City releases 911 recordings in response to police brutality claim
Recordings released by the city of Salisbury today reveal a fight possibly involving more than 20 people took place at a local bar the night a man was injured in what the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP calls a case of police brutality.
A source with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that Graham Hosch was injured in the fracas before police arrived at Benchwarmers on Fisher Street.
Hosch’s mother, Jill Tindal, says officers crushed her son’s windpipe, requiring emergency surgery.
A man called 911 from Benchwarmers twice that night, first saying 20 people were fighting, then saying as many as 30 were brawling on a deck behind the bar.
The frantic man asked the dispatcher to send every officer on duty to the business.
Two or three officers arrived — it’s unclear from the recordings — as the man was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher the second time. He said the fighting continued after the officers got there.
Several times, the dispatcher asked if anyone needed medical attention.
“I don’t think there’s anybody hurt,” the caller said.
The caller said someone involved in the fight had left in a 1988 Lincoln. The man who’d left had a knife, the caller said, but he didn’t know if he’d used it to hurt anyone.
Tindal says her son wasn’t injured in the fight. She said at a Thursday press conference organized by the NAACP that the officers assaulted him as he was leaving the bar.
Hosch, 30, was not at the press conference. He has been charged with two counts of resisting a public officer and one count of disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.
Local NAACP leaders call this the latest in a long history of excessive force and racial bias on the part of Salisbury Police Department officers.
Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Scott Teamer said his organization sees things “spiraling out of hand, and we want to sound the alarm, to get the community involved.”
Teamer also said the NAACP is considering asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. He called it a “conflict of interest” for the city to investigate its own officers.
The city countered in a statement that one of its values is diversity and that Salisbury has “long history of partnership with the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for the betterment of our community.”
City officials say they’re investigating the allegations and also will ask the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office for an outside review, which they say is standard policy for use-of-force complaints.