STATESVILLE, N.C. – Statesville interim Police Chief Joe Barone’s statement is five sentences long and vague. It reads in part, “…I have accepted the resignation of Sergeant (James) Robinson, 55, effective immediately.” And “Personnel regulations prohibit me from responding to any other questions about Robinson.”
Statesville Police Sgt. Resigns After WCCB News Investigation
This, after WCCB Charlotte started asking questions about an allegation of police brutality. Barone refused to speak to WCCB Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty Monday when she went to the department. A source tells us that Robinson, a ten year veteran of the department, allegedly knocked the legs out from underneath a man already in handcuffs on August 2nd.
We obtained the incident report from the arrest. The man was accused of breaking into a car and stealing fishing gear. He was apparently refusing to answer Robinson’s questions. We are also told that two other officers were present and wearing body cameras and that those two body cameras recorded the incident.
Fogarty asked Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Johnson about police departments using body cameras to enhance transparency and build public trust. She said, “This would seem like a perfect opportunity to do just that. So presuming that there’s body camera video available, do you think the public has a right to see it?” Johnson replied, “Assuming that it has legal clearance, yes.”
Johnson says city council was made aware of an internal affairs investigation into Robinson at Monday’s meeting, six weeks after the incident. He says council will be asking more questions. He says, “I think that this incident is very unfortunate. And I certainly believe that my colleagues and myself will be most interested in what we can do to ensure public safety and to make sure that whatever the incident is, that it doesn’t happen again.”
WCCB Charlotte submitted an open records request to the interim chief, city manager and city attorney to view the video. We also learned Robinson was arrested in 2011 and charged with assault on a female after a fight with his wife. The charge was later dropped.