Burlington police chief gives play-by-play of arrest that ended with 3 officers injured, suspect in hospital

BURLINGTON, N.C. — The man accused of assaulting three Burlington police officers has been released from the hospital, and is being held on a $1.25 million bond.

Bobby Lamont Harvey

The officers say Bobby Lamont Harvey, 41, of Burlington, was uncooperative during the investigation and assaulted his arresting officers.

The Burlington police chief offered a play-by-play of a recent arrest after a video surfaced on social media.

Harvey and the officers were treated at Alamance Regional Medical Center and released with non-life threatening injuries.

He was charged with three counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer and resist, delay and obstruct.

When a video of the arrest appeared on social media on Sunday, Police Chief J. Jeffrey Smythe said some called him a "lying pig." The police chief says the video does not show the full context.

Smythe said in a Monday news conference that, at about 9:45 p.m. that night, a woman called to say she had been assaulted. The caller said the assailant had left and she intended to go the police department the next day. She said she did not want police to come.

A short time later, the phone called 911 again and hung up. This led police to believe the assailant may have returned, so police went to the scene.

Police found two men in the area, including Harvey, who police say matched the description of the suspect and was behaving suspiciously. Officers had the name of the suspect they were looking for, but Harvey did not have an ID on him to prove that he was not the suspect.

Harvey was later determined not to be the suspect in the assault, and police later found the actual suspect.

As police were still trying to determine Harvey's identity, he began to walk away, and officers told him he was being detained but not arrested.

Smythe said Harvey resisted. Per protocol, the officers grabbed both of his arms.

The man then "swung elbows," according to Smythe.

Officers tried to bring Harvey to the ground to cuff him properly, but the man partially broke loose and began trying to go down the street, according to the police chief.

That's when an officer used a Taser on the man.

Smythe said Harvey took control of the Taser and shoved it into one of his arresting officers' chest, shocking him. Another officer was also shocked by the wires.

An officer then repeatedly hit Harvey to stop the attack.

Police say Harvey then bit an officer's thigh.

Officers were able to subdue Harvey using the RIPP Hobble method and made sure he was breathing properly and did not have any obvious injuries.

Jail staff determined Harvey was under the effect of either alcohol or drugs, and he was brought to the hospital.

The police chief said he later met with the suspect in the hospital. He says Harvey has no bruising, swelling or broken bones and does not appear to have been substantially harmed by officers.

After reviewing the bodycam video, Smythe said the video posted to social media begins about 51 seconds after officers first made contact with Harvey.

Smythe said there is "absolutely" a need for investigation and that the police department will be doing an internal investigation. No officers, however, were suspended.

The police chief asks anyone who intends to watch the video to watch with the sound off to form an opinion without the comments from police or bystanders.

Smythe said he cannot show the bodycam video without a court order which the department is working to get.

The police department invited NAACP and Martin Luther King Coalition of Alamance to the Monday press conference.

According to arrest warrants, Harvey initially told officers his name was Travis, a fake name, before later punching Officer P.D. Bolling in the face, breaking the skin above his eye, punching Officer W. Steele, breaking the skin on his cheek, punching Officer Thaddus Hines, breaking the skin on his hand, using a Tazer on Hines and knocking Hines unconscious.

 

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