The Winston-Salem Journal has filed a petition seeking the public release of body-camera footage of an incident involving a Winston-Salem man who said police officers assaulted him and tasered him last year in a tense confrontation at a gas station.
The incident started when an officer asked the man to turn down his music.
John Mackey Jr. told the Winston-Salem Journal that one of the police officers, Logan Keith Frankland, also used a racial slur before the incident and then later punched him and put his forearm to Mackey’s throat.
Cellphone video shot by a bystander shows part of the confrontation on March 2, 2020, at the Liberty Street Citgo on North Liberty Street.
Mackey filed a complaint with the department over the incident.
He was arrested on several charges, including assault on a law-enforcement officer, but those charges were dropped “in the interests of justice” in November. The city has settled with Mackey for $10,500.
Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said in a Jan. 12 letter to Mackey that an internal investigation found Frankland had violated departmental policies and procedures during the incident. Frankland resigned from the police department on Oct. 8, 2020. In June 2020, his salary decreased by about $2,200.
City officials say they cannot disclose what policy or procedures Frankland violated or what disciplinary action was taken against him, citing the state’s personnel privacy laws. And Mackey said he has never been able to see the body-camera footage, despite several requests.
Mackey also said another officer, Caleb Gray, also assaulted him that night and that the officers’ supervisor, Jared K. Stump, did nothing when Mackey was tasered.
The Journal filed the petition in Forsyth Superior Court on Monday, seeking “release of all Custodial Law Enforcement recordings involving this police encounter with Mr. Mackey, from the initial contact through conclusion, including the restraint of, or use of force on, Mr. Mackey.”
The Journal is asking for dash-board camera footage of the incident as well. Under state law, body-camera and dash-camera footage are not public record, and the only way they can be made public is through a court order signed by a judge. The first step in the process to get a court order is to file a petition with the court system.
Under state law, Mackey can request the body-camera footage from the Winston-Salem Police Department, but he said this week that he still has not been able to view the footage. His criminal defense attorney, Ashley DiMuzio, also asked for the footage but never received it. After DiMuzio asked for the video, prosecutors dropped the criminal charges.
Mackey said this week that he is still planning to pursue criminal charges against the officers. According to a letter from Capt. Jose Gomez of the Professional Standards Division, Mackey can pursue criminal charges against the officers through the State Bureau of Investigation.