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Rashon’s Story | Mistaken Identity and Excessive Use of Force

Then 24-year-old Rashon who was grabbed and slammed to the ground by two RPD officers after officers detained him on the premise that his name was “Lamar,” a suspect in a case. The encounter took place on December 1, 2016.

Rashon was walking down Martin Street when the officers asked to speak to him. They grabbed him without confirming his identity, didn't ask for his name or his identification. The officers charged him with “resist, delay, and obstruct a public officer” (RDO) which was later dismissed by a Wake County judge.

Nationally, RDO charges are disproportionately used against black people, and often dismissed in court. NC Central University law professor Scott Holmes says, “Usually, in those situations, the police have engaged in some kind of misconduct and are trying to cover it up by charging the person with resist, delay, and obstruct.” In Raleigh, majority Black census tracts have more than twice as many RDO arrests per person compared with the city as a whole.

“They didn’t treat me like human being and what’s worse is that I’ve come to expect this from Raleigh PD,” says McNeil. “That wasn’t my first unjust encounter with police and it wasn’t the last.”

Following the incident and the dismissal of the RDO charge, Save Our Sons, a PACT partner, supported Rashon in submitting a formal complaint to the RPD Internal Affairs Division, responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct. On March 14, 2018, Rashon was notified that his complaint was “unsustained.”

“I’m not surprised that a department that polices itself decided that there was no wrongdoing,” says Kimberly Muktarian, president of Save Our Sons. “We have a problem in this country and in Raleigh where we expect an internal department to hold police accountable when we deserve impartial community oversight.”