Community leaders and activists from organizations such as SpiritHouse, the Durham NAACP and the N.C. NAACP will gather 8:30am tomorrow morning at the Durham County Courthouse to bring attention to the case of Stephanie Nickerson, a U.S. Navy veteran and alleged victim of police brutality.
Nickerson, 25, advised her friend against an unwarranted search of a home by police responding to a disturbance call on October 28, 2012.
In an ABC11 interview, she said, “He was like put your arms behind your back, and I jerked my arm away and said no I haven’t done anything wrong. And immediately after I jerked my arm back he threw me on the ground, he held me by my neck, and punched me repeatedly in my face and head.”
Here’s the complete report from ABC11:
Nickerson’s case might not be an isolated incident as a report by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice suggests a disturbing trend over the past decade of racial disparities in police encounters with minorities. The report analyzes more than 13 million traffic stop reports. It found that Blacks in Durham County alone are 162 percent more likely than whites to be searched during stops for seat belt violations, as well as similar trends for Hispanics. (More here at a Fayetteville Observer article.)
While the National Institute of Justice claims that the excessive use of force is rare, cases like Nickerson do arise that cause doubts into local police departments.
In High Point, a complaint into a case of excessive use of force and racial discrimination was filed with the city’s human-relations department in an encounter between an officer and two Hispanic sisters. The complaint may have been controversially squashed by the city.
In Fayetteville, a family claims that excessive force paralyzed a family member.
In Scotland Neck, a grand jury indicted a police officer last year for the manslaughter of a man on a bicycle whom he shot with a stun gun.