:

    How about all the people whom complain about how WPD operates actually get off the couch and police your own neighborhood. Quit complaining and actually do something about it. No one…not yourself nor the police are perfect. If WWAY actually reported the nasty, grimy, and just heart wrenching things the police deal with on a daily bases trying to protect people that hate them maybe their wouldn’t be so much hatred towards them. So…practice what your preaching… yourself.

  • guest6969696969 says:

    Start researching & ask some of these people in THIS Video…..

  • 9743 says:

    His mom said “his hands were up he wasn’t even acting aggressive”….usually in a situation like this WPD will use a K9 on you, this guy is lucky, he didn’t get shot and he didn’t have a K9 turned loose on him so count your blessings lady, your son got off easy!!

  • droppy says:

    Was this guy’s mother actually there to witness this first-hand? Sounds like a creatively-told heresay tale to me …

  • GuestWho says:

    The only reason I don’t buy this story is that WPD didn’t blow him away or at least maim him.

  • Guest, just another says:

    What could possibly be worse for this 19 year old? Having his mommy go to the news to complain for him.
    Holy cow nancy boy! Get rid of the skirt and grow a pair!

    Mom – you need to back off! Not one mention of the emergency that drew such a response, maybe the response was completely appropriate! Get over it and thank those officers for their timely response and for being there! Although your son wasn’t the bad guy – they were in fact looking to protect him by their very actions!

  • Rusty says:

    In my younger days I had run ins with the police of various precincts most of which were being similar to another suspect; I’ve had 4 patrol cars block the road, cop draw his revolver on me as he asked for license which was in my back pocket and it scared him, my arms jacked up when one asked me if I had any weapons and I didn’t remember if there was a pocket knife in my pocket and moved to feel if there was. If you have a clean conscience you shrug it off and carry on with a story to tell your co-workers the next day ;) The cops are doing their JOB trying to protect the general public and it’s better to err on the side of caution than to lose an officer who let his guard down.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I do believe the mother is overreacting. If the fella fit the description of a criminal who is considered armed and dangerous then the officer was right to call for backup and they were all right to protect themselves. It’s not like they fired shots at him.

  • zenobia says:

    If he had been a suicidal Marine, or holding a screwdriver, he’d be dead now.
    Our local police response does one thing and one thing only, but they do it very very well.
    Shoot the innocent.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    “people that make very stupid, unsubstantiated comments”. That would put you at risk.

  • John Difloure says:

    We’ve heard the mother’ story. Was she a witness? What’s the rest of the story?

  • griffin says:

    Sounds like citizens need more protection from the police than they do criminals, these days. I remember one afternoon a while back, I was at a place of business and witnessed a small man who appeared to have had a little too much to drink, was being questioned by a patrol officer. Within a few minutes, there were about 8 officers on the scene. We got a chuckle as we questioned how many cops it took to handle one very small man who was obviously no threat to anyone.

  • Edward Davis says:

    It would seem that our law enforcement community see’s the bad guy around every corner and all of them are armed and dangerous that makes everyone a potential suspect guilty or not these seem more like Gestapo tactics than protect and serve.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …or what you’re talking about. This is a crime ridden area full of drugs, robbery, random shootings and known gang hangouts. This isn’t “gestapo tactics” by any means, it’s called “patrolling and enforcing a high-crime area” that is badly needed to protect innocent citizens from the low-life worms that prey on society. Where do you fit in? Lemme take a guess…

  • annoyinggnant says:

    Lilly,The Wilmington PD has, by your account, kept the streets so “safe” that anyone walking outside in a tourist area is a target. Guess we should warn the tourists, movie producers and others who might like to go outside to stay away. Well away, like Canada.

  • Lilly says:

    Lady get off your high horse and move on. The police were doing their job. You are blowing the story so overboard. You have 5 squad cars on scene according to your story but yet you say 12 guns in your sons face? Those numbers don’t add up.

    Your son was walking in a high crime area Market St, princess place that whole area is crime ally, everyone knows it. They were simply doing their job. When the police feel someone fits the description of a criminal that is armed and dangerous, yes they need to call for back up. Criminals will do whatever they can to fit into society to not go back to jail.

    So get off your high horse you and your son were not traumatized by any means. You are just looking for a story and to get your face and name out there.

    Thank you Wilmington PD for doing your job and keep our street safe.

  • amoran says:

    Interesting find, guest123456789

  • amy henderson says:

    Omg! Seems like wway would have done their ground
    Work. The innocent not so he??

  • Samantha Johnson says:

    I’ve known this guy since I was a baby (literally)
    And I know why he got that charge.. It’s a misdemeanor? Are we really going to say he is a dangerous guy, because TWO years ago when he was SEVENTEEN he went out and did what he (and any other teenager) would think is fun. I am pretty sure all of us have done something illegal, dangerous, etc, BUT he got caught.
    Don’t get your panties in a bunch.
    Seeing people say WWAY do your research is just plain stupid.
    It was two years ago in the past and he seems to have not gotten in any more trouble, so why does it matter??
    Because it doesn’t… That’s why.

  • Guest2020 says:

    One misdemeanor on his record doesn’t make him a big, bad, scary criminal.

  • bill peterson says:

    Mommy…..they were mean to me…..!

  • terry simmons says:

    what criminals don’t wear polos, jeans and nice shoes? Is this really news worthy wway??

  • guesty says:

    Exaggerate much? It went from your son being out with one officer to four cars pulled up and he had 12 guns pointed at him. So you claim 3 out of the 4 cars that pulled up each had 3 officers in them and the 4th was doubled up?

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