Bald Head Island, NC — A family’s dream vacation would quickly morph into a nightmare after they crossed paths with police in North Carolina. For allowing her son to drive a golf cart, a woman was brutalized, arrested, shackled, and charged with child abuse. Part of the incident was caught on film.
Julie Mall and her family look forward every year to their vacation at the luxury resort on Bald Head Island. However, thanks to police in North Carolina, the Mall family has changed their annual destination.
The incident began last July as the family was returning from the beach to their $1,000 a night cottage and Mall’s 11-year-old son asked to drive the golf cart. Seeing no harm in doing so, Julie and her husband Scott let their child have the wheel.
When a rookie cop saw the 11-year-old driving the cart, however, their dream vacation would come grinding to a halt. Approaching in his cop golf cart, Officer James Hunter, apparently starving for an arrest, targetted this family and claimed that Julie and Scott were both drunk.
“I thought maybe he was having a bad day. He was agitated. He was yelling, making vigorous hand gestures, leaning into the golf cart,” Stephanie Phelps, Julie’s niece said to the Charlotte Observer.
Her aunt’s responses to the officer were respectful, Phelps says, and no one was intoxicated.
“He asked Aunt Julie if she was drunk, and she said ‘no,’ and he wouldn’t let it go. He kept asking her, ‘Are you drunk, have you been drinking?’ … He wasn’t speaking in a calm tone. He was yelling, threatening to take her kids away from her.”
Both children were frightened by the encounter, she says.
“It took me hours to get them to calm down,” she says. “They thought they might never see their mom again. It was terrible.”
After realizing that her children were in danger by being near this officer, Julie asked Stephanie to take the kids back to the cottage. Minutes later, all hell would break loose.
“As soon as I came up there, I saw him start coming toward her,” Scott Mall said. “My reaction was to film it so we’d have some proof because I knew this wasn’t an up-and-up situation.”
Scott Mall says no one was drunk. Other Bald Head officers he talked to that night, he says, were calm, courteous and professional, reports the Observer.
“It became a frightening situation,” he says. “It escalated out of control.”
Clearly distraught by the fact that she was being kidnapped by armed men, Julie Mall began screaming. This screaming was perceived by police as resisting, and so officer Hunter applied force.
Instead of simply letting the family drive back to their cottage with a warning not to let their son drive the cart, Julie Mall would be thrown to the ground, arrested, brought onto the ferry with no shoes, and booked into jail. During her stay in jail, she was put in leg shackles, as this 5’4″ 125-pound woman was clearly a danger to officers.
After refusing to tell her why she was in jail and never testing her for intoxication, police would charge later her with child abuse — for letting her son drive a golf cart.
Luckily for the family, justice prevailed, and after going to court twice, the judge dismissed the charges.
Below is a video illustrating the nature and tendency of police to escalate otherwise entirely irrelevant scenarios into violent and dangerous ones. Julie Mall and her family had not harmed anyone, yet this woman was brutalized, kidnapped, and charged with a crime by people who claim to keep society safe.