WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Even though it rained off and on all weekend, hundreds of visitors spent the holiday at Wrightsville beach looking to let loose. As we reported first online today, one man let it all hang out, and it cost him.
It's Wrightsville Beach's own version of the "Don't tase me, bro!" video. Matthew Pick, 23, laying in the middle of the street after being tased by Sheriff's deputies. The Greenville resident went streaking down Lumina Ave. early Sunday morning.
"I just happened to be videoing when we heard a lot of commotion, and so I always like to get good video for good memories and good stories," said Stephen Stearns, who shot the now viral video. (WARNING: There is nudity and graphic language in the video)
At first the story is simple. Naked man runs down the street, runs away from police, then he's tased. That's where the story takes a turn. Stearns's video shows a deputy trying to stop Stearns from shooting. Stearns points out that he has a legal right to shoot video on public property, but the deputy threatens to arrest him. Even though this deputy didn't know the law, Stearns was smart enough to defend his right to shoot.
"He definitely tried to intimidate me from not videotaping," Stearns said. "I took a class in high school where I was aware that I had every right to do so, but someone else might have been intimidated by the officer at that moment."
New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said Stearns did nothing wrong. The only one who may have been out of line was the deputy in the video.
"I've had the deputy counseled," McMahon said. "I would actually encourage anyone who has a camera to shoot video, 'cause I'd like to see what happened."
But there's still one more question that remains for this soon-to-go viral video: Did deputies really have to tase the guy?
"I would think, 'Hey this worked.' This can be the perfect time to say hey the Taser worked," McMahon said. "The deputy wasn't hurt. The individual who seemed intoxicated wasn't hurt."
McMahon says no excessive force was used, and that the man refused arrest several times. So for anyone thinking about streaking the sheriffs has some good advice.
"My recommendation is to always keep your clothes on when your out in public," McMahon said.
Pick spent the night in jail. He's charged with indecent exposure and resisting arrest.