James Hammonds said Trooper DeWayne Hunt and 1st Sgt. Scott Howell beat his brother, Wayne Hammonds, after he was handcuffed. James Hammonds signed and filed the written complaint on his brother's behalf. Wayne Hammonds is in the Robeson County jail under $27,500 bail.
"The whole point was they used excessive force when he was already restrained," James Hammonds said. "I ain't saying he's innocent of a DWI ... . I think my brother's rights were violated. You can't beat people when they're handcuffed. This is America."
According to court records, state Highway Patrol Trooper J. Hinson charged Wayne Hammonds, 40, of 260 Flatrock Road, Red Springs, with six misdemeanor traffic violations and a felony during a July 26 traffic stop on Clifford Road off of N.C. 710 near Red Springs. That happened after Hammonds swerved his truck onto the shoulder of the road. The charges include: felony malicious conduct by a prisoner, injury to personal property, driving while impaired, hit and run, resist, delay and obstruct an officer, reckless driving and driving while license revoked.
James Hammonds' complaint includes statements from at least a dozen people who witnessed the arrest. Hammonds said his brother suffered multiple injuries - cracked ribs, cuts and bruises on his body and face, a damaged eye and swollen neck.
According to Vaughn Steele, the health administrator at the Robeson County jail, Hammonds was taken to an eye specialist after he was brought to the jail.
"We sent Mr. Hammonds up there to Duke to see a specialist and now we're treating him based on that recommendation," Steele said. "There were no noted internal injuries when he arrived at the jail."
State Highway Patrol spokesman 1st Sgt. Everett Clendenin said use-of-force complaints against troopers are investigated by the patrol's Internal Affairs Division. He said there is an ongoing investigation and Howell and Hunt are not allowed to comment publicly.
Hunt was accused of using excessive force to subdue Francesca Locklear, 29, of Island Grove Road, Maxton, during a traffic stop last year. Clendenin couldn't comment on whether Hunt was cleared of any wrongdoing in the 2003 incident.
According to Hinson's citation, he saw Hammonds drive a 1998 Chevrolet off Clifford Road to the right and onto the shoulder of the road. Hinson reported that Hammonds' eyes were red and glassy, he smelled of alcohol and that he was unsteady on his feet.
According to the citation, Hammonds blew .07 on a breath test. The legal limit in North Carolina is .08. Hammonds refused to take the breath exam a second time and Hinson charged him with DWI. Clendenin said patrolmen typically test a motorist's breath twice and take the lower of the two tests. But he said a motorist doesn't have to fail a sobriety test to be charged with a DWI.
"Once an officer says you are under arrest for a DWI you are under arrest," Clendenin said. "The officer just has to form an opinion, just like in speeding violations."
Rockykey Lowery, 18, who lives on Clifford Road, said during an interview with a reporter that he saw Hammonds wreck his truck - even though Hinson's report doesn't say the truck wrecked. Lowery said he was talking to Hammonds when Hunt pulled up. Even though Hinson wrote up the citation, Lowery said it was Hunt who was first on the scene.
"Wayne saw the lawman and ran away, then the patrolman told him to quite resisting," Lowery said. "Wayne threw his hands up, but then that lawman sprayed him with Mace and handcuffed him. He tried to put Wayne in his car but locked himself out of his patrol car and then took it out on Wayne. He slammed Wayne on the ground and his face hit the dirt."
Rockykey said about 12 to 15 law enforcement officers arrived shortly afterward, including state troopers, Red Springs police and sheriff's deputies. He said one of the officers helped Hunt unlock his car.
"When they arrived, they hog-tied him in the front seat and when he wouldn't sit still they buckled the seatbelt around him," Lowery said. "Wayne started hollerin' and I saw Patrolman DeWayne (Hunt) and the sergeant (Howell) start beating him in the car.
"We called out 'don't beat him' and that sergeant said y'all stupid Indians shouldn't have called us if you didn't want our help," Lowery said.
Lisa Lowery, Rockykey's mother and the Community Watch coordinator on Clifford Road, also spoke to a reporter. She said as many as 20 people watched the troopers help Hunt get into his locked car.
Lowery said she saw Hammonds, handcuffed and shackled, hop out of the car after the troopers had walked away and head for a bucket of water to wash the Mace from his eyes.
"The law ran after him and threw him to the ground and he was just trying to get water to wash the Mace out of his face," she said. "He weren't resisting or trying to run."
Hammonds reportedly caused an estimated $500 worth of damage to the interior of Hinson's patrol car and was charged with felony malicious conduct by a prisoner for spitting at Howell, according to the arrest warrant.
Lowery said Hammonds was spitting because he had Mace in his mouth.
"There was one called DeWayne in the driver's seat of the car ... Wayne was handcuffed and shackled next to him while another officer, Howell, I think, stood outside the passenger window punching him in the face."