Video shows deputies restrain, handcuff teen during medical emergency

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 10:32 AM EST
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LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) - New video obtained by WBTV shows deputies working at the Lincoln County courthouse restraining and trying to handcuff a 19-year-old who was having an apparent seizure.

Dayton Herman was alone in a hallway on the third floor of the Lincoln County courthouse on the morning of November 10 when, video shows, he became disoriented and fell to the floor. The video then shows him convulsing and then laying flat on the floor motionless.

A sheriff’s deputy enters the frame, sees Herman and appears to call for backup (the video does not have audio).

When a second deputy arrives, the pair try to put Herman in handcuffs, moving him to various places across the floor in the process.

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A third deputy arrives and the three restrain Herman face down on the floor: one deputy sitting on his legs, another with a grasp on the back of Herman’s neck and the third over his back. He was placed in handcuffs and held that way until EMT’s arrived.

Discharge paperwork shows Herman suffered a broken wrist in addition to being treated for altered mental status and a seizure.

“I don’t remember any of that. It’s just kind of crazy,” Herman said.

Herman had driven to the courthouse with his mom, Stephanie, and stepfather so that he could take care of a traffic citation. The family had recently moved from Lincoln County to North Myrtle Beach, SC.

“I never thought that, from the courthouse, we’d go to the hospital,” his mom said.

An attorney for Sheriff Bill Beam said Beam was not available for an interview on Tuesday.

Herman and his mom said they have not heard anything from Beam or anyone else at his office to offer an explanation about what happened.

After WBTV’s story was published but before the TV piece aired, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office released a statement addressing the incident.

“Sheriff’s deputies working in the video control booth at the Lincoln County Courthouse on November 10, 2020 observed a man fall to the floor in the elevator lobby on the third floor and rendered aid to him until medical services could arrive,” the statement said.

“The individual ran head-on into the wall twice injuring himself,” the statement continued. “Other than placing restraints on the man, deputies continued to hold the man down on the floor to keep him from further injuring himself.”

A lawyer for Beam said the sheriff stands by his statement but refused a renewed request to answer questions on camera.

Deputies with the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office restrain and handcuff 19-year-old Dayton Herman...
Deputies with the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office restrain and handcuff 19-year-old Dayton Herman on Nov. 10 as he had a seizure at the courthouse.(Lincoln Co. security video)

The sheriff’s office also released a statement from attorney and former Lincolnton Mayor David Black. In the statement, Black claimed “no officer struck the subject or pushed his head into the floor at anytime (sic) that I observed.”

Video shows Black standing in front of the deputies as they held Herman’s head to the floor and, later, held him by his neck.

In a series of messages sent to a WBTV reporter on November 16, Black also claimed Herman tried to fight the deputies.

“When another officer came out he started screaming and attempted to fight the deputies,” Black said.

The video does not show Black trying to fight the deputies.

In the messages, Black also claimed the first deputy who arrived to find Herman laying on the floor “immediately began rendering aid.” The video shows the first deputy arrived, talk on his radio and then stand there without taking any action.

Beam’s attorney provided the names of the four deputies involved in the incident on Wednesday. According to the personnel information provided, none of the deputies have any previous disciplinary history.

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