WPD officer indicted in use of force investigation

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Submitted: Tue, 06/24/2014 - 3:55am
Updated: Tue, 06/24/2014 - 3:53pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington Police officer has been indicted on two charges related to a use of force investigation involving a teenager.

A New Hanover County grand jury this evening indicted Cpl. James Coley Johnson for simple assault and failure to discharge duties. The charges stem from an incident involving Tyrell Rivers, 16, earlier this year.

“Justice was served on behalf of Tyrell,” said Lytonya Alston, Rivers’s mom.

In court today prosecutors say Johnson put his hands around Rivers’s neck in the back of Johnson’s patrol car. The incident was caught on camera, but the video has not yet been released.

Rivers’s family said they couldn’t have been happier with the grand jury’s decision.

“That’s a step in the right direction,” said Robert Campbell, a family friend and pastor for the Wilmington Ministerial Alliance. “The fact that it’s going to a trial, to me that’s the process at work, and I’m glad that they saw enough there to say that we need to take another look.”

This afternoon Johnson’s attorney Mike McGuinness argued to a judge that Johnson should have the opportunity to testify before the grand jury about what happened, including that he was using police pressure point techniques to subdue Rivers.

Prosecutors argued three fellow WPD officers were set to testify that what they saw in the video was not approved technique. Judge Phyllis Gorham denied Johnson’s motion to testify. A short time later, the grand jury heard the evidence and indicted Johnson.

A judge released Johnson on a $5,000 unsecured bond. His next court date is set for Aug. 11.

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22 Comments on "WPD officer indicted in use of force investigation"

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2015 years 8 months ago

The real problem here isn’t Cpl Coley. The real problem is the DA. This kid, like so many before him, will just slide right out of his issue, right through the revolving door that these mutts are so familiar with. The DA is weak, the magistrates are worse. We suffer because of their ineptitude.

As for the Chief. What does he have to gain by this? Nothing. This is a product of a mole. A mole (or moles) in the department, working to crush the credibility of the chief and the department. With the intention of having him removed to be replaced by their chosen one.
I’m not advocating hiding issues. Transparency is a must. But to have someone in the background, acting to further their own agenda is causing public confidence to drop, to the point that most likely in the very near future, a good officer will be hurt or killed in the line of duty. Because the DA won’t act with conviction, the mole will leak “information”, and this will turn any issue into a witch hunt.

This isn’t police corruption. This is a racial issue. The mole benefits. The DA benefits. Hmmmm….

2015 years 8 months ago

Are so many people in this area blind? Can’t anyone see how the criminals are setting things up to push the police into having to get tough on them so they can scream how they were mistreated. Had they complied from the beginning none of what they call “mistreatment” would have occurred. And as times goes by every police officer in our city is going to be reluctant to use any type of force on any criminal that is acting up thus they get turned loose. And that my blind friends is exactly what these criminals are wanting! And when all the families of these criminals, who have screamed how their sweet son has been mistreated, can’t step out their front door without fear of being assaulted, robbed or even killed who will they want to blame then? The POLICE DEPT. for not protecting them. Then who will they run and cry? Oh yeah, the elected DA.
And by the way I agree with many of the writers in that the DA shouldn’t be a political elected office but a court appointed one perhaps? You can’t have it both ways Mr. DAs can you but then that does seem what is going on.
Something has to give folks as things are totally out of control now in our city because certain people are going to continually cry out they are being mistreated to get their way so they can continue doing their criminal activities without any fear of being arrested.
Where are all the law abiding citizens these days? Surely we that are should stand up and shout just a loud as the loud mouths are doing now in screaming “INJUSTICE!”

2015 years 8 months ago

These mutts…. Really? Glad to see Wilmington is still what I thought it was. Don’t be to upset, the jury will acquit him. Remember its Wilmington .

Barbara Weaver
2015 years 8 months ago

this comment is so on the money!! The criminals control the justice system!! The victims pay a price not the criminals!! I don’t care who or what you are if you commit a crime you deserve to be punished. Family as well as so called civil rights groups boo hoo all over the media for their 15min of fame and get these criminals back on the streets, unless of course it happens to them then they are screaming..”where are the police?”. They are sitting in their cars with their hands tied so call your local TV or Newspaper, or maybe the DA’s office and asked them to protect you…good luck with that!! I can see old fashioned justice right around the corner….

2015 years 8 months ago

Was the video shown to the Grand Jury, or “described”, by the prosecutor. If they didn’t show it, I wonder why ?