Defense calls witnesses in trial of Wilmington police officer


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The trial of Wilmington Police Cpl. James Coley Johnson continued today as the defense called several witnesses to the stand. 

First the defense called three former colleagues of Johnson’s who all worked with in him some capacity in law enforcement as well as someone from the Wilmington Housing Authority who worked alongside Johnson and his team in those housing properties. All agreed that Johnson was a man of truth, honor and integrity, saying that he had an incredibly calm demeanor and was someone they would trust with their lives.

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The defense then called Dave Cloutier Jr. to the stand as an expert witness on excessive force. Cloutier also served as an expert witness in the trial of Southport officer Bryon Vassey. He said that after reviewing the video from the incident involving Tyrell Rivers he does not think that Johnson used excessive force.

Cloutier went into great detail about pressure point techniques used by law enforcement officers, explaining that what might appear to someone as a choke was actually a technique used to get a subject to comply during an arrest.

The defense then called Dr. James Joachim M.D. as an expert medical witness. Joachim agreed with Cloutier saying that Rivers was not choked by Johnson and that Johnson did use an appropriate amount of force for the situation.