Winston-Salem swears in new police chief amid controversy
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.– The city of Winston-Salem officially swore in its new police chief, Barry Rountree, at City Hall Sunday amid a sea of controversy after he shot a woman in the leg last week.
Rountree responded to a call of an armed man on North Jackson Ave Wednesday and shot at Tamara Whitt’s dog, Lebron, because he says it was “acting aggressively.” The shot ricocheted off the dog, hitting Whitt in the leg.
A group of about 10 people, including Whitt, protested the swearing-in ceremony outside of City Hall. Whitt says she’s not looking for a settlement, just a simple apology.
“I came for an apology today, really, but this man hasn’t apologized. You know a bullet went through my home, and my kids were inside my home. That’s why I’m so passionate,” Whitt said.
Whitt said she plans to hire an attorney to fight Rountree’s clearing. She says officers should not have the freedom to shoot, whenever they feel threatened.
“It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than a personal injury. Everybody keeps saying ‘Oh you’re going to get paid,’ I don’t care about that. I care about whether the next family that’s with their pet could potentially be in danger,” Whitt said.
Rountree would not comment directly on the shooting, but says he’s ready to move forward and get started as chief Monday morning.
“We do have a good police department. We will work to improve our relationships with our entire community,” Rountree said.