DA: No excessive force used after deputy recorded punching man during arrest

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — The district attorney has ruled that no excessive force was used by a Burke County deputy who was recorded punching a man during an arrest over the summer.

Surveillance video from two homes captured the deputy repeatedly punching a man during an arrest in August.

Deputies said Homer Cook resisted arrest, but Cook argued that the deputy went too far.

District Attorney Scott Reilly said he doesn't believe there was any misconduct by Lt. Dylan Anderson.

According to Reilly, the State Bureau of Investigation discovered that Cook ran from the deputy one day after being chased by the same officer.

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In one of the home surveillance videos, Cook can be seen running through a neighbor's yard trying to avoid the deputy before tripping and falling at the end of a driveway. The officer can then be seen on top of Cook punching him multiple times.

“In my opinion, he went way too far," Cook said. "Nobody deserves to get smashed in the back of the head like that.”

Reilly said the deputy tackled Cook as he was trying to get up.

Deputies said Cook was charged with resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia, which are both misdemeanors.

Cook admitted he violated his probation for a previous drug conviction by not staying in touch with his probation officer, but his family believes the repeated punches were unnecessary.

“No human being should be done like that, none. I don’t care if it is my son or who. They should not be treated like that,” Cook's mother, Rachel Morris, said.

It wasn't until Cook's family posted a $12,500 bail that he was taken to a hospital. Family members said he had to get five staples in his head.

Sheriff Steve Whisenant told Channel 9 the deputy used the tactics he was trained to use and submitted a use-of-force report after the arrest before anyone became aware of the video. He also said the deputy's description of the events matched the video.

“What you don’t see on the video tape is that the defendant is still struggling and tightening up and refusing to come under the command of lieutenant Anderson,” Reilly said.

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When Eyewitness News reporter Dave Faherty asked Cook's mother why he ran, she responded, “A lot of people might say, 'If your son had just given up?' I understand that, too, but he didn’t deserve to be beaten in the head. He sure didn’t.”

Cook told Faherty he now regrets running.

Channel 9 asked Cook's mother if she planned on hiring an attorney and suing the Sheriff's office. She told us she has no comment about that at this time.

Burke County deputies do not have body cameras. Whisenant said he has asked county leaders for funding.