CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Claims of police misconduct are arising involving the Concord Police Department and Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Department after an arrest went viral on social media.
In a TikTok video, law enforcement officers are seen smashing open a driver’s window with their guns drawn at a gas station.
According to a police press release, the Concord Police Department says a Concord police officer tried to stop a driver on State Highway 49 in late August for failing to display a license plate.
Police say the driver, Davion Pringle, refused to pull over for three miles, leading to law enforcement officers from other agencies including the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office – to get involved.
Concord police say Pringle eventually pulled into a gas station in Harrisburg. In the video, officers could be seen shattering a window.
Police say an officer and a deputy approached the vehicle when they saw Pringle reaching under the driver’s seat.
They say they approached Pringle with their firearms in a “low ready” position and he refused to follow multiple directions like unlocking and opening a door, so a sheriff’s deputy broke the window.
They say he was not targeted or singled out, but the attorney representing Pringle disagrees.
“I think that as a black male you have to be extremely cautious as to how you interact with the police. I know the officers approached the vehicle with their weapons drawn and I know based on some of the statements that were made I am not able to share I think that ultimately in the interaction they were treated more aggressively,” attorney Darlene Harris says.
Harris says her client didn’t pull over right away to ensure a safe interaction in a well-lit area. The attorney says officers had no reason to believe he was “armed or dangerous.”
Right now, they’re contemplating whether they’ll move forward with a lawsuit.
Below is a statement from attorney Darlene Harris with Oakhurst Legal Group PLLC: “Sheriff Deputies of the Cabarrus Sheriff Department and officers with the Concord Police department, without justification, singled out a car driven by Mr. Pringle around 10:45 pm. Given the location, a dark country road, Mr. Pringle slowed down and pulled into a gas station to ensure a safe interaction in a well-lit area. Given the numerous examples of dangerous and hostile interactions between law enforcement and Black men, Mr. Pringle intended to ensure safe interactions with law enforcement in a place well lit. As seen in a viral TikTok video, officers from Cabarrus County Police Department and the Sherriff’s Office approached the vehicle with their guns drawn. Officers then shattered his window and aggressively removed him from the vehicle. Law enforcement officers later determined that their justification for Mr. Pringle and Ms. Grier’s detention was an alleged minor traffic violation -- improperly displaying a license plate. He never posed a danger to officers, nor did he have any outstanding warrants for his arrest. Additionally, the Officers here had no reason to believe he was armed or dangerous. Simultaneously, and without reason, Officers and Sheriff Deputies placed the passenger, Ms. Grier in handcuffs and confiscated her phone when she attempted to record the incident and contact family members of her and Mr. Pringles. Ms. Grier remained in cuffs until Mr. Pringle was removed from the scene. Ms. Baxter, Mr. Pringle’s mother later arrived at the scene. She was severely damaged by the events that took place as she attempted to secure the release of her son from a violent and unlawful search and seizure. We are fortunate that this incident did not have a deadly outcome as we have seen in similar captured interactions. This is likely due to Mr. Pringles’ safety precautions. If officers behaved this aggressively in a well-lit area with witnesses, how would they have reacted in an isolated and dimly lit area? We must hold the officers involved accountable for their actions. Mr. Pringle, Ms. Grier, and Ms. Baxter—victims of police—are trying their best to cope with the incident and continue to process the aftermath of this incident.” Below is the Concord Police Department Response to Oakhurst Legal Group, PLLC: “A Concord police officer attempted to stop a vehicle just north of Stough Road on NC Highway 49 on August 27, 2021, at approximately 10:51pm, for failing to display a license plate – which is a violation of NC General Statutes. The officer alerted the vehicle’s driver of his intent to pull the vehicle over via flashing blue emergency lights. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Mr. Davion Pringle, refused to pull over. The officer continued to alert Mr. Pringle via emergency lights and siren. Mr. Pringle still refused to pull over, and changed lanes multiple times. Mr. Pringle did not slow down, nor did he speed up. He continued to drive southbound on Highway 49 at approximately 55mph for three miles. During that time Mr. Pringle passed by no less than four well-lit areas along Highway 49. At the same time, additional law enforcement officers from the Concord Police Department, Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, and NC State Highway Patrol responded to the general area of Highway 49 to assist the officer and intercept the fleeing vehicle, driven by Mr. Pringle. Mr. Pringle eventually pulled into the Shell gas station located at 4025 NC Highway 49 S, in Harrisburg, NC. As the Concord police officer who initiated the traffic stop, and a Cabarrus County Sheriff’s deputy, approached the driver’s side of the vehicle they observed Mr. Pringle reaching around and under the driver’s seat. The officer and deputy approached Mr. Pringle with their firearms in a “low ready” position, as is customary during ambiguous and potentially dangerous circumstances such as this where it is unknown if an individual is reaching for a weapon. Mr. Pringle’s actions and refusal to comply with multiple police directions – he refused to pull over, refused to comply with verbal commands to show his hands, refused to roll down the driver’s side window, refused to unlock the driver’s side door, refused to open the door, and initially refused to step out of the vehicle – dictated the response from the officer and deputy. The Sheriff’s deputy used an unknown object to break the driver’s window. In response to the deputy’s actions, the officer unlocked the driver’s door and opened it. Mr. Pringle eventually stepped out of the vehicle, under his own power, and was placed into custody without further incident. Mr. Pringle was not aggressively removed from the vehicle. Aside from the deputy breaking the window, no force was used at any point during the arrest, and fortunately no one was injured, despite Mr. Pringle’s unlawful and dangerous behavior. Mr. Pringle was taken to the Cabarrus County jail and was charged with Resist Delay Obstruct (misdemeanor) and Failure to Stop for Blue Lights/Siren (misdemeanor). He was given a warning for failing to display a registration plate and failing to carry vehicle insurance. Contrary to the assertion made by Oak Legal Group, PLLC, Mr. Pringle was not targeted or singled out. Mr. Pringle was operating a vehicle on a 4-lane divided state highway in violation of the law, and the officer was justified in pulling him over. Mr. Pringle had multiple opportunities to pull over to a safe, well-lit area. He chose not to do so. Mr. Pringle’s actions of refusing to pull over, reaching around and under his seat, and refusing to obey lawful, straightforward, and easily understandable directions escalated the situation to an unreasonable and unsafe level. Mr. Pringle jeopardized his own safety, that of his passenger, and that of the numerous law enforcement officers who had to quickly respond to the area. Also contrary to Oak Legal Group’s allegation, there was no “later determination” to justify the stop; the Concord police officer knew the reason for the stop before he turned his blue lights on. The Concord officer had no way to know who was driving the vehicle, and certainly did not know the driver’s race or gender at the time the traffic stop was initiated. Attorney Harris admits the traffic stop was initiated on a “dark county road” and asserts that Mr. Pringle fled from the police in order to get to a “well-lit area.” Mr. Pringle was not observed until the officer and deputy approached the vehicle on foot at the Shell gas station. The passenger of the vehicle, Ms. Grier, was handcuffed and briefly detained for two minutes for officer safety reasons during the stop. She was not charged or cited. No force was used against her. Her phone was never confiscated and she remained on a phone call with Ms. Baxter from the time she exited the car through the duration of the stop. In fact, the officer assisted her in communicating their location to Ms. Baxter so she (Ms. Baxter) could respond to the scene. Following the arrest of Mr. Pringle, the Concord Police Department received a complaint from Ms. Baxter and Ms. Grier. Their complaints are actively under investigation. The Concord Police Department takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously. All complaints are subject to a thorough and rigorous investigative process. Accordingly, the department will not make any further public statements about the active personnel investigation at this time.” Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.