Deputy back on job after video appears to show him putting suspect in chokehold

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — The Burke County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that a deputy will return to his duties after video appears to show him putting a suspect in a chokehold until the suspect lost consciousness.

According to the sheriff’s office, Cole Ray Carter who had an outstanding warrant for communicating threats was spotted walking near the Taco Bell on Miller Bridge Road in Connelly Springs on July 16. Authorities said when a deputy responded to the scene and and tried to place Carter under arrest, he “refused to obey the deputy’s commands and began resisting.”

Officials said the situation began to escalate and when the responding deputy threatened to use his pepper spray, Carter ended up grabbing it and the two began to fight over the spray.

During the struggle, the deputy reportedly put his right arm over Carter’s shoulder with his right forearm under Carter’s chin.

According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy said he did so without pressing against Carter’s throat.

While restraining Carter, authorities said the deputy tried to calm him down and answer his questions. Deputies said he was upset because they did not have a paper copy of the warrant and deputies explained that the warrants were electronic.

Authorities said it was during this encounter that Carter took the weight off his feet and started falling to the ground. Once Carter was on the curb, officials said the deputy tried to handcuff him and he began resisting again.

Carter was eventually placed in the back of a patrol car and taken into custody.

The arrest was captured in a series of videos that were posted on TikTok.

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At one point in the video, the suspect’s knees buckle and he appears to go limp. The deputy begins to lower the suspect to the ground before the first video ends.

Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown showed the video to Lee Ratliff, founder of a private security service and use of force consultant.

“When it comes to use the force, you’ve got to look at the level of resistance or how the person is being combative against the officer or the people they are there to protect versus the level of force the officer would be authorized to use,” Ratliff said.

“As I look at this, I’m not seeing him be combative to the officer, toward the officers. They’re having a conversation with him. He’s talking to them then all of a sudden, you see him go limp.”

[Document: Burke County Use of Force Policy]

There is a second video posted by the same TikTok user that shows the suspect has regained consciousness.

One of the deputies appears to be covering the man’s face with his shirt but it’s not clear why.

The video shows another deputy cruiser arriving at the scene.

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A description on the video says the suspect was resisting arrest at the beginning of a traffic stop.

“Of course, all of these situations have to be thoroughly reviewed and we have to scrutinize them,” Ratliff said. “Not just from a policy standpoint, from a law enforcement agency, but the community, as well. Because, of course, anything we do out here we have to be held accountable.”

Ratliff continued, “Officers can be trained to a certain level and then sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board and look at what you’re training an officer to do. And say, ‘You know what? That’s not working. That’s not the best practice. We can improve on this.’”

After an investigation into the matter, authorities said the district attorney decided not to file any charges against the deputy.

The sheriff’s office said it closely reviewed its use of force policy regarding strangle holds and chokeholds and determined that the deputy did not use a hold that restricted Carter’s ability to breathe.

The deputy has since been removed from administrative leave with pay and returned to his regular duties.

The Sheriff’s Office said it will be reviewing and if needed, revising its use of force policy.

(Watch video below: New York judge orders judicial review in 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner)