Raleigh, NC — A North Carolina judge released a series of disturbing videos last year showing the horrifying attack on a man who had done nothing but walk down the road. Kyron Dwain Hinton, 29, had harmed no one and committed no crime when he was surrounded by police, mauled by a K9, pistol whipped, kicked, punched, and stomped on—for nearly five minutes. Now, one of the key players in that attack has pleaded guilty and will likely get off with a wrist slap.
The assault charges against disgraced officer Michael Blake were dropped this week in exchange for a plea to two misdemeanor charges of willful failure to discharge his duty. It’s unclear at this time if Blake will spend any time in prison.
Michael Blake – one of the state troopers charged with beating Kyron Hinton in April 2018 – is pleading guilty to failure to discharge duties in a Wake County courtroom this morning. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/cIVlyEpnwS
— Ed Crump (@EdCrumpABC11) January 13, 2020
This guilty plea comes in spite of Blake’s not guilty plea in 2018. “Trooper Blake will plead not guilty and continues to look forward to his day in court,” Blake’s attorney said in 2018. Apparently that has all changed.
According to the report, Blake is also forced to relinquish his law enforcement license.
— Ed Crump (@EdCrumpABC11) January 13, 2020
As ABC 11 reports, in addition to being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, Blake was later charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. Investigators said Blake gave misleading statements to State Highway Patrol about the arrest and his use of force.
The incident happened on April 3, 2018 and the videos are so horrifying that all the officers involved, not just Blake were charged for it.
Troopers Tabithia L. Davis and Michael G. Blake were fired or their role in the beating and were charged with assault inflicting bodily injury and willfully failing to discharge duties. Their patrol sergeant, R.W. Goswick was also placed on administrative leave for his role in instructing the troopers to cover it up. The trooper was captured on video telling his officers to lie.
Dashcam video from the scene captures Goswick telling Davis, Blake, and another trooper Zachary C.Bumgardner to lie on their statements and report “no use of force on our part.”
Goswick would conclude—in spite of the horrific video showing otherwise and officers admitting to the abuse—that all the troopers did was “assist in holding the man down” and “that nobody threw any punches.”
According to police, they received a series of calls about a man walking down Raleigh Boulevard around 10 pm. When police responded to the area, they found Hinton.
First on the scene was the North Carolina Highway patrol, followed by Raleigh police. Things remained calm as officers talked to Hinton until Wake County Deputy Cameron Broadwell arrived on the scene with his police dog, Loki.
Hinton was peacefully standing there, talking with deputies when deputy Broadwell decided the time for talking was over. Without cause or provocation, Broadwell begins shouting at Hinton to get on the ground.
“Get on the ground now or you’re gonna get bit,” the deputy calls out. “Get on the ground or you’re gonna get bit. Get on the ground or you’re gonna get bit.”
Hinton appears confused and frightened and does not immediately get on the ground. At this point, Broadwell forces the dog to bite Hinton and as he goes down, Broadwell begins punching Hinton in the face.
“Get him, get him, get him!” Broadwell screams as more than a half dozen cops pile on top of this unarmed man.
The chaos and gore was so horrific that even one of the officers yelled, “Get that f—king dog out of here!”
Hinton, who was clearly distressed, can be heard saying “Yahweh help,” and “God is good.”
After nearly five minutes of dog biting and beating, the dust settled and police attempted to justify the pseudo lynching they just dished out.
“He wouldn’t get on the ground,” Broadwell said, claiming that he thought the situation was a 10-80, police code for a chase in progress. But there was no chase, and Hinton—although he may have been in a diminished mental state—was simply talking with police, who had him entirely surrounded.
“I sicced my dog on him while he was in the middle of the street,” the deputy tells another officer as he breathes heavily, catching his breath. “My dog bit him in the side. I’ve got to take pictures of the dog bite. I got to get my camera, man.”
During a portion of the video, Broadwell is heard saying, “I’m glad my radio broke, man. I punched him in the face while Loki was biting him.”
Another officer then says, “hey,” as if to warn him he was being recorded on body camera.
Broadwell then responds, “Yeah, yeah, it’s fine. I gave him a chance to get down on the ground.”
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman wrote in a petition that during the struggle, “a voice believed to be that of Trooper M.G. Blake is heard commanding one or more of the officers on the scene to start hitting Mr. Hinton in the head, to hit him in the head again, and to hit his head with a flashlight.”
“These commands were given multiple times and were interlaced with profanities,” Freeman said. “At one point, an officer can be seen hitting and kicking Mr. Hinton while he is on the ground.”
Despite officers admitting on video that they severely beat Hinton, as the News Observer reported at the time, Goswick said “that no use of force by the Troopers on the scene could be seen,” Freeman stated, before later adding that the Highway Patrol’s use of force policy indicates that “striking an individual in the head with a flashlight is considered use of deadly force.”
For two months, the police departments blocked all the footage from being released. However, Wake County Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley eventually responded to the multiple requests from media and finally released the video.
According to the News Observer, Hinton initially was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting a public officer and assault on a law enforcement animal, but Wake prosecutors dismissed all charges against him.
For walking down the road, Hinton was severely beaten, mauled by a K9 and hospitalized for several days. He suffered 21 dog bites all over his body, a broken nose and a fractured eye socket.
The taxpayers would later be held liable for the beating and Hinton was awarded an $83,000 settlement from Wake County Sheriff’s Office. Sadly, he would never spend the money because he died the very next day. The medical examiner concluded that Hinton died as a result of cocaine toxicity and homicide.
Below is the disturbing video.
The audio clip of troopers being instructed to lie is below.