DA: No officers charged in Hewett jail death

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Submitted: Sat, 08/02/2014 - 3:27am
Updated: Wed, 06/10/2015 - 11:24am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After a full review of security video and a SBI investigation, New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David has decided not to charge any officers in the jailhouse death of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ron Hewett.

In a news conference this morning, David and New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon released information about Hewett’s death, including video of the moments leading up to his death.

“The only person who committed any crime, was Ronald Hewett,” David said of the incident inside the jail July 12.

Investigators say Hewett began refusing meals on July 11 before refusing to see the jail’s mental health staff July 12. The incident that preceded his death began as Hewett was heading to a visit with his mother and girlfriend.

“I want the community to know, like I know, how professional and well-trained your sheriff’s office is,” McMahon said.

After falling under public scrutiny over Hewett’s death, McMahon decided to release the security video from the incident

“It’s important that we maintain the trust and the confidence and transparency,” McMahon said.

Security video shows Hewett entering the jail’s dayroom July 12 wearing nothing but his boxers.

“The deputies attempt by intercom to have him go back in and go do his visit,” McMahon said while showing reporters the video.

Hewett Refused. A deputy approached. That’s when Hewett became combative and the deputy tased him, but Hewett immediately pulled out the prongs and went after the deputy again.

When backup arrived, Hewett attacked again. After tasing Hewett a second time, guards were able to control him, but the former lawman continued being uncooperative.

“You know it takes real talent to kill a man with a Taser,” Hewett told the guards. “Y’all don’t have the ba**s to step up to a man.”

Moments later Hewett spoke out to a larger audience, his fellow inmates, as he pushed back against the officers.

“I didn’t go down like a coward, boys,” Hewett said. “Y’all got a fight.”

Jail staff placed Hewett in his cell on suicide watch, which meant checking on him every five minutes. During the second check, which happened two minutes after the first check, a deputy noticed he was not moving. A supervisor decided several deputies would enter the cell for a welfare check in case Hewett was “playing possum.” That visit happened three minutes after the second check, and officers noted Hewett looked blue. A nurse entered less than a minute later responding to a call for medical attention. She and deputies began CPR as EMS was called and arrived in about 15 minutes. Life-saving efforts performed for about 30 minutes, including the use of a defibrillator, failed.

Official results from Hewett’s autopsy won’t be available for weeks, but the medical examiner has ruled Hewett died of a heart condition made worse by chronic alcohol use and the stress of what happened and not the actual tasing.

“Sudden cardiac death due to Taser deployment would be immediate and not delayed by a number of minutes as happened in this case,” David read from a letter from the doctor who performed the autopsy.

David said there were two things to consider in this case: Use of force and care of a person while they’re in custody.

“The deputy that deployed the Taser and those who provided immediate backup acted consistent with well-established precedent to protect themselves and others,” David said.

The DA said he spoke to Hewett’s family and showed them the video earlier this week. He said they completely understand his decision.

Hewett was in federal custody in the jail awaiting a detention hearing after ATF agents arrested him after finding guns in his home. Hewett was not allowed to have a gun as a felon.

The US Marshal Service says they will continue to house inmates in the New Hanover County Jail.

NOTE: The small pool of blood on the floor next to Hewett in the photo above is from his hand where one of the Taser prongs hit, investigators say.


  • PublicAvenger says:

    It’s sad. But the public had to see it. To clear up questions. Each day, six or seven new stories, headline over it. In a few days, it will be forgotten , and buried on page six.

    But as a member of Law Enforcement. I am glad it was shown.

  • Christy Judah says:

    There comes a time when human life and compassion should be top priority to all. It is absolutely disgusting that the chief law enforcement and other local officials have chosen to release these videos and photographs of a man literally taking his last breathe of life. Where is the compassion for the family and the literally thousands of friends and co-workers? Where is the moral turpitude of the individuals that chose to print or show these videos? What has happened to mankind that this is shown to the world? Would they have been shown if this was the DA’s son or nephew or brother? When the reputation of a department trumps what is best for thousands of people who are deeply in grief already, it is a sad day which will never be forgotten. It turns my stomach personally.

    I am angered and disgusted by the media treatment of this entire event and death. May God Bless and hold all those who are so deeply affected by these images and may they be allowed to grieve and move through their healing process after losing a friend, father, husband, co-worker, uncle, nephew, etc. Through tears we condemn not the LEO but the media for stooping to the lowest of the low. You have truly demonstrated a lack of scruples or integrity as have the LEO which released all this information.

  • SUE says:


  • new hanover county citizen says:

    Tomfree, did you watch the entire news briefing by Ben David and Sheriff McMahon? If not, please do so. The parts of the video shown are parts released by the news media outlet. There are missing parts edited to protect the family of Ronald Hewett, edited out by the news outlets. There was a court order requiring the Sheriff to release the video’s in their entirety to the news outlet. Sheriff McMahon did just that, asking the news outlets to please be respectful of the Hewett family. So, no, the entire video isn’t being shown to the public for just that reason. Showing Ronald at his worse does nothing but cause more heartache to his family. I think the news outlets would have shown any misconduct that would have been on the video by any officer, if there had been any such behavior. I find it interesting that some people are doing to our officers what they feel was done to Ronald….please stop accusing them of things that they didn’t do. Our officers acted professionally and did what they could to help him.

  • Jeris Hewett says:

    Mr. Walters…Your insinsitive and crass comments serve no purpose but to stroke your feeble ego. Shut up.

  • Guest2020 says:

    There was a lot of controversy surrounding this death. Those who chose to put Hewett on a pedestal are the ones who cried foul regarding his death. They are the ones who made it necessary for the media to release the tapes so that they could see that the workers at the jail were not at fault. Of course, there are those who will believe what they want to regardless of the truth being put before their eyes, but there is nothing that can be done about that.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Sometimes, when people identify themselves on the internet, those with different opinions do nasty things. I personally have had someone spread my address around and my husband’s work information around and encouraged people to make trouble for us. So, forgive me for staying anonymous to protect my family.

  • Charles Walters says:

    I wonder how many times you have been locked up in the New Hanover County Jail? How many of your family have been guests of the county? You sound like the rest of these nut jobs who believe the criminals are the good guys, and the cops are the bad ones. Granted you do have some bad cops, but the vast majority do their jobs against almost impossible odds. Your writing is an example of stupidity that is beyond belief, and it is a wonder you can even function on a day to day basis. You are just sad and living in dream world.

  • lowco says:

    It’s unfortunate that this happened at all, but these officials were under a court order to release the video.

  • Factster says:

    Did you even bother to watch the video or read the accompanying article? If you had, you would have seen/heard/read that he was tased and then ripped the prongs out. That’s where the blood came from.

    P.S. What would you “sew”? A button on a shirt? A patch on a sleeve? And what exactly does sewing have to do with any of this, Ms. Seamstress? Also, you asked what this world is coming “too”. “Too” means also, again, etc. So technically, you asked “What is this world coming also????” Also, look up the word “along”. It does not mean what you obviously thought it meant.


  • John A. Difloure says:

    Normally individuals who believe in what they state are not afraid to identify themselves. It’s easy to say anything if an alias is used but believability suffers.

  • lori says:

    need to show from the start instead of a picture of what happened.where did the blood come from that was beside hewett.it will happened to somebody else that is all.his family needs to sue for wronfully death.if they let them by with this it will happened again anyway regardless.and for all of yall out there this could be some of yalls family.people on here are saying alchool and drug abuse that might be but that did not contrubite to blood on ground and teases twice.it was stated that a officer hit him with a closed fist that is why it is wrongful death. hewett family should collect when goldman family collect for wrongful death.that i have been around many drunks and havent seen withdrawls it is just a cover up. they need to take the sheriff out on a rail. during voting time people say needchange why dont nhc elect new people if yall want new change.we trust our elected officals to do what is right for the people.if you let this go ed macchon is no different than ronald hewett obustracting justice. hahaha ed machhon will never be like ronald hewett ed machon will go down in history for killing ronald hewett.even ed machomn deputies need to be handled.we all know where the blood came from he was beaten. people need to look at the das they are not doing there jobs. voting time is coming need to look at the county officals.and city officals and make a change. for instiant look at brain burger look what he has cost the people. wilmington and nhc need alot of change

  • Tim Chapman says:

    Ron made many mistakes over the last three years in office.
    He promoted some pretty shady folks. That’s not even in question. Ron also started suffering from mental illness those last three years and insomnia. He would take sleeping pills and mix alcohol with it and turn into a lunatic.
    After conviction and prison a lot of his former subordinates had a field day on him.
    He really wasn’t a mean guy at all. He was a sick man that made bad choices that a lot of former and current sheriffs do and get away with. Ron’s biggest mistake was he would make himself an easy target due to his mental illness. And the predators he promoted pounced! If any of you think any sheriff that has been in office over 8 years isn’t a little power hungry or God syndrome or just a little corrupt. Your fooling yourself!

    The deputies involved didn’t break the law, but they didn’t go by the policy for escorting inmates.
    They should’ve checked to see if Ronald was appropriate for visitation. But even more than that Officer safety is paramount! Never, never open a cell door without checking to see if inmate is safe and appropriate for movement!
    If that was done per policy in any jail in the nation. This wouldn’t have happened.
    It just sounds like untrained or burned out deputies made a mistake. I suggest NHSO gets it’s folks trained on Inmate Movement Procedures.

  • gueast6969696969 says:

    Is what Killed Ole RH.. Yu can “see-it” in His “Swagger”..A “piss-ant” Rookie Officer comes along, giving commands, which Ronnie don’t take akin to…
    Rookie Officer, reacts quickly, instead of gettin Ron to “calm down”, decides, insteads to “ignite” the situation,,,,
    Ronnie, being round this game once before, reached His breaking point..
    Coupled with haveing DT’s, & Xanax withdraw,,, Folk’s,,,, He just “snapped”..
    BTW, anyone catch the Video @ 1:15 mark? Looks like Blood, (for sure), and about 4 or 5 teeth on the floor with the blood… (Wonder what happened there?), I have a acreen cap…

  • John Q. Public says:

    Aren’t you special. Bless your heart.

  • Rest in peace says:

    I am saddened that we as humans have lost all compassion. A man is dead…D E A D … His final moments of life were not sitting around with family at his side. It’s obvious he was at least emotionally distressed. When does a person get to have some privacy? Why do all the viewers need to see the video that’s attached to this article? Let the man have some dignity! As a resident of Brunswick County, I would like to apologize to Mr. Hewett’s family. It really is not fair that even in death he can’t have peace. I am sorry that so many people want ” the show” and every little detail of what happened. I am sorry that people forget there is still a “living” family that is suffering. I just want you to know that not everyone feels his death is some huge media event to pry. There are some of us who think your rights as a family should come first! Mr. Hewett made a choice once in regards to me and my children that I felt was wrong while he was in office, but still he deserved better than this! Hold no grudges. God bless you, and again my sincere apologizes.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    That video clearly shows the professional way the custody officers handled the high stress situation. Ronald Hewett was a good man. And a good Sheriff. He made mistakes. And he paid a high price for them.

    That incident reflects a sad chapter, the end of a good man’s life. Years of heavy drinking , extreme hurt, and overeating, will destroy a man’s heart.

    I feel sorry for Mr. Hewett, and his family. I also feel sorry for the deputies. Who went through so much stress. They did a excellent job. It was clearly, not their fault. I hope the Sheriff tells each one, personally. New Hanover County has a Sheriff’s Department, and District Attorney, we should be very proud of.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Everyone knows me, as the Public Avenger.

  • pookie says:

    He should have never been in NH County jail anyway, he was a former Sheriff. I think it is sad, he was just a troubled man.

  • gogo says:

    Everyone gets to see his last moments, running around in his underoos with his moobs floppin. This is the life of a drunkard. His fault.

  • Guest 25 says:

    I do not know what kind of medications this man was on however, I hope this man was not snatched off of his medication. It appears to me, this man may have been in withdrawals which can alter thinking and mood. Hope the jail was managing this properly.

  • boldizar says:

    Blood came from his hand. On one video I saw you can clearly see his hand is bleeding and that spot is right where his hand was. Who knows what he punched.

  • Vog46 says:

    I met the man on several occasions and found him to be an interesting character. His so called “crime”, trial, and sentencing were not a side show, but a sad testament to “the man” in Brunswick county.
    Lately he was a different person.
    He was bloated, angry and violent.
    He WAS NOT in leg irons.
    He WAS NOT abused in any way shape or form.

    For Hewett supporters this video proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was NO CONSPIRACY, and NO cover up.
    Ron was a troubled person – and of late a drunken addict. Hewett supporters need to come to grips with the fact that the pedestal they put him on no longer exists.
    It a bitter pill to swallow, I’m sure


  • guest111 says:

    I never met Ron but it breaks my heart to see a man who was, at one time, a good law enforcement officer have is life end in such a pitiful way with no dignity at all. I do hope he rests in peace.

  • Doris says:

    I have looked at this video several times today and it makes me sad and mad each time I see it. Something had made Ronald Hewett upset. We don’t see that at the beginning of one video I saw. He could have been going through withdrawal or he could have thought about how he was treated during his imprisonment. Whatever happened made him mad. What I don’t like is how he was handcuffed and carried and put on his stomach. If he had a bad heart the pressure from his weight being carried like he was and handcuffed behind his back could not have helped the situation. I have read these posts and there are some heartless people in this world. One day you might find yourself in the same situation. Ronald Hewett was a good law enforcement officer. I would imagine the 14 years he served he saw some mighty bad sights and saw things that wore him down. The mentality of all is enough to make a person be stressed to the max. My uncle was Sheriff in Columbus and he had a heart attack and died while in office. We will never know what Ronald Hewett thought and how he felt. He was a human being and he should not have been treated as badly as he was. Those deputies can feel like they are not going to be held accountable, but when each one lays their head on the pillow at night, I am sure they are having uncomfortable thoughts. God knows all and HE will take care of the situation. Ronald Hewett can’t talk anymore but he has friends that will defend him. He did not deserve this type of treatment. I will never feel the same towards any of the NHC law enforcement officials again and definitely not towards Ben David. Their day of reckoning will come because the Lord will set the record straight one day. July 12, 2014 will be remembered by many people. Ronald Hewett’s family should not be grieving today.

  • Brenda Albright says:

    I wonder why the question “Was Sheriff Hewett receiving medical care for his addiction or was he going cold turkey off alcohol and medications” was not asked. Does anyone see that information on any news media? That may of had relation to why he was found just standing on his bed for hours. Not a normal action.

  • Daniel Seamans says:

    Hi folks. For those new to commenting on the website…I just want to reiterate that use of profanity will prevent comments from being approved.
    This is an emotional subject, I totally understand, but profanity is prohibited.
    Thank you.
    -Daniel(one of the moderators)

  • Patricia Adams says:

    Absolutely! Have not heard anything about that. I am not defending anything Ron did, just saying lots of things not addressed.

  • cindy says:

    your right! blood on the ground, teeth. they should show ALL of the video. he died because of a Rookie getting too excited. bet he feels all robo cop now doesnt he? killed a good guy. Dont believe everything you see here. A LOT IS CROPPED OUT~

  • grace says:

    What is this world coming too???? Wway I have watched you daily for along time news or not this is disrespect to Mr. Ron and his family…. I don’t care what he did or didn’t do this is a disgrace. My Daddy is in jail and I can promise u if this had been him I would sew!!!! I know its news but why does this make the web page …. to humiliate….. TAKE THIS DOWN!!!! And why is there blood on the ground???? We don’t see the whole video…. So this is probably a bunch of BS….cut and paste…. RIP Mr. Ron….. what goes around comes around… God help America!!!!!

  • Charles Walters says:

    Now all those who keep defending Hollywood Hewett should just shut up. He threw the first punch, he refused to comply with orders, he repeatedly challenged the authority of the jailers, and he got the same treatment any other prisoner would have gotten. It’s his own fault he died, and no one elses. The statement made was correct, Ron Hewett was the only one who commited a crime. Sometimes when you commit a crime you die. These deputies did nothing wrong. There was no underlying plan for New Hanover County to get rid of Ron Hewett as some of you idiots have stated on this forum. Get over it the crooked cop is dead, and that is the end of the story.

  • guesty says:

    Committing criminal acts are not mistakes, they are active choices he made. A mistake is not taking your umbrella when you leave in the morning and get caught in rain at lunch.

  • Tomfree says:

    Look at this tape carefully Folks. Do you think we,re getting the whole UNABRIDGED tape? NOWAY! This man was supposedly going to see his Mother and Girlfriend! And all of a sudden he is walking around the dayroom in his underwear, all you see is him getting tased and fighting the Deputies… What is going on here????

    And another thing.. Why did it take nearly three (3) weeks to the day for this tape to be released??? WHY??? Could it be that (GASP) the tape has been altered?????

    Call in the FBI, let them investigate, the SBI of North Carolina is a joke, always has been. Letting the SBI investigate is like letting the Fox guarding the Hen House.

  • new hanover county citizen says:

    I keep reading about the blood on the floor seen in one of the pictures. If anyone viewed ALL of the press meeting with Ben David and Sheriff McMahan, it tells you where the blood came from. When he was tazed, one of the prongs hit Ronald in his hand the other in his chest. This was explained in the news release. Why do people make accusations without listening to the whole story? As for his not receiving treatment for any meds he was taking, I wonder if Ronald told anyone he was taking any medication. If he had been taking something illegal, he may not have disclosed that to law enforcement when he got to the jail. He also refused to see medical professionals the day before. The deputies treated Ronald with professionalism and respect. For all who are making unfounded accusations about the New Hanover County officers involved, just remember they too have a family and are doing their best to serve and protect our community. They are just as dedicated to keeping us safe as Ronald USED to before he went astray.

  • Myrton Feldman says:

    He died as he lived, sticking his finger up to The Man! Fight the power!

  • Wag says:

    Assuming the Benstigator is not covering for his federal dialing happy fingers twin brother, the Jonstigator of Brunsick County; that those 2 district attorneys had not done anything that stirred the Feds beehive at Ron’s home. then all is very reasonable, the New Hanover jail acted as any law enforcement would have to do to subdue a hefty fighter who was agitated. He had by then seen news reports that he was being set up again for Federal charges that carried a 10 year sentence, which he had already vowed to trusted friends not to be taken alive to Federal prison again.

  • craig says:

    This man did not look anything like he presented 15 years ago. My prayer is that addicts (drug and alcohol) will see what that filth with do to you if you let it. If you are an addict please get help. There is an end and there is a much better way. I will pray for you. Addiction is no way to live.

  • Jeris hewett says:

    Dumb comment

  • CoastalJade says:

    I am sick of the finger pointing. The only one responsible for this has passed away. Chronic drinker and obvious weight gain adding to his inability to follow the staff’s directives.
    How the mighty fall….

  • Jeris Hewett says:

    To all who knew and didn’t know him… He wasn’t perfect but does not deserve some of the remarks from idiots that have been posted. The video is a sad testimonial of a very disturbed human pushed to the limit. I make no defense of the behavior in this incident but would offer that befoe you post another hatefull comment,look inside at yourself.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Click on the link above to read the DA’s report. It clarifies that point and gives a timeline to the events that happened that day.

  • Catherine Jackson says:

    When Hewett appeared in boxers and refused to dress, instead of approaching Hewett, the deputy should have shut the door to the cell and left him alone!!!!!! There is no rule that states a prisoner HAS to go to his visitation!

  • Hans Solo says:

    The article clearly states Hewett was in the dayroom wearing his boxers. The dayroom is not a cell.

  • Lisa's Two Cents says:

    If you really “liked” them, you would not be making baseless, cowardly, attacks against them. Why are you trying to sabotage them ?Especially in the light of such a tragedy. And if you know something the SBI doesn’t. Be man enough to stand up and say it. I’ll mark your words but I’ll mark them as “JASON”. We don’t need a slick, double-talking, cold blooded snake.

  • Mitch says:

    No, I’m not Jason (candidate for NHC Sheriff).
    For the record, I like Ben David and the current Sheriff — I support them. Bottom Line = Hewett’s family will get a settlement.
    It’s the cost of doing business — this stuff just happens.
    Ben David’s awesome, but there will still be a settlement. Mark my words.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    IMAGINE- A baseless sabotage attempt. Against the Sheriff, his deputies, and the New Hanover Taxpayers. By a slick, clever, lawyer. In an attempt to make a political gain.

  • Heather says:

    If you’re gonna make such vicious attacks. At least be man enough to put your name on them.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    “Mitch”. Something tells me. You, and all your fancy talk, will disappear in November.

  • Mitch says:

    Here are the reasons the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Dept. may be sued over Hewett’s death in custody:

    (1) Gross Negligence in failing to treat Hewett for severe mental illness during the first 24 hours after he refused food and acted erratically — an argument can be made that Hewitt should have been involuntary comitted to a mental health instition rather than jail.

    (2) Gross Negligence during the altercation, in particular the second tazer struck near Hewett’s heart — a violation of the tazer’s deployment instructions / jail protocol that did in this cause heart damage leading to death — hence the “homicide” finding in the coroner’s report. Furthermore, it may be argued that pepper spray would have been a better choice than a tazer — imagine an expert witness physician (for example) ridiculing the choice of the second tazer and describing the effects of the current through the heart muscle — it will move a jury to tears along with Hewlitt’s orphaned children sitting in plain sight.

    (3) Willful misconduct by deputies holding Hewett in a face-down position for several minutes in which his air passage was constricted. Further, whereas it may appear than Hewitt can’t stand up since he is “uncooperative,” a clever atty will spin this part of the video as evidence that Hewitt was already severely medically incapacitated after the second taze.

    (4) Gross Negligence by failing to provide prompt medical attention after it became clear he was severely injured; no vital signs were checked until he became “blue,” and paramedics took too long to arrive when there was likely to be other first-aid trained personnel in the premises that did not provide help.

    I expect Hewitt’s family will be a multi-million settlement — and they deserve it.

  • Rusty says:

    One of the many things wrong with America now. Just because someone dies or is hurt does NOT mean others should get large settlements.

  • Charles Walters says:

    You are an idiot. Ron Hewett was the one who attacked first, and he got what he deserved. Medical personal worked on him for 30 mins trying to revive him. As for being incapacitated, he pull the tazer barbs out and attacked again. There is no attorney that will win a case against New Hanover County, and they sure as he!! won’t settle because they did nothing wrong.

  • Vog46 says:

    “Gross Negligence in failing to treat Hewett for severe mental illness during the first 24 hours after he refused food and acted erratically”
    No I disagree – only a Judge can order such a thing and Hewett had only been acting erratically since the day before. He refused treatment and refused food. Sheriffs officers are not psychologists nor are they expected to be.

    “Gross Negligence during the altercation, in particular the second tazer struck near Hewett’s heart — a violation of the tazer’s deployment instructions.”
    Again,, I disagree – Hewett was moving and therefore this absolves the Sheriffs from not hitting him where they intended to.

    “Willful misconduct by deputies holding Hewett in a face-down position for several minutes in which his air passage was constricted”
    How could they tell? If it was constricted he would have immediately passed out from lack of air. His head was turned to the side in one photo. This is an awfully shaky claim.

    ” Gross Negligence by failing to provide prompt medical attention after it became clear he was severely injured; no vital signs were checked until he became “blue,”
    CPR within 3 minutes? By a Nurse? I should be so lucky to get that type of response here in the city by Paramedics.

    Playing armchair lawyer is great fun but in this case does nothing to help the Hewetts.
    Face it – Ron was a drunken addict. He was also a trained LEO, meaning he had the knowledge to combat being shackled, or restrained. He was also a big man. He took the first set of taser cables out – and after the second set he yelled at his prison mates “ya gotta fight”. It is not unusual for any addict to go through the DTs in jail and we NEVER hear about it – so should Ron get special treatment?
    Sorry but at this point Ron is an average citizen and his behavior warranted the actions of the guards.


  • Gramps1945 says:

    “Mitch”, and I believe you real name, is “Jason”. Next time you make such an baseless, unfounded, attack. Please put your real, full, name behind it.

    You have attacked our Sheriff, his deputies, and New Hanover County. Any slick, anonymous, coward, can throw mud. Or fire a shot in the dark.

    I can’t wait for November. Sheriff McMahon will win again. He stands behind his words, and actions. And we won’t have to put up with anymore of your slick, lawyer-jargon, mud-slinging, tricks.

  • Guest2020 says:

    (1) Hewett refused to see a mental health professional after he started refusing food.

    (2) The “homicide” in the coroner’s report is due to the fact that the altercation itself placed stress on his already damaged heart. If you will re-read the coroner’s letter you will find that he specifically says that the position Hewett was held in did not lead to his death. He also says that the taser did not lead to his death. It was the stress of the situation that led to his death. Since another human being was involved, then the manner of death is considered a “homicide”. A death from self-defense is also classified as a “homicide”. That doesn’t mean that the other person did anything wrong. If you will read the DA’s report, you will find case history cited as to the legal and proper use of a taser in this kind of situation.

    (3) Again, the coroner stated specifically that the position that they held him in did not cause his death.

    (4) The DA’s report indicates that a nurse was on the scene right after the altercation. She could not take his vital signs because he was still being aggressive. You will also find that the nurse was called as soon as they discovered that Ron Hewett’s face was blue and arrived at the cell in less than a minute and the nurse and deputies began giving CPR then. They did not wait for the paramedics to arrive before trying life-saving measures.

  • Guesteasy says:

    Ever heard of contributory negligence? An example of contributory negligence is where a plaintiff actively disregards warnings or fails to take reasonable steps for his or her safety, then assumes a certain level of risk in a given activity. Sounds like Ron Hewett is guilty of that.

  • WannabeX says:

    I’m not taking sides, but as soon as I saw this I could see that Ron Hewett was dying while he was being shackled and and put into cell ..he was not moving…look at the video..OMG !!! Then they put him in cell and he should have been taken to medical..where was the medical staff they say was there? We saw no medical staff checking his vitals after the incident…They put him in his condition, just tased numerous times,bleeding in a cell and left him to die… This man died needlessly and alone and no matter his crime ,,no one deserves to die this way. What about the suicide call ? They say he was in same position and turning blue..I think the suicide call was to cover up their lack of making sure this inmate was okay…something is wrong with this picture and McMahon will make sure it’s covered up.as he has covered up other things in his Dept….Election is near… Sad…..the Hewett family should sue for wrongful death,,,there’s more to this that we will never see on video…

  • Guest2020 says:

    Go to the link provided and read the DA’s report. It shows the timeline of events and when the nurse was called in and what happened. I can’t explain the mindset of the call to 911 being about a suicide, but from the information the DA released in conjunction with the video being released, there is nothing that is being covered up. The cameras were rolling from the time the altercation started until they discontinued CPR.

  • Rusty says:

    Thank you.. were I to be incarcerated I might go through DTs. If something like this happened to me I’d hope my wife/family would just let it rest as that was my choice. This still falls under the category of “Fail to comply with an officer” = Your fault what happens next.

  • zenobia says:

    Considering that multiple juries throughout the US have already found that failure to treat the DTs is grounds for huge multimillion dollar payouts to the family, so I expect we will see lots of people pushing to say that “failure to comply with an officer” even if the inmate is in a potentially completely deranged state brought on by a medical condition which it was the State’s responsibility to treat since he was in their care is a choice Hewett made-and most of them will be Leos. If he was in withdrawal it was not a choice and I really hope his family gets a good lawyer, and I hope no one else has to die this way in future because there is apparently no protocol in place to deal with this common life threatening condition in our prison system:

    Drunks should not be condemned to death just because they have been arrested. As soon as he refused food that should’ve been a warning sign

    “Officers need to be aware of symptoms of withdrawal that indicate a need for medical intervention. The three primary signs of early alcohol withdrawal are pacing, sleeplessness, and elevated heart rate (140+). Additionally, individuals withdrawing from alcohol typically do not have an appetite/frequently refuse food, tremble, and perspire profusely”

  • suspicious 1 says:

    Well, Bob, all the pictures I have ever seen of jails, there were bars. Even the statement was made in the write-up “when his cell was opened”. Sounds like you might be the dumb $@# here.

  • Barry says:

    This particular jail does not have bars, it has doors with a window. I toured this one when it was built. Never saw a set of bars anywhere. All doors.

    Hewett was probably withdrawing from his alcohol-drug abuse, went into a funk and just lost it. That or finished him self off by suicide by cop. He may have felt something coming on and knew the exertion from a tussle could finish him or at least get him to the hospital.

    We will never know.

  • zenobia says:

    Was he receiving any treatment for any alcohol and benzo with drawl he might be experiencing, if not, was his agitation due to the DTs? If so, how do they plan to deal with prisoners going through withdrawal in future? Its not like he is the only fat alcoholic with heart disease they will ever have to deal with-if tasers kill everyone with heart disease, why are we using them?

  • true blue says:

    I didn’t call anyone a dumba$$. No. I’m not familiar with the modern jail or the pre-modern jail…thank God. I watched the entire online telecast of the video conference and I concluded the deputies acted professionally…at the time. The question remains what triggered the behavior that Sheriff Hewett displayed. Did he receive a medical evaluation when he showed signs of distress prior to the incident Saturday. And I know the answer. He didn’t. He wasn’t allowed to take medicine prescribed for anxiety, nor was he given anything to lower his stress levels. If a different procedure had been followed when moving him would this incident have occurred? What happened between him and the 1st deputy off camera? Lastly, is it typical to be tasered in the heart? Twice? Those will be questions his family’s attorneys can address and I hope a jury gets to decide. You, Bob. may get to sit on that jury but I doubt it. I imagine you lost that right a long time ago.

  • anonymous says:

    The jail shouldn’t be responsible for helping him with DT’s. People fight and overcome DT’s everyday on their own. It said he was refusing mental help, which was his right to do. Whatever happened, it is done. Cops may not have followed procedure 100%, but Hewett wasn’t helping the situation either. Get over it people. He was in the wrong, he is not a saint, he is not an angel….he was a normal human who made mistakes just like the rest of us do. His just cost him his life.

  • zenobia says:

    The DTs are a potentially fatal form of alcohol withdrawal which are a serious medical emergency, not a personal problem you can “work through on your own”. If he was refusing medication for alcohol withdrawal for them he should’ve been involuntarily committed and forcibly medicated.
    It sounds like most of the county is not aware of the severity of alcohol withdrawal and the importance of prompt treatment.

  • zenobia says:


    “The commission said last year that Allen J. “A.J.” Longsoldier Jr. suffered from the counties’ discriminatory indifference to his alcoholism (but not, as his estate had claimed, discrimination based on his being Native American) when they failed to provide medications as prescribed to stave off the effects of delirium tremens. In March, a hearing officer in the Montana Department of Labor and Industry said the counties were liable for $300,000 for Longsoldier’s emotional distress during a portion of the time in jail before he died”

    If Hewett was going through untreated alcohol withdraw then I hope his family gets all this and more.

  • Streetsweeper says:

    seems everything that happened was due to hewitts actions. he knew what would happen and still chose to act that way. For people saying he needed to be committed you are a moron he spoke with medical staff when he arrived to the facilty as every inmate does, its also not uncommon for new inmated to refuse food and act aggressive .How about get a clue and stick to your job making french fries.

  • no foolin says:

    … to be sure no one inside the courthouse started this firestorm to get a county lawsuit started during the election. People in the Brunswick courthouse knew Ron Hewett had always said he would commit suicide in custody if he was ever set up again for Federal charges. Who pushed the button, made the phone call to ATF during the election?

  • Mitch says:

    Sir, again I expect this case to result in civil action that I predict will be settled out-of-court — it is too risky for the defense to get into trial with all the emotions, cross examinations, etc.

    Imagine several retired LEOs from Atlanta and NYC giving expert testimony regarding proper use of tazers in this situation — I don’t imagine they’ll give an A+ report card to New Hanover County detention staff.

    Imagine several medical doctors from Johns Hopkins and Duke giving expert testimony regarding the effects of a 2nd tazer to the heart — I don’t imagine they’ll give an A+ report card to New Hanover County detention staff.

    Imagine Hewett’s children sitting in the front row of such a trail – weeping.

    Point is: Hewett’s family will get a settlement, question is how much? I would predict loss of income plus punitive would equal $500,000+.

  • enufalready says:

    Ron did. He wasn’t set up; he committed the crime. Like most people, Ron Hewitt was a mix of both the positive and the negative. Unfortunately, in his latter years, it was more negative than positive.

    One thing Ron Hewitt most certainly was not was a martyr. He was never Saint Ron of Arc. Stop trying to deify him. It only adds another bizarre layer to already sad affair.

    Enuf said.

  • Mitch says:

    Bottom Line = Hewett’s family will get a settlement.
    It’s the cost of doing business.
    Ben David’s presentation was very good, but there will still be a settlement. Mark my words.

  • Mitch says:

    Sir, I will not put my “real full name” because I fear reprisals from our local officials — I have met Ben David, the Sheriff, and others LEOS on many occasions. Merrily, I am making an argument to explain why this case will likely result in a civil tort — and why I expect it to be settled before such a trial begins. Speaking on using you “full real name,” be aware that many of our great American heros like Ben Franklin and Sam Adams often penned letters in fake names! So I stand with them in putting forth my arguments knowing that they may be upsetting to some LEOs.

  • Gramps1945 says:

    “Mitch”. Do you know something the SBI doesn’t ? If there is corruption, from our Sheriff or DA, why don’t you name it ? And stand up against it ? Have some backbone. Show some leadership. Instead of throwing cowardly, anonymous, darts.

    A true Law Enforcement Leader, stands up, and tells the truth. Despite possible “fear”. I believe your true “fear” is not corruption. I believe your true “fear”, is people finding out who you are. And what the real motives are. Behind your baseless, smearing, remarks. Which, even you, refuse to stand behind, with your real name.

    I believe you might be, just a slick, clever, lawyer. Trying to cook something up, against a real sheriff, and his officers. For your own personal, political gain. Shame on you.

  • Southern Born says:

    I was raised on a farm and have been in the military have witnessed some pretty disturbing things in my life, but this video is extremely hard for me to watch, I ponder all the what ifs, and I realize that whether by his own hands or by others, he is gone. Should the world remember Ronald as the guy who achieved so much, he didn’t just become a sheriff he gave jobs and inspiration to others he hired folks and recommended others. He inspired young folks with the Dare program and he welcomed a open hand to strangers. While his bright light may have become a shadow the good he did cannot be ignored. unless his comrades can take credit for all he did he must have bore some responsibility to keep us while we slept.

    And while others can leap to the conclusion that his light was distinguished by his own hand, for my own reason, must believe that the burden of his success- the weight of the responsibility and the speed at which he achieved so much, laid waste to the Ronald I knew. The shear drive to fulfill those duties that were larger than the vision of his dream burned blankets over him and befell his version of reason.

    I do not side with his actions, and while I grieve for my friend I find myself wondering if while he was watching over us who was watching over him, and as I watch my friend battling his own demons I wonder what value a life must have before, his downfall does not eclipse his achievements. And so I pray for his mother, his children and his love ones, I hope the good Lord will allow me some day to see my friend as he was, that his children will see him not as this video depicts, but as the man whom so many depended on at one time as they slept in peace. Goodbye my Friend.

  • lonetraveler says:

    It has been stated many times during the investigation that Hewett was kept under tight security at the jail because he was a high profile inmate under federal custody. How then did he just walk right out of his cell into the common area? This doesn’t constitute any security at all. Why was he even allowed outside of his cell if he was refusing food and obviously not following any rules at all? DA and the Sheriff don’t even believe their own words.

  • tomfree says:

    Mr Hewett was a HIGH PROFILE prisoner of the Federal Government. He should have been treated differently!! What you have here is INCOMPETENCY of the highest level!! INCOMPETENCY from the DA of NHC, the Sheriff of NHC, all the way down to the lowest Deputy working at the Jail that Saturday Afternoon. All the tape shows is Mr Hewett fighting and getting tased! Show us what provoked Mr Hewett. Show us the tapes before the fighting and tasing begans. Show us what provoked this man who was about to go see His Mother and Girlfriend!! Show us!!!

  • Deputy34 says:

    If it’s a Direct Supervision Unit, how was an inmate allowed out of his cell without being supervised as to his appearance/well being/safety. Do you see what I’m pointing out? If this is the high security area. I think you guys need training on safety and security procedures. The whole chain of events is at best a procedural failure! I do not think the inmate was murdered, but I do think the sheriffs office has some incompetent deputies and leadership. That’s not just coming from me but most law enforcement in the area.
    The NHSO makes headlines about every two weeks with some idiotic headline they create!
    I remember reading that this area had more law enforcement officers arrested than the Metro Atlanta area over a 24 month period. And that is with 4000 less officers!
    That is a shame and should be looked into. But who should we believe NHSO’s own internal affairs Lt. was just indicted for embezzlement from the Internal Affairs Association. But New Hanover hired him knowing he had done that before with WPD in the 70’s. So enjoy your election selections you deserve them!

  • Guest2020 says:

    Have you read the DA’s report? According to his investigation, nothing was going on until they opened Hewett’s cell for him to go see his visitors. He walked out of his cell in nothing but his boxers. He refused to follow the commands of the deputy to get dressed. He was non-compliant and aggressive. The deputy did what he was supposed to do in order to subdue him.

    Once he started the altercation, he was treated like every other inmate, as it should be. He was the aggressor and he should not be treated with kid gloves because of who he is. He is just as capable as any other inmate to harm a deputy. Because of his history in law enforcement, he was being segregated from the other prisoners. That is the only way he needed to be treated differently.

  • Barry says:

    was called on the intercom and told his visitors were ready and told to leave his cell and report to the deputy desk to be escorted to the visiting area. The doors are unlocked electronically. when the door was unlocked he came out in his skivvies.

    People, you need to read the report. Also there are only 2 deputies assigned to a pod. Hewett did not follow commands from the first deputy, attacked him and was we all have seen the result.

    There are not individual rules for each inmate. In my opinion he was treated as any other inmate is treated. That is as it should be. Again, read the reports,,,,in full.

  • guesty says:

    It seems we as a society always expect somebody else to pay for our own bad behavior and choices.

  • CoastalJade says:

    Dumb relative in denial.
    Video shows it… now take a seat and be quiet.

  • disgusted says:

    This is murder. This man needed medical attention and instead he was tased to death by cold blooded idiots. This is a perfect example of what is going on in the jail systems around here. We can only imagine the horrible things we are not seeing. It is inhuman to take citizens, charged with criminal offenses or not, off their much needed medications and neglect them. People are going to naturally have adverse reactions that will affect their behaviors when they do not get their medications, tasing them to death is not how to handle this. There is too much suffering, inhumane treatment, and deaths going on the jail systems in this area. They need to do away with the tasing, clearly it is being abused. It is clearly wrong for those in charge to think this is proper procedure and want to continue with this behavior. As far as this particular case, it appears this man was sent there to die. Hewett’s charges were ridiculous and minor. This is corruption, I think Ben David is choosing to be blind.

  • Guest2020 says:

    The taser did not kill him. The stress of the situation caused his bad heart to fail. The taser would not have been necessary if he had not caused the altercation. It is not improper for the deputies at the jail to have tools to subdue the inmates when they become aggressive.

  • Mitch hunt says:

    Just my opinion. May or may not have planned on Hewett committing suicide at the jail but reasonably may have considered it given Hewett’s vow to commit suicide if set up or taken into custody ever again. Jon David has no respect for any boundaries of right to privacy or freedom from unlawful search and seizure, picks his target and operates mostly from community rumor, or the rumors he can generate by having officers sit on certain targets homes, has a decade long history of stirring big political firestorms with creating large warrants and cases from almost nothing, arresting certain targeted local well known people right at election time. Usually followed immediately by publishing a large media story that they are facing decades in state or federal prison. Few ever go to trial due to they all plea bargain and evidence is never shown based on the Fear of going to prison for decades for what he accuses them of doing. This event at Hewett’s house is classic Jon. The Mitch character is possibly Mitch @ Baker & Slaughter.

  • spitinmyeye says:

    Do we have statistical information, reliable statistics, gathered over years, regarding taser related deaths? How many law enforcement agencies do you think really report the truth regarding them? As for the medical examiner’s “opinion” that death would have occurred immediately if it resulted from the taser, does he have statistics to support his statement? My second question would be how does he define “immediate.” I think within 30 minutes is immediate enough for me to say it played a role in his death. The man was tasered in the chest. I’m not an MD, just an observer but I don’t see how the taser incident can be just “swept under the rug” as a cause of death. Do they think everyone is just stupid enough to buy their explanation? Next, he was refusing food and causing concern about his mental state as described in the interview. As a result, he was asked if he needed a psychological evaluation or intervention. Now I ask you, how many people who honestly need psychological intervention KNOW they need it? Isn’t one of the tests of mental instability that you don’t KNOW you’re unstable? Last of all, where was the taser when he was laid on his chest in the cell and the nurse who had difficulty removing it had to ask the deputies for help? Was it still in his chest? Also, did she check his vitals? I didn’t see a blood pressure cuff or anything else in her hands. Surely if a private citizen can pose these questions, there is an bunch of attorneys chomping at the bit to get a hold of this case.

  • Guest2020 says:

    The report states that the nurse removed the taser. The report also says that after she pulled off the taser that she intended to take his vitals, but he was still being aggressive to the point that she couldn’t.

    There were lawsuits concerning the use of tasers in these kinds of situations and the courts have upheld that the use of tasers is acceptable in helping to subdue unruly inmates. I would imagine that the lawyers involved would have provided statistics or else the courts wouldn’t have ruled the way they did.

  • Larry says:

    I don’t believe David really believed what he was saying. Or at least he knows the taser often kills later.

  • Larry says:

    They generally never find any wrong doing in these cases. Rachel Maddow did a piece on this subject recently if you can bare to watch her/him, whatever. It actually wasn’t bad to watch. Wish I had a link from about two weeks ago.

  • Larry says:

    I don’t believe David really believes what he says. Or at least I think he would acknowledge the taser doesn’t always kill immediately.

  • bob says:

    Really trueblue clearly you have no knowledge of how modern jails are built. They dont put bars on the doors in modern jails, which the NHC Jail was built only a few years ago which makes it a modern jail. So tell me how they could taze him thru the bars when they dont have any bars. You are clearly a complete dumb $@# that has no knowledge about what really happened.

  • true blue says:

    I want to hear the autopsy results.I want to hear the results of the SBI investigation. I can predict what Ben David and Ed McMahon will say. Neither are going to admit guilt. Until someone is held accountable for tasering him twice even though he was in a chicken coop size jail cell behind metal bars, I’ll say what I’ve been saying. Murder! The remaining questions have to do with his health which was not given one minute’s consideration even though he was clearly in distress either from alcohol withdrawal or a failing heart or both. Let’s ask ourselves if we think he’d be dead if he hadn’t been in NH county jail?

  • Guestomfg says:

    No bars, watch the video.

  • Don't care either way says:

    I’ve worked in jails and helped write policies on some over 22 years.

    If a high risk prisoner is refusing food, and is being watched closely. How was he let out of his cell without noticing he had no pants on? I know that this modern facility has observation windows on the doors.
    So if proper procedure was followed Hewitt would’ve never walked outside the cell. So procedure wasn’t followed 100%. Let’s get that straight from the start! Unless the deputies just open cell doors without looking in first. If they do that, they need more training. Or you need better staff to write policies that adhere to national and state standards.
    I don’t think the deputies did anything wrong during the control of Hewett. But all of that could’ve been avoided if procedure was followed.

  • Guestomfg says:

    Look at the VIDEO people. Hewett came after the officer, Hewett continues after the officer all around the large room outside the cell, he asked for it ! There is no conspiracy here. The man had an ENLARGED heart from years of drug and alcohol abuse.

  • CoastalJade says:

    So glad they are showing what happened so people who think this ‘man’ was a saint can see he was an overweight drunk that caused his own demise.

  • stm says:

    Really, who do you think wants to see that picture?

  • CoastalJade says:

    I do.
    It is trying to make a point to people WHO put this crooked former cop on a pedestal. I am happy they are showing video AND photos to back what happened.

  • mathew strangman says:

    What’s most unfortunate is the number of comments that that have been made about this incident. The ones made out of pure lack of knowledge and the ones made out of pure lack of respect for the family….which pretty much includes all the comments that I’ve read.

  • Patricia Adams says:

    Clearly, Mr. Hewett, should not been allowed to visit his mom and friend in his boxers if it was a rule; although I am sure both parties had seen him in boxers before. If the officers had just ignored him, left him where ever he was, told the visitors he was not being co-operative, I think this would not have happened. Then we might have eventually learned other stories that will now never be told. Guess they were forcing him to see his mom and that, I do not believe.

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