After initially telling PINAC readers that he had no plans of issuing a formal statement on the viral video showing a deputy confiscating two phones from citizens because she was in fear for her life, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown was forced to retract that plan.
After all, not only did Photography is Not a Crime readers continued hammering the sheriff’s line with calls, a number of local and national media news organizations also began to make inquiries.
But the statement he released this morning, after going all day yesterday claiming he had not even seen the video, was everything we would expect from Brown, saying that although deputy Natalie Barber’s actions were “very zealous,” there is nothing she did that can not be remedied through an additional six weeks of “direct one-on-one supervised training” on how to handle civil disputes and understand what constitutes lawful arrests.
Basic fundamentals she should have learned in the police academy if she didn’t insist on yelling so much.
Perhaps Brown can team her up with Craig Culpepper, the Onslow County sheriff deputy who was caught on camera last year in a road rage incident, coming under tons of media criticism, forcing the sheriff to order him to resign.
But once the media hype died down, Sheriff Brown quietly rehired Culpepper, forgiving him for causing an accident on a South Carolina interstate before fleeing the scene.
Brown, who will be facing a primary election in less than a month, has also accused his political rival, Hans Miller, of being connected to a series of bomb threats directed at several businesses and government agencies throughout the county over the previous few months.
An 18-year-old man was arrested on those charges, but the sheriff claims the teen stated that Miller set him up to the threats, claiming he has recordings of the confession.
Miller recorded a call between himself and Brown where the sheriff comes across as he is trying to intimidate his rival into dropping out of the race by calling a press conference and informing the media of the alleged connection between Miller and the suspect.
Here is a portion of their conversation. The entire transcript is here.
Brown: he says you put him up to it
Miller: Put him up to what?
Brown: Put him up to the bomb threats and I’m probably looking at doing a media release Monday on it. And I want to know if you want to be there to defend yourself.
Miller: Well, I will tell you the truth and, Ed, I will tell you I did not put him up to that. That is an allegation. If he makes that allegation he is a doggone liar.
Brown: Well that shouldn’t be strange, Hans. We’ve got liars around Onslow County. I listen to them every morning; I listen to them every morning on the radio.
Miller: And I hear them too and it bothers me because you know I just don’t like lies. Now we all know that an undercover operation is kind of a lie ‘cause when someone says ‘are you a cop’ you don’t answer ‘yes I’m a cop’ so that is, you know because we’re all …
Brown: What I’m going to do, I’m just going to call the media in, Hans, and let them listen to the man’s story. Let them decide whether it’s a lie or not and that’s my fault, matter of fact, uh …
It doesn’t appear as if Brown ever released the teen’s recorded confession and now the district attorney is supposedly looking into it, an investigation, I ‘m sure, will be completed only after the May 6 primary election.
Read Brown’s statement on the Barber incident below: