• Channel 9 questions how often troopers are held accountable for excessive force

    By: Mark Barber


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Multiple videos showing aggressive traffic stops have been released after a North Carolina state trooper was fired for beating an unarmed pedestrian.

    Eyewitness News reporter Mark Barber asked troopers how often they review dashcam videos that could catch bad behavior.

    [RELATED: Video shows white trooper yanking black driver to ground]

    Troopers said they immediately respond when someone complains.

    A man complained after he was seriously hurt during a traffic stop in Raleigh in April.

    Investigators decided Trooper Michael Blake used excessive force against the unarmed pedestrian, so he was fired.

    Attorneys said the trooper had a history of aggression, so they think he should've been lost his job sooner.

    "We believe there is a pattern here,” an attorney said. “Despite this pattern, Blake essentially remained on the streets."

    In newly released dashcam video, you can see Blake dragging a Navy veteran out of her car in Raleigh five months ago.

    Two years ago, he stopped an unarmed man in Wilmington.

    After they stepped off camera, the man was shocked with a Taser, beaten and had to be hospitalized.

    Blake wasn't disciplined or charged in either of those two cases.

    He was only fired after the beating in the traffic stop went viral. 

    "It makes me scared,” driver Vaniya Davis said. “I'm a young mom with a 3-year-old. I can get pulled over at any time."

    Channel 9 asked Highway Patrol how often it holds local troopers accountable.

    It wouldn't do an interview but told Channel 9 that supervisors occasionally review random dashcam videos to make sure protocols are being followed.

    Community policing expert and UNCC professor Vivian Lord thinks the department should develop set guidelines for how much time supervisors spend reviewing videos.

    "That's not developing a culture of caring about the citizens they're protecting,” UNC Charlotte professor Vivian Lord said. “This has to be much more serious of an effort."

    Other drivers also think another layer of accountability is needed.

    "I could see where maybe the governor could look into this and say, 'Could we put more safeguards, checks and balances into place to make sure we're getting the bad apples taken care of?'” driver Brandon Stirewalt said.

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