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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A day after details were released in the investigation of three Wrightsville Beach Police officers, citizens are coming forward with their own allegations of police misconduct.

From a traffic stop that ended in a Tasing, to claims of a botched investigation of an apparent sexual assault, residents say one officer should not be allowed on the streets.

“All three officers had strong performance records… up to this particular time,” Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Bob Simpson said Tuesday when announcing the demotion of two officers and the resignation of another after an internal investigation.

Simpson’s comments had some people scratching their heads. Among them, Arlo McLawhorn. He is one of four men seen in dash cam video that shows a Wrightsville Beach cop Tasing McLawhorn’s friend. He says the officer firing the Taser is Shaun Appler, who the town demoted this week.

“He’s basically getting Tased, and you can see he’s Tasing him the whole time; just holding him telling him to come, you can see him motioning,” McLawhorn said about the video.

McLawhorn says the incident happened in June 2009. He and his buddies had hailed a cab when they were pulled over. McLawhorn says Ofc. Robert Miller, who was also demoted this week, was in the process of giving the cab a citation for an illegal pick-up when his buddies got out to try and let one of their friends go to restroom. McLawhorn says that’s when things went downhill.. He claims the officers in the video acted unprofessionally.

“Immediatly the officer comes up with his cuffs drawn and arrest my buddy,” McLawhorn said “He never tells us why he’s arrested.”

About five minutes later the video shows McLawhorn’s friend being Tased.

But McLawhorn is not the only person that has had a run in with one of the demoted officers. A man who we’ll call “Rick” says his son was caught up in a he-said-she-said story in which he was accused of rape.

Rick says his son was beat unconscious by friends of the alleged victim, but when it was time for police to investigate what happened, Rick says Ofc. Appler made no attempted to be fair and investigate both sides.

“This young man did not need to be carrying a weapon and enforcing the laws, ’cause he doesn’t know how to enforce the laws equally,” Rick said. “He enforces the laws as he sees it. It’s his court. What he said to me, and I quote, ‘Your son deserves what he got.’ He was almost beat to death, and my son had not even had his day in court yet. How would you feel if a police officer said that to you?”

We reached out to Simpson about his comments regarding Miller’s and Appler’s performance record. He said he made the comment based on what was in personnel records, including looking at reviews or any reprimands from five years back. As for the incidents in our story, he declined to comment.

We also tried calling Appler at work, but we could not reach him for comment.


Comment on this Story

  • Guest1234

    Someone on here made a comment that police officers just have a job to do. Really? Yes, I agree they are outnumbered in our town for sure. It is only going to get worse. The problem is there is nobody else out there to see what they are doing. I have watched a cop run through clear run drive every night around 8 or 9 pm with his lights blaring and horns going off, only to turn them off when he reaches Hooker Road. This is every night. I think he does it to not have to drive the speed limit and speed through the neighborhood. As for the Detectives in this town they are the lowest of the low. I had one tell my husband and I if our child didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, F Him then. Wow, out here to protect us and then can’t seem to find one when you need one or they look the other way when they want to. I hate Wilmington now. It is the worst town to raise a child in. As for the ones who want to say what did your child do. It was over a he said she said mess. He was not found guilty of anything. But the mess the detective put us all through was enough for me not to trust any of them. They think they are above the law. I don’t feel for any of them they chose that profession. All, I can say is stay safe Wilmington residents they are not on our side. As far as WB goes let them have that beach it is crap anyhow. They will go under without the tourist or us Wilmington Natives!!! Post this WWAY. It is the truth.

  • Grand Ole Party

    In fact it is pretty much universal and is best for officer safety.

  • Guest2020

    My brother-in-law has been in law enforcement for nearly twenty years. He says that if you get pulled over, you stay in the car, roll your window down, and keep your hands where the officer can see them. If you are the driver, put your hands on the steering wheel. Do not start reaching for your license and registration until the officer asks for them.

    I’ve been pulled before and in addition to the recommendations I was give, I also explain to the officer what I am reaching into the glove compartment for. I also explain why I am reaching into my pocket (that is where I carry my license.)

    This is done to keep the officer at ease so that he knows that I am not a threat and so there is no mistaking my intentions.

  • corey

    please keep in mind that the whole reason why this video is coming out now is to show that the stmt that the town mgr made about the record of these cops is 100% false. this video is just one example of how their conduct was brought forward to the town mgr 2.5 yrs ago and nothing was done about it. ever since this incident it has always been known to me that these cops were scumbags and the fact that they are under investigation for some other reason is not surprising at all. what happened that night in the taxi was 100% unprovoked and unprofessional…..about a week after that happened I heard that 1 of the 4 individuals that got arrested that night was issued a DUI….i guess he was scared that if he took a taxi he would get tazzzzzed and arrested. the bottom line here is that when the bars get let out the cops have a job…..its crowd control, to uphold the law and to make sure people are safe……if you pull over a cab for violating a town ordinance and you realize people are in the cab…at least let them know…hey its going to be 15-20 minutes…sit tight and you will be on your way….or you could allow them to get another cab…dont ignore them and expect that they know what to do in that situation….its not a very difficult job down there at wrightsville beach…just be smart…if you can…..

  • I Think4Myself

    Thank you so much for being level headed. i cant wait for the day karma comes back for the judgemental ones. but then it shows just how brainwashed they are. they don’t even know if the reason the person is in so called trouble with the law is legit but here they are judge and jury. i love karma its a itch that will be scratched. and it usually teaches the person(s) a lesson in the very things they judge so harshly

  • Not in Trouble

    This is only a few seconds of over a 20 minute video of what happened that night. These guys were not in trouble with the police… they were only trying to do what is right and get a cab ride home after having a couple of drinks. The guy you see in the video sat in the cab for 20 minutes and finally stepped out of the cab only to be immediately tasered, thrown to the ground and then kicked.

  • Guest444

    just checking
    if you go out with friends and have a couple of drinks
    then do the responsible thing and take a cab home
    and thru no fault of yours the cab is pulled and detained
    while waiting, one of your friends needs to excuse himself and is cuffed for stepping out of the taxi and following that you and your other friends are taken out of the taxi and thrown on the ground, tased, and arrested you choose for people to discredit your experience because you are “already in trouble with the police”?
    i hope that you are not a judge
    just judgmental
    how is the view from up there?

  • corey

    the expert witness in this case was an officer that basically trained ever cop in Wilmington. In a nutshell after seeing this ENTIRE(please keep in mind that these guys were in this cab for 15-20 minutes w/out being addressed) video, he said that everything these officers did that night was against protocol and was not how they were trained to do their job.

  • diplod

    Where I grew up it was standard to get out of the car so the officer would know you weren’t armed. This “stay in the car” is not universal and not best for officer safety.

  • WilmMan

    I’m not going to say if these happened or not since I wasn’t there…but you notice that the only ones saying something happened are thoses who were already in trouble with the police

  • ExpertGuest

    You need to update your new rank on your Expert Village/youtube bio! We all learned so much in your “what to do when your pulled over” series. “Where to put your hands” is a classic. Maybe with all your experience you can produce a new one – “how to avoid cop rage”. Keep up the good work, P.O. I!

  • corey

    This video is very disturbing……if they are doing this on video then what might they be doing off video????

  • Guest hal stevens

    When I complained to the Sargent there I realized if I pursed the issue I would be putting my self in a position that I would surly regret later. hey this is what the people of Wrightsville beach want. They do not want any one on the each but residents.

  • kblue2221984

    I’m all for the firing of a crooked Police Officer, but everyone and their sister knows not to get out of a vehicle that has been pulled over. From the little bit of footage shown I could not make a judgement for either side. Sounds like a whole bunch of hear say. I doubt this footage is what got them demoted. I’m certain it was something much worse……..Say’s who? Say’s Kblue!!

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