Those at gathering call for review of Oct. 13 incident

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 25, 2013

SALISBURY — At a Thursday evening meeting at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, local NAACP leaders called for the community to act against what they say are incidents of racial bias and misconduct by Salisbury Police officers.
In particular, members called attention to an Oct. 13 incident that sparked the outcry.
But questions remain as to the nature of the incident that night.
The 6 p.m. meeting was attended by about 40 citizens, along with several reporters and camera crews.
Jill Tindal joined Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Scott Teamer and local activist Dee Dee Wright at the event to speak on the reported mistreatment of Tindal’s son, Graham Hosch.
According to Tindal, on the night of the Oct. 13, Hosch’s windpipe was crushed by Salisbury Police as he was leaving a downtown bar.
According to court records, Hosch, 30, has been charged with three misdemeanors — two counts of resisting a public officer and one count of disorderly conduct.
Teamer, Wright, Tindal and others gathered at the front of the church.
Tindal began by saying, “It’s time for things to be exposed … a lot of injustices,” without going into specifics.
“I just want to see things done the right way,” Tindal added.
When Tindal was asked how she felt about word from city officials that an investigation was being launched into the incident, Teamer answered, “Let me comment on that.”
When a reporter said he’d like Tindal to answer, Teamer replied, “I’m talking, it’s our event.”
He said he felt internal investigations were unreliable.
“We think it’s a conflict of interest to investigate yourself,” Teamer said, adding that the group was “leaning toward” asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.
Throughout the approximately 10-minute session with the media, Teamer said he and other leaders want to “sound the alarm” about what they said was a long history of excessive force and racial bias on the part of Salisbury Police.
“We see things spiraling out of hand, and we want to sound the alarm, to get the community involved,” Teamer said.
Teamer said the group does not want to see individual officers singled out. “We’re looking at leadership. We’re looking for a cultural change,” he said.
Among the changes Teamer said need to happen are an increase in the number of African-American officers in the leadership ranks of Salisbury Police.
No photos of Hosch were immediately available, and it was unclear whether there were any plans for Hosch to comment.
Tindal said her son had required emergency surgery due to his injuries.
However, according to other media reports, a source with knowledge of the case said Hosch’s injuries had occurred during an earlier altercation at the bar, before police officers arrived.
Teamer could not be reached for comment on those allegations.
City officials also declined to comment on the specifics, citing an ongoing investigation.
A statement issued Thursday afternoon by city Director of Public Information Elaney Hasselmann said city officials are “in the process of investigating the allegations made by Mr. Teamer about the Salisbury Police Department.”
“We take all allegations very seriously, and will conduct a thorough investigation,” the statement continues. “Once the investigation is complete we will take appropriate action and release a statement to the public about the outcome of the investigation.”
The city responded to Teamer’s concerns about hiring practices by stating that out of the 12 police officers hired within the last year, “five (5) were minority hires.”
The statement concludes: “The City of Salisbury has a long history of partnership with the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for the betterment of our community.”
Hasselmann responded to a reporter’s question later that evening with a second statement saying there would be an outside review of the allegations.
“Our standard policy regarding use of force complaints includes an outside review by the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office,” the statement reads.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.