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Bladen County settles Taser death case


BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- It happened months ago, but we're just learning of a settlement between Bladen County and the estate of a man who died while in the custody of the Sheriff's Office. Billy Ray Cook died in April 2006 after deputies Tased him while trying to arrest him. Lawyers for his estate claimed they may have used the Taser as many as 38 times on Cook.

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly reports earlier this year, before a federal judge could rule in the wrongful death case, the two sides agreed to a $325,000 settlement.

Month's after Cook's death District Attorney Rex Gore cleared the Sheriff's Office of any wrongdoing.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Billy Cook

A dash board camera recorded the incident that night.I also have a copy of the altopsy report. So we don't have to assume anything. No doubt that brute force was needed to subdue Billy that night but was deadly force needed? Billy is responsible for the decisions he made. Are the officers not also responsible for theirs? Lawyers saw an opportuniy to pad their pockets and they took it.

Bladen County settle taser death

I think we should let this matter be laid to rest. Billy was friend of mine and money will never bring You back! I know of the issues that happen that evening and the officers involved where friends also. 38 times come on all the lawyers are going to do is make a check. Sew! Sew! Sew! cost the county more and more for the people who are alive, Monday morning quarter backs. Well again if anyone who cared about Billy thought that much about him why did they let him continue hurting himself with the drugs he used. Billy was a good guy but under the influence of this impairing substance his mother, if was living would have told You the same thing. I think if money changes the way people do things then ok, take the money and put it in the grave. Or support the county with money to help Alcohol and Drug users see the light before they end up in the grave to.

This Wasnt Only A PUBLIC

This Wasnt Only A PUBLIC Issue ; It Was Also A PERSONAL Issue . Billy Ray Cook Wasn't A Close Friend Of Mine, Or Just Someone Who Lived In The Same Town As Me ! In 2006 I Was 8 Years Old & That Was My Daddy That Was Taken From Me. Today I turned 16 and I No Longer Have My Biological Mother Or father To support Me ! All people in this town worry about is MONEY MONEY MONEY . Well That Settlement Could be paying the college tuition For A Little Girl who's Suffered her whole life Because of substance abuse. so before you say "throw the money to help drug users" think of the people who suffered because of his drug habits, & Bad Decisions . why not pay for schooling of a young girl who suffers the same problems as her father before its too late .

A Couple of points

The station was merely reporting a matter which was public record.

Don't the residents of Bladen County have the right to know that $325,000 of taxpayer or insurance dollars went to bring closure to this issue? And if it was insurance dollars, the County can anticipate an increase in insurance premiums when the policy renews which has a negative impact on the future budget.

Of the $325,000, it's likely $178,000 went to attroney fees and related costs. That left about $147,000 to go to the estate.

If the identity of the law firm is known, don't local residents have the right to know how the funds were disbursed?

With the election for Sheriff pending, don't you think this case might raise some relevant questions concerning the Department's use of tazers?

For the record, the correct spelling for "sew" is sue. I'm not certain if attorneys can gain contingency fees from sewing; but they certainly do from suing.

For the record, you made the initial post which brought this matter up.

T-man, I could not agree

T-man, I could not agree with you more!!!!. Billy was a good person when he was not under the influence of illegal substances. I've known Billy for most of my life. He helped my Daddy for many, many years in Tobacco. It's amazing how quickly the press and public automatically assume that Law enforcement has done something wrong. It never ceases to amaze me how the public never hears about how much trouble the criminal has been in or what our Officers have had to endure before such extreme measures were taken. Just so the public knows, I have seen people get tased and it NEVER AFFECT THEM!!! I am sure that if tasing this person had subdued him, the officers would have stopped. I've also seen criminals absolutely go beserk (not caring who they harmed or killed) while on illegal substances.
I can not for the life of me understand how the Bladen County could even think about settling this matter if DA Rex Gore cleared these officers.
Why not use this money for some drug rehabilitaion center???? We in Bladen County have nothing of the kind there.
Think before you cast judgement on these officers.

In all liklihood

the insurance company for the County made the decision based on the costs to defend the lawsuit, the probable verdict from a compassionate jury, and the relatively modest amount expended given this was a death case.

Sorry, but those are the facts when an insurance company writes the check.