Arrest takes ugly turn

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 19, 2007

AHOSKIE – A simple investigation came within an eyelash of taking a violent turn here Thursday.

Guns were drawn, a tazer weapon was used twice, mace was applied and tempers flared in an incident that ended in the arrest of two Ahoskie brothers as well as a person saying he was a family relative.

The Ahoskie Police Department has charged brothers Demetrius Parker, 25, and Dominique Parker, 17, both of 311 North Catherine Street, with resist, delay and obstruct. Dominique Parker also faces a charge of causing a public disturbance. Both were jailed under a $5,000 bond and will make their first court appearance on April 3.

Justin Nelson White, 25, of the same address was charged with felonious common law robbery as well as resist, delay and obstruct. He was jailed under a $45,000 cash bond and will also make an April 3 first appearance in court.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said the incident began shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday with a call from a North Catherine Street business owner regarding a suspicious person.

Upon arriving at the scene, Ahoskie Police Major Jimmy Asbell located a male on the railroad track adjacent to the business. As he spoke to the individual, later identified as Demetrius Parker, Asbell noted him failing to make eye contact with the officer as well as fumbling inside his left front pocket.

“Major Asbell asked the man for consent to search, which was agreed upon,” Fitzhugh said. “As Major Asbell was walking with the man back towards Major Asbell’s patrol vehicle, the man fled on foot.”

APD Officer Daniel Flores was also at the scene. Upon witnessing the suspect snatch away from Asbell and begin to flee, Flores drew and fired his tazer weapon, one that carries a non-lethal electric charge by a prong that penetrates the skin.

“One of the prongs found its mark, but the subject continued to flee,” Fitzhugh said.

Demetrius Parker eventually made his way to his North Catherine Street residence. Flores followed and encountered, according to Fitzhugh, approximately 10-to-15 other individuals.

“At that time, Officer Flores ordered Demetrius Parker to the ground, but Mr. Parker refused,” Fitzhugh said. “After a second request and refusal, Officer Flores, using his ASP baton, struck Mr. Parker in the leg.”

Chief Fitzhugh went on to report by the time that was occurring, several individuals had surrounded his officer and were shouting. Fitzhugh said one individual attempted to grab Parker’s hand and pull him away from Flores.

“Officer Flores then drew his service revolver and ordered everyone to back away,” Fitzhugh said. “Mr. Parker then walked towards the front porch of his residence, with Officer Flores following. Again, the crowd closed in on my officer and he again ordered everyone to back away.”

Major Asbell then arrived, allowing Flores to holster his weapon and grab the right arm of Demetrius Parker in an effort to place him under arrest. Fitzhugh said Parker snatched away from Flores’ grip, grabbing onto a porch pole with both hands and refused to let go.

By this time, Dominique Parker and White came onto the porch and yelled at the officer. Demetrius Parker still refused to let go of the pole at which time Flores sprayed the man with mace.

“Demetrius Parker still refused to loosen his grip on the pole at which time Officer Flores used his ASP baton, striking Mr. Parker in the right hand in an attempt to force him to let go of the pole,” Fitzhugh reported. “By this time, the mace that Officer Flores had used was blowing back into his face.”

Chief Fitzhugh said he arrived on the scene at this point, noting 10-to-15 people standing in the yard. He noted there was a lot of commotion going on.

Asbell finally was able to place Demetrius Parker in handcuffs and led him to a rescue squad unit that was summoned to the scene. However, the incident was far from over.

“At this point, Dominique Parker raised his fists, took a fighting stance and told Officer Flores that, ‘you ain’t taking my {expletive} brother’,” Fitzhugh said. “Officer Flores drew his ASP baton to defend himself and swiped it in Dominique Parker’s direction, not in an effort to strike him, but rather to prevent him from advancing any further in a threatening manner.”

Dominique Parker, joined by White, then entered the residence and attempted to block Flores by shutting the door. Fitzhugh said that Parker managed to get away, but Flores was able to attempt to subdue White by using mace.

“Mr. White managed to snatch the mace from Officer Flores’ grasp at which time Officer Flores drew his tazer weapon and ordered Mr. White to drop the mace,” Fitzhugh stated. “Officer Flores then fired the tazer, dropping Mr. White to the floor.”

Dominique Parker was located a short time later and, along with White, was placed under arrest.

“I believe the family (of the arrestees) magnified this situation,” Fitzhugh said. “This did not need to happen. If my officers were allowed to do their job and make an arrest if needed, none of this would have occurred. When the family members approached the officers in a threatening manner it just escalated this situation to another level, one where the use of force was necessary.”

Chief Fitzhugh said the use of such force is always performed as a last resort.

“Under the circumstances, I commend my officers for the way they handled this situation in a professional manner,” Fitzhugh concluded. “The end result was that no one was seriously injured.”

One child at the scene apparently was downwind when the mace was used. Fitzhugh said a second rescue unit was dispatched to the scene to treat the child.