Lawyer blames man’s ICU stay on forceful traffic stop by Trooper Blake
A Pennsylvania attorney said his client was so severely beaten by a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper in 2016 that he was in intensive care for 10 days.
Raphael Rogers was pulled over by Trooper Michael Blake on U.S. Highway 1 in Apex on Aug. 31, 2016, and he suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a head injury as a result of the traffic stop.
“In a civilized society no one is above the law,” said Rogers attorney Devon Jacob. “Most troubling is that both the Highway Patrol and prosecutors have been aware of this incident for almost a year, and to my knowledge did not take corrective action until after Kyron Hinton was assaulted.”
Both Rogers and Kimberly Ingram, 44, a disabled Navy veteran, who was pulled over by Blake on March 28 on Lumley Road off Interstate 540, have filed complaints about Blake with the Highway Patrol. Ingram also filed suit in June against the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees the patrol.
Blake, Trooper Tabithia Davis and Wake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cameron Broadwell were indicted in June on charges of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and willfully failing to discharge duties in connection with the April 3 arrest of Hinton in Raleigh.
Blake initially stopped Rogers for speeding, saying he was going faster than 75 mph, and dashcam video shows the two men discuss real estate investments in Blake’s patrol car while the trooper fills out the paperwork. Rogers says he just arrived in the Triangle from New York and had rented a car to drive to Wilmington to check on some rental properties.
Rogers tells Blake he hadn’t been arrested since the 1980s, but a check of Rogers’ criminal history shows he had been charged with drug trafficking in Lenoir County in 2011. Blake questions Rogers about drugs and asks to search his car.
A Cary Police Department K-9 is brought in to help search the car, and Rogers grows increasingly impatient as he sits in Blake’s cruiser watching the search.
“I need to call my lawyer because this is crazy,” he tells another trooper. “I’m being detained illegally.”
Blake informs Rogers that the K-9 has signaled the presence of drugs in the car, but Rogers insists he doesn’t have any drugs on him or in the car.
The rest of the incident occurs out of view of the dashcam, but Blake’s mic picks up audio of the arrest outside the patrol car. A second trooper and the Cary K-9 officer also were involved.
“Turn around. Turn around. I’m going to tase you if you don’t. Stop,” Blake yells.
“Put your hands behind your back!” various officers yell at different times. “Get your arms behind you. No. You want some more elbows? Get them back there.”
After a minute or so, a sharp sound can be heard, followed by a muffled cry.
“Bring the other one back, or I’ll do it again,” Blake tells him.
Once Rogers is handcuffed, Blake lectures him on the folly of trying to resist arrest.
“All you had to do was put your hands behind your back. You chose to resist, then you chose not to respond to the Taser right away,” he says. “You chose to flee and then fight. That’s why you got tased. That’s why you got hit.
“You think you’re going to mess with troopers and everything’s going to be OK? No,” he continues. “It took three of us to put you on the ground, and then when that happened, you were trying to grab for my gun.”
Rogers apparently disputes that he was reaching for Blake’s gun because the trooper then yells, “Oh, yes you were. Oh, yes you were.”
Officers found two ounces of heroin on him, but the charge was later dropped as the judge ruled the search unlawful.
A number of law enforcement officers confronted Hinton, 29, near the intersection of North Raleigh Boulevard and Yonkers Road in Raleigh as officers responded to reports of a man with a gun yelling at passing cars.
Hinton said he suffered a broken eye socket, broken nose, multiple cuts on his head, “probably 20 bite marks” and memory loss after several officers pushed him up against a patrol car and beat him up while a Wake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 bit him on his right arm, side and head. Like Ingram, he has filed suit against DPS over the troopers’ actions.
Blake and Davis were later fired following an internal investigation by the Highway Patrol.
On Thursday, Blake’s attorney, Joe Chesire, said there will be answers for what happened in each of these incidents, but he is asking the public not to pre-judge his client before the criminal case comes to court.
He said Blake was simply doing his job in each case and Cheshire believes he will be exonerated.
“My client is a man who has selflessly served his country for 20 years in places like Kosovo and Iraq and in law enforcement. This service should at least bring with it a willingness on behalf of all people, to allow the process to make a proper determination,” Cheshire said in response to Jacob.