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State v. Friend

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 2, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
WILLIAM FRIEND, III

Heard in the Court of Appeals September 23, 2014

Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, III, by Assistant Attorney General Marc X. Sneed, for the State.

Anne Bleyman, for the Defendant.

DILLON, Judge. Judge HUNTER, Robert C. and Judge DAVIS concur.

OPINION

Page 147

Appeal by Defendant from judgments entered 6 September 2013 by Judge Cy A. Grant in Hertford County Superior Court, Nos. 12CRS 51133, 13CRS 55.

DILLON, Judge.

William Friend, III (" Defendant" ) appeals from judgments entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of injury to personal property; assault on a government officer; resisting, delaying, or obstructing a public officer; and assault causing physical injury on a law enforcement officer.

I. Background

On the evening of 2 August 2012, Captain Sumner and Officer Benton were patrolling a parking lot during their town's annual Watermelon Festival. The officers observed Defendant and his brother enter a pick-up truck with Defendant seated in the passenger side.

After Defendant's brother started the truck and put it in reverse, Captain Sumner noticed that Defendant was not wearing his seatbelt and asked him to put it on. However, Defendant did not put on his seatbelt, and he began to back the truck up. Captain Sumner asked Defendant a few more times to put his seatbelt on. However, as the truck backed into the street and began to move forward, Defendant still had not put his seatbelt on. Captain Sumner activated his blue lights and conducted a traffic stop.

During the traffic stop, Officer Benton approached the passenger side of the truck and asked Defendant for his identification. Defendant told Officer Benton that he did not have identification and refused to provide the information the officer needed to write him a seatbelt citation. Officer Benton advised Defendant that his refusal to cooperate could result in an additional charge. In response, Defendant exited the truck and turned and grabbed onto the truck bed, " bowing up" his chest and telling Officer Benton to arrest him if he thought he could. Officer Benton then placed Defendant under arrest for resisting, delaying, or obstructing a public officer.

It took several officers to put Defendant into handcuffs. During processing at the magistrate's office, Defendant lowered his shoulder and charged into Officer Benton, though Officer Benton was able to sidestep the charge and avoid injury.

Defendant was then transported by Captain Sumner and another officer to the Hertford County Jail. Captain Sumner escorted Defendant to a holding cell at the jail, removed the handcuffs, and closed the door to the holding cell, believing it would lock behind him automatically. However, the door remained unlocked, and Defendant was able to open it. When Captain Sumner noticed Defendant standing in the holding cell doorway with the ...


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