North Carolina State Trooper Knees Motorist in Face During Traffic Stop, Gets Two-Day Suspension
A North Carolina state trooper who went berserk after a motorist called him a "jackass" was suspended for only two days without pay and is now back on the road, reports the AP:
Westmoreland, 34, said he was driving in his Toyota pickup with the cruise control set when he passed several patrol cruisers parked on the side of the road. He looked in his rearview mirror and saw one of the troopers pull out behind him and turn on his blue lights.
As he pulled over, Westmoreland said, a co-worker called him on his cellphone, wanting to know where he was. He was talking on the phone when the trooper walked up to his window and ordered him to hang up.
"I said, 'This is a business call, give me just one second,'" said Westmoreland, who repairs recreational vehicles for a dealership in Statesville.
Davidson then asked for his driver's license and registration. A little nervous, Westmoreland said he handed the officer his license but also accidentally gave him his bank debit card.
"He took it and threw it at me," Westmoreland said. "That sort of set me off."
After a heated exchange in which Westmoreland said Davidson used several four-letter words, the trooper took his license and went back to his cruiser.
A few moments later, a second trooper, Hugh T. Sloop, arrived on the scene. Davidson then returned to Westmoreland's window.
"When he got back to the car, he told me how fast I was going and I said, 'Man, there's no way,'" Westmoreland recounted. "He said to get out of the car. I said, 'For what? A speeding ticket?'"
Westmoreland said he looked down toward his lap to put his license back in his wallet when he was hit with a blast of voltage in his chest. Sloop then opened the passenger door and reached for him, Westmoreland said.
"He started yanking on me," Westmoreland said. "I said, 'Will you hold on a dadgum minute, I've still got my seat belt on!'"
Once Davidson let up on the shocks from his stun gun, Westmoreland said he climbed out the passenger door and followed orders to get on his knees.
"Next thing I know, the guy who Tasered me tackles me from behind," he said. "He was on my head, using restraints like they're trained to do. I have no problem with that. But he had his knee in the back of my head. I said, 'Hey man, can't you ease up a little bit?' Next thing I know, he just starts whaling on me. He just reared back with his knee and started hitting me in the face."
Davidson cursed and beat him while in handcuffs until another trooper pulled him off, Westmoreland said.
The AP was not able to confirm that Davidson was suspended specifically for attacking Westmoreland, as the North Carolina Highway Patrol says that such information is protected by special privacy laws for state employees. The AP was also unable to get its hands on the report officers are required to file by state law whenever they discharge a weapon, or the incident report filed after the arrest. Again, the North Carolina Highway Patrol cited its own interpretation of a privacy law that exempts certain personnel laws from records request.
Davidson's violent and vile behavior is perhaps a small problem compared to the NC Highway Patrol's astounding ability to withhold basic information in an age of sunlight laws, radical transparency, etc., etc.