The Wilmington News Journal has obtained a copy of a police report detailing an August incident in which a former Wilmington police officer was captured on bodycam appearing to choke a black man in custody.
The report from Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, states that at approximately 11:40 a.m. police responded to a menacing complaint behind Arby’s at 1619 Rombach Ave.:
The report continues to say: “Emily Holden advised she just got off work at Arby’s and her ex-boyfriend Richard Stewart is threatening to cut her tires and blow up her car. He is wearing a white hoodie and has a backpack. She is in a black truck with manager behind Taco Bell. She was advised not to engage with him and to stand by for officer.”
Seconds later, dispatch received another call, this one from Julie Brouthton, who “requested a welfare check on her friend Emily Holden, who works at Arby’s. She advised Emily told her about her ex stalking her in the parking lot, and advised she stopped texting her and wouldn’t answer her phone. Caller advised the suspect has a violent history.”
The suspect was identified as Richard Lee Stewart, 37, of North Lincoln Street, Wilmington.
Responding Patrol Officer Jerry Popp wrote in the incident report: “… I walked over to the front of (Ptl. Darcie) Mayberry’s cruiser and she began to give Stewart directions including to look straight ahead and put his hands on top of his head. Mayberry had to tell Stewart several times to comply and I advised him, ‘Do what she tells you to do.’ Stewart slowly put his hands up to his head but his left hand he would not keep in position. I grabbed his wrist and moved his hand to his head and he immediately became rigid and resisted by tensing up. I asked Stewart then if he had any weapons or sharp objects on his person and he replied ‘I don’t know if I do or not.’
“With that I advised Stewart to place his hands behind his back and I placed him in handcuffs (gapped and double locked for safety). He questioned why he was being placed in handcuffs and I told him that because I was uncertain if he had any weapons and also because he was detained for further investigation. Stewart was very uneasy and looking around as if he was planning an escape from officers. Stewart had a history of fighting with officers when he is under the influence of drugs or off his regular prescribed medication. I then began to pat Stewart down for weapons and when I touched his left pant pocket I felt an item that based on my experienced (sic) was a glass smoking pipe. I asked Stewart about the item and he stated that he had just found the pipe in the grass on the other side of the building. I eventually was able to remove the glass smoking pipe and noticed the inside was saturated with a white residue typical with methamphetamine use. He asked me if he was going to be charged with it and told him he probably would be charged with possession of the pipe. Stewart then became upset and stated he wanted to die. After saying that several times he began to tense up his body once again and threw his head forward onto the hood of car 102. Stewart slammed his head at least three times onto the hood in an attempt to harm himself. Both Ptl. (Codey) Juillerat and I attempted to push his head forward onto the hood to keep him from continuing to strike it. Stewart was able to lift his body off of the car and I took the opportunity to grab him with my right arm around the shoulder and neck area to pull him away from the car. Ptl. Juillerat then advised to put Stewart onto the ground because he was still flailing around and resisting. I continued to hold Stewart around the head and shoulders after he was taken to the ground slower than the speed of gravity. I then advised officers that we needed to roll him over onto his back. Stewart was flipped over and he immediately began to slam his head up and down onto the pavement. I then pressed onto the side of his head and keep him from doing so. All the while Stewart was chanting, ‘I’m going to (expletive) die.’ Sgt. Cravens arrived on scene and Stewart was lifted off the ground …”
The incident report entered by responding Patrol Officer Darcie Mayberry stated: “Upon arrival officers came into contact with the suspect, Richard Stewart. Due to the nature of the complaint, officers asked Stewart if he had any weapons or anything that could harm officers on his person and he replied he was uncertain. Officers conducted a pat down for weapons. A glass smoking pipe was located on Stewart’s person. Stewart advised he located the pipe on the ground and placed it into his pocket.
“… Due to his (Stewart’s) uncertainty if he was in possession of any weapons or any ordnance dangerous to himself or officers, Ptl. (Jerry) Popp placed him in handcuffs to assure everyone’s safety. Richard was advised he was not under arrest at this time but being detained for an investigation. Ptl. Popp began to conduct a pat down on Richard for weapons in which he located a glass smoking pipe in Richard’s pocket. Richard was complaint (sic) with officers and explained how to remove the pipe from his pocket. Richard was then asked if he would be arrested for the pipe and Ptl. Popp advised him he would be charged. Richard’s demeanor immediately changed, he tensed his body and began stating he wanted to die. He began to hit his head multiple times in which officers moved in quickly to prevent him from harming himself. I grabbed onto Richard’s leg as Ptl. (Codey) Juillerat gave verbal commands to place Richard on the ground. Once he was on the ground he began to slam his head onto the pavement. Richard was then turned over onto his stomach. Ptl. Juillerat crossed Richard’s feet and I applied weight to restrict and prevent any further movement. Once controlled Richard was brought to his feet… .”
In the WPD incident report entered by Sgt. Ron Cravens, currently the acting police chief, Cravens stated: “Upon my arrival to the scene I saw that the male suspect was detained and secured in front of car 102. I diverted to the black truck which had the reporter (of the incident) and witness to the incident. While speaking with them I heard Ptl. (Darcie) Mayberry radio out that there was a problem and I responded to their location after seeing them placing the male on the ground. Once there I heard Richard (Stewart) complain of his finger hurting and told officers to cross the male’s legs and established a verbal report with Richard. I saw Richard strike his head on the ground and spit stating that he wanted to die. Once Richard started to de-escalate he was stood and spoke with me. He made suicidal comments and stated he wanted to die. EMA was summoned and checked Richard’s right hand and saw no deformities of any of his fingers. He was taken to CMH (Clinton Memorial Hospital) by WPD cruiser where he was scene (sic) for suicidal thoughts.
“I spoke with the reporter who appeared to be visibly shaken and upset. She stated that she was taking out the trash when Richard surprised her with his presence and tried to engage her in conversation. I spoke with her and found that he had made threats to flatten her tires and blow up her car as he was messing with her gas tank. This was also witnessed by Dakota, a co-worker of Emily. She advised that she wanted to pursue charges and requested a T.P.O. (Temporary Protection Order).
“I went to CMH where I assisted with watching the prisoner. I spoke with Common Please (sic) Probation and advised them of what we knew and that I would fax a copy of the report to her office. I found through the urine screen that CMH staff obtained, that Richard tested positive for meth and THC in his urine. Charges and TPO were completed as well as case file. Body cam activated.”