Police use excessive force in DWI case, judge throws out charges
Last week, a Superior Court judge in Forsythe County threw out charges of driving while impaired that had been lodged against a 43-year-old North Carolina man. Police claimed the accused had been driving drunk on July 12, 2010. To support the charges, prosecutors were relying upon evidence that had been seized in a blood draw that was taken more than an hour after the DWI arrest.
A Winston-Salem police officer says a truck pulled into a gas station around 11 p.m. on the night of the arrest. Law enforcement claims the man accused of driving the truck was impaired that evening. The man says he was never driving the truck, but law enforcement claims he was found in the driver’s seat.
The owner of the truck was reportedly also in the vehicle and was charged with aiding and abetting DWI. Prosecutors dropped the aiding and abetting charge against the truck owner last year.
Court documents allege that law enforcement made the man accused of driving the truck perform a series of field sobriety tests and then requested that the man submit a breath sample for testing. The man reportedly refused the Breathalyzer test and police brought him to a hospital. Court papers show the police requested the man provide a blood sample, which he refused.
The man accused of DWI says police officers used excessive force to obtain a blood sample after the DWI test refusal. The North Carolina man says law enforcement sat on him in the hospital bed, shoved his head into a pillow, while a nurse drew blood from him. The judge heard the evidence and agreed that the blood sample was obtained in violation of the defendant’s rights. The judge threw the case out of court. The prosecutor is reportedly appealing the trial court decision.
Source: My Fox 8, “DWI Charge Dropped After Man Says Winston-Salem Officer Sat on Him,” Michael Hewlett of the Winston-Salem Journal, Jan. 13, 2012