WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem police filed charges against one of the men shot by two police officers last week, alleging that he used his car to hit the two officers.
James Edward Plater III, 32, was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official.
Officers Brady Ferguson and Brian Ayers shot Plater and Aonta De’Vaux Ruth, also 32, around 12:24 a.m. Friday after authorities said Ferguson attempted to stop Plater at North Liberty and 16th streets.
Assistant Police Chief Connie Southern said Thursday that Ferguson had attempted to stop Plater for having an expired registration and expired inspection. She said Plater sped away and that Ferguson stopped Plater again at North Liberty and East 16th streets.
Ferguson, Southern said, got out of the car with his gun drawn and gave certain commands to Plater, who she said ignored them. Plater’s car hit Ferguson in the left knee and then hit the left rear bumper of Ferguson’s patrol car as it sped away, Southern said.
That’s when Ferguson fired his gun, she said.
Plater drove his car through a parking lot, striking a parked car, then crashed through a chain link fence. Southern said Plater’s car continued east through the parking lot of the Citgo gas station at 1522 North Liberty St. The car then crossed North Liberty Street, striking a utility pole guide wire and metal post.
The car then headed into the parking lot south of Gilmore’s Funeral Home. Southern said that Plater steered his car toward Ayers, who was responding on foot to assist Ferguson. Ayers fired at the car, which Southern said was going at a high rate of speed. Plater then veered the car away from Ayers and hit the south side of Gilmore’s Funeral Home.
That version of events differs drastically from an account that Ruth gave to the Winston-Salem Journal on Wednesday. He said that Ferguson rammed his car into Plater’s, got out of the car and immediately started firing. He said that Ferguson did not say anything to Plater before shooting.
He said that before Ferguson rammed his car into Plater’s, he turned on his blue lights but not the siren. He said that Ferguson and Ayers fired multiple shots into the car.
Southern said Thursday that Ruth gave a different version of events to SBI agents than he did to the Journal but declined to say exactly what Ruth told them.
Ferguson and Ayers remain on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is routine in shootings involving officers. The Winston-Salem Police Department is also continuing its investigation into the traffic stop.
Plater remains in Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he is now in police custody. When he is released, he will be placed in the Forsyth County Jail under a $100,000 bond. His court date is scheduled for Nov. 21.
Ruth has not been charged in the incident.