Officer Pleads Guilty to Siccing Dog on Unarmed Black Man

A sheriff’s deputy from Wake County, North Carolina, has pleaded guilty to siccing a K-9 dog on an unarmed Black man last year.

Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Broadwell pleaded guilty on May 13 to misdemeanor charges after ordering a K-9 dog to attack Kyron Hinton last year, The News & Observer reported. In spring of 2018, officers were responding to a 911 call reporting a man who was possibly holding a gun in the middle of Raleigh Boulevard. A state trooper and four Raleigh police officers found Hinton screaming and waving his arms with a cell phone in one hand and his genitals in the other, according to the publication. The officers approached him in a circle, with one officer holding a Taser behind his back.

Jurors of Broadwell’s case were shown a video of the officer entering the scene rushing up to Hinton, according to the News & Observer. Broadwell can be heard yelling, “Get on the ground now or you’re gonna get bit,” before he released the dog. The deputy can then be heard saying, "Get him, get him, get him!" Hinton suffered 21 bites, a broken nose, and a fractured orbital bone, the outlet reported. Broadwell was charged with three felonies — “assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and willfully failing to discharge duties,” but the charges were dropped in exchange for him pleading guilty to willfully failing to discharge himself from duty. The former deputy gave up his law enforcement certificate as part of his plea deal.

“He has been punished, your honor,” Broadwell’s attorney, Joe Zeszotarski said, according to The News & Observer. “He has given up his career. It was what he always wanted to be. It was what he always wanted to do.”

Hinton died in February from an apparent drug overdose a day after he received an $83,000 settlement from Wake County, WTVD previously reported. Hinton’s mother, Vicki, told The News & Observer her son had suffered from mental health issues and has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told the publication it was a top priority to make sure Broadwell gave up his position as a law enforcement officer.

“The actions of Mr. Broadwell on that evening were unnecessary, excessive and against the policies of his agency,” Freeman told the publication. “Today marks a big day in this community. We appreciate the acceptance of responsibility.” Freeman also recommended that K-9 officers only be used to apprehend criminals who are violent offenders and to consider adopting a no bite policy, WTVD reported.

"And so I am calling on the sheriff of Wake County to review his K-9 policy and change that," Freeman said, according to the station.

A similar incident occurred in 2016 after police officers in San Diego, California, sicced a K-9 officer on a 25-year-old man who was high on LSD, hallucinating, and naked, The Washington Post previously reported. When the 25-year-old did not listen to officers' orders, they gave the dog the command to bite the person. It took more than 30 seconds for the dog's handler to command him to let go, according to the publication. The man, who has not been identified, told KNBC the attack destroyed his right leg and will never be able to have full use of it again. He was not charged with a crime and settled with the city for $385,000. “No dollar amount is worth having a disability for life,” the man previously told KNBC.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.