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Speaker at South Boston Council meeting alleges mistreatment by police

South Boston News
Shelquon Edmonds presents his statement to members of South Boston Town Council / December 10, 2019

Members of South Boston Town Council heard allegations of police mistreatment from a 20-year-old county man who said he suffered bruises and lacerations during a Nov. 30 traffic stop by South Boston Police.

Shelquon Edmonds, a Halifax-area resident, spoke at the end of Town Council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday night to complain about harsh treatment by town officers. Edmonds said he was injured when Officer B.R. McGuire put him in a chokehold, pressed his face against the pavement and struck him twice in the leg with his baton as he was lying in the parking lot of the Riverdale Food Lion.

“He was very aggressive with me,” he said.

In a written statement provided to Town Council members, Edmonds offered his account of the incident, claiming he complied with officers’ orders and was driving properly at the time of the traffic stop, although he was told by police that a headlight was out on his car.

Contacted Tuesday, South Boston Police Captain Dennis Barker declined to address Edmonds’ description of the traffic stop and ensuing encounter with police, saying the matter is under internal investigation.

“We are still looking at that complaint,” Barker said. SBPD received the written complaint from Edmonds on Thursday of last week, he added.

Barker said Edmonds was charged in the incident — on two counts of obstruction of justice and driving a vehicle with a defective headlight, according to court records. He also has been charged separately with failure to appear in court. His hearing date in General District Court is set for Jan. 27, 2020.

Police first made contact with Edmonds earlier in the evening of Nov. 30, around midnight, when they were called out to Badeaux’s Seafood Grill on Seymour Avenue to investigate a reported altercation there, Barker said. After talking with restaurant security, officers observed Edmonds and a group of others crossing the street to Adams Fitness Center, where the group’s vehicle was parked.

The lot is posted as no parking, and Officer D. McGuire saw the car was still on the property, Barker said. McGuire also spotted damage to the vehicle’s front end, and the chain used to block off the parking lot was also damaged. Police further witnessed one of the group pouring beer out of a container from the parked car, Barker said.

After the vehicle drove off from the Adams Fitness parking lot, McGuire and a second town officer followed the group out to Riverdale and initiated the traffic stop there.

In his statement to Council members, Edmonds said he and three passengers were in the car when police pulled them over. He had driven out to Sheetz and “I noticed two cop cars following me.” Edmonds said he turned into the lot of the Riverdale shopping center and brought his vehicle to a stop in a well-lit area in front of Food Lion.

When McGuire approached his vehicle and told the occupants to roll down their windows, “we all complied,” Edmonds wrote in his statement. “There was also a woman officer that approached my car on the passenger side. I then proceeded to ask him why I was being pulled over because I knew I was driving properly.”

McGuire asked for his license and registration “while telling me I had a headlight out,” Edmonds continued. “I politely corrected him by saying ‘sir I have two headlights, you can step in front of my vehicle and look for yourself.’”

“I am not stepping in front of your vehicle,” was McGuire’s response, according to Edmonds.

The exchange prompted McGuire to order Edmonds out of the car, according to his written statement, and that is when Edmonds and two other people in the vehicle began to record the interaction with police on their cell phones. “We all had a mutual funny feeling about what was going on,” wrote Edmonds in his description of the incident.

McGuire reached into his vehicle to open the driver’s side door, and “I calmly exited my vehicle making no sudden movements to alarm the officer in any way,” Edmonds claimed. “He [McGuire] then said to me ‘put the phone down.’ I said ‘no sir I have every right to record,’” Edmonds continued.

McGuire then “slammed my license and registration on the roof of my car very aggressively” and “I started to say ‘please please please’ because I was in fear of police brutality because he was acting in an aggressive manner,” Edmonds stated.

Edmonds contends he was then grabbed by the arms by both officers and McGuire shoved him into a car door ordering him not to resist. McGuire put on a choke hold, “yanking and applying force onto my neck,” Edmonds wrote. Edmonds said he told the officer he wasn’t trying to resist arrest, but he said he was confused why he wasn’t told he was being arrested or detained.

“I still have no clue what is going on at this moment,” he wrote in his statement.

Edmonds said passengers in his vehicle called out to tell him to “just lay down,” which is what he said he did.

“The second my body was completely on the ground officer McGuire grabbed a weapon off of his belt, cocked back, and struck the back of my left thigh twice,” Edmonds stated. The officer dropped on top of his back, “mushing my face on the parking lot” and “started giving me orders that I could not comply with because of the position he had me in.

“I began to yell out ‘Oh My God’ numerous times because of the pain he had me in,” he stated.

Edmonds said the video that he and his two friends recorded of the encounter has been turned over to legal counsel in Richmond. He declined to say whether he is considering legal action against the town, citing ongoing discussions with an attorney.

Captain Barker said the South Boston Police Department is also in possession of video evidence from the officers’ body cams. Barker said he has not had time to review the video at any length. “It’s been a busy week,” he said.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Edmonds, a 2017 HCHS graduate, said he chose to present his complaint directly to Council members because “personally, I don’t trust the people in charge” of the police investigation. “That’s why I wanted the right people to hear about [the incident],” he said, referring to Council.

In the back of Council chambers, Police Chief Jim Binner listened to Edmonds’ remarks but offered no response.

The only comment came from Mayor Ed Owens, who told Edmonds that his complaint would be reviewed. “We’ll have the town manager and police chief check into this and somebody will get back to you,” Owens said.

Moments before Edmonds made his remarks to Council, Town Manager Tom Raab heaped praise on the South Boston Police Department for its handling of the Dec. 7 shooting in Centerville that claimed the lives of two brothers, 20-year-old Davonte Powell and 17-year-old Tevin Powell, both county residents.

Police arrested the suspected gunman, a 17-year-old, after town officers were able to establish the identity of the teen from accounts offered by witnesses who were interviewed at the scene. Raab said South Boston police “went above the call of duty” in arranging for the juvenile suspect to turn himself in on the night of the shooting.

“I can’t say enough for what they did and the professionalism they showed,” said Raab, who offered a tidbit from the crime scene investigation. A State Police tracking dog passed over the discarded gun which is believed to have been used in the slayings, Raab said. The weapon was found by a town officer searching the area on foot.

“I just want Council to know what a good job they did in a very sad and senseless situation,” said Raab.

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play the race card much?


Considering this is the same department that contributed to the death of the man who was removed from the hospital they drove him to when he showed symptoms of excited delirium , and was and denied medical care from the 20 plus tasing he suffered from three full grown officers who couldn't subdue a handcuffed man. It seems teh Use of Force policy which cost the SOBO citizens several million dollars already is in dire need of publication and review. As a concerned citizen we have ZERO tolerance for over eager LE who want to exceed the use of force for a "headlight" issue. To act so aggressive when a motorist denies your request to stop filming is a liability for the citizens and city. FOIA the officers body cams video.

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