Joint Statement from DPD and DCSO on Traffic Stop of Delivery Driver
The Durham Police Department and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office want to correct a recent story on the local news that inaccurately said that Durham police officers handcuffed a delivery man and left him defenseless while shots were being fired nearby on June 10. The Durham Police Department has thoroughly investigated this claim and determined that no Durham police officers were involved in this incident. The officers involved were from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.
In a story that ran on June 11 on WRAL TV, the delivery driver told a reporter he was making a delivery on Angier Avenue on the evening of June 10 when he heard shots being fired. He said he got in his vehicle to leave the area but was quickly stopped by law enforcement officers. The delivery driver told the reporter he was forced out of his vehicle and placed in handcuffs with his hands around his back. At that time, more shots were heard and the deputies who had stopped him left to take cover, according to the delivery driver.
The driver told WRAL he had filed a complaint with the DPD on June 11, but the DPD received no complaint from him until 2:30 a.m. on June 21. However, the DPD’s Professional Standards Division had already started looking into the incident shortly after the news story aired on June 11. PSD investigators spoke with officers who had responded to the shooting call, which was in the city limits, and viewed officers’ body cameras to determine if any DPD officers were involved in the incident involving the delivery driver. It was determined conclusively that no Durham Police Department officers were involved in the traffic stop or the handcuffing of the delivery driver.
The Durham County Sheriff’s deputies were in the area to serve a warrant, which was unrelated to the shooting call. Deputies assisted DPD officers in catching a possible suspect in the shooting and in recovering a firearm and a stolen vehicle.
Subsequently, DCSO deputies responded to the area where they heard the gunshots coming from. While responding, people fleeing the area pointed out a yellow Camaro as possibly being involved in the shooting incident. Almost immediately, deputies observed a yellow Camaro attempting to leave the area, at which time deputies conducted a traffic stop to investigate and identify the driver.
The driver of the Camaro complied with the commands of the deputies, exited his vehicle, was handcuffed, and was placed in investigative detention by DCSO deputies. As deputies were questioning the driver additional shots were fired in the immediate vicinity. Deputies took cover for their safety, while the detained man was seated behind his vehicle. Later, it was determined that the driver of the yellow Camaro was not involved with any of the shootings. He was released at that time.
“This is an unfortunate incident that could have resulted in the loss of life at the hands of the indiscriminate shooters”, said Sheriff Birkhead.
“This incident could have been far worse. Lives could have been lost,” the sheriff said.
“Durham must face the fact that we are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence, and we’re watching it play out in our communities every day. Young lives are being lost at an alarming rate. Enough is enough. The Durham Police officers and the deputies of DCSO responded bravely to identify and apprehend the suspects involved in this shooting incident. They did their job. Thankfully, no one was killed this time,” Sheriff Birkhead said.