Officials say transparency of controversial Rock Hill arrests coming but investigation must finish

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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WJZY) — With the recent viral arrest of the Price brothers, there’s a growing spotlight on the Rock Hill Police Department.

WJZY found complaints and lawsuits against the department dating back several years.

Overall, people say they just want to see more transparency and today, officials said they want to give it. But first, they say they have to conduct their investigation properly.

“We’re only looking at one side of the story, and you know as journalists, there is more than one side to the story,” NAACP President Dr. Norma Gray said.

So far, the community has only seen cell phone footage and surveillance footage of a controversial arrest in Rock Hill.

Video shows officers struggling with Travis and Ricky Price after a traffic stop. Police stopped Ricky for a traffic violation.

They say they found drugs and a gun in Ricky’s car. The brothers’ attorney claims new video shows police were the aggressors and not the other way around.

But community members want to see what was recorded on the body cameras. Today, we learned they’ll have to wait.

“The people that were on the scene have not all been interviewed yet by SLED’s representatives or the solicitor’s office,” Rock Hill mayor John Gettys says. “It does not make sense to release other videos that might change someone’s memory of their view at the scene, and that’s why they’re being withheld.”

With a crowd of mostly media, Rock Hill NAACP president Norma Gray says she wants to see more consistent input from the community.

“People are angry. The people I saw out there protesting that I was calling for calm for, I didn’t see any of them out there on the grass,” she said. “Until we reach them, we are not reaching the community.”

In the latest Rock Hill Police Department report, 2019 saw a total of 31 citizen complaints, a 15 percent increase from the year before. However, several complaints came from one person.

There weren’t any complaints of bias-based profiling during that year. The report stating “This clearly demonstrates” that the department’s practices “Have been administered fairly to all persons.”

But Fox 46 uncovered at least five lawsuits filed against the city of Rock Hill and or the police department in 2020 for false imprisonment, excessive force and personal injury.

Most recently, 71-year-old Jethro Devane says he was pulled from his home at gunpoint in the middle of the night while completely naked.

Rock Hill police were looking for kids who had allegedly broken into a nearby car.

SLED will wrap up interviews and its investigation. Then it’s up to the solicitor’s office to release that footage.

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