Wilmington, NC - The dramatic end to a police chase caught on dashcam: the pit maneuver stops Johnnie Williams' car. Then, Wilmington police officer, Stafford Brister, lifts a police K-9 into Williams car.
A grand jury, made up of 15 people, watched this video several times before deciding to clear the officer of any criminal wrongdoing.
District Attorney Ben David said he wanted a grand jury to decide if officer Brister should be charged with assault inflicting serious injury.
"I believed it was a close enough legal question that the community should decide whether the use of force was resasonable, and I would not rule as a matter of law that it was."
David says Williams tried to run over three officers during the chase.
Today, the grand jury indicted Williams on charges of being a habitual felon, assault with a deadly weapon, and other traffic violations.
WECT talked with Williams after the incident. He admitted to making mistakes, but told us he didn't deserve to have the dog unleashed on him.
"I didn't have the opportunity to raise my hand all the way until the dog got into the car and bite me. It held on to me. It was at least about 30 or 40 seconds before the guy came and got him off my shoulder."
Even though the officer was cleared of criminal charges, Chief Ralph Evangelous says there is still an internal investigation underway.
"Sometimes the job we do is not very pretty. It's just a fact. There are sometimes badguys out there who are violent. The K-9 incident is still pending, and administratively, there is an administrative investigation going on as we speak."
As far as criminal charges, David says the case is closed.
"That use of force can be called into question by reasonable people looking at it, and I will let the people watching at home, tonight, who I am sure are going to watch this tape multiple times decide for themselves whether they believe force was reasonably neccessary."
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