A reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer has filed a petition to compel the Graham police department to release video and audio recordings of a controversial traffic stop and several subsequent arrests two weeks ago at The Pines Apartments on Ivey Road in Graham.
N&O reporter Carli Brosseau filed the petition last week in Alamance County civil superior court. The petition is seeking the release of “any visual, audio, or visual and audio recording captured by a body-worn camera, a dashboard camera…that relate to a traffic stop and/or subsequent interactions between Graham Police Department officers and people at The Pines apartments, 720 Ivey Road in Graham, on the afternoon of April 21, 2022.”
Two Graham police officers had been conducting a traffic stop that culminated at The Pines on April 21, when a bystander attempted to interfere and ignored verbal commands not to interfere.
That individual, Wesley Alexander Cobb, 19, black male, of 736 Ivey Road, Apartment G, Graham was ultimately taken to the ground, handcuffed, and charged with assault on a government official. Two other bystanders were also charged with resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer for allegedly attempting to interfere with the traffic stop.
The other two individuals charged with misdemeanor resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer were: Matthew Jamal Cobb, 22, black male, of 736 Ivey Road, Apartment G, Graham; and Christopher Lee Jordan, 29, white male, of 740 Ivey Road, Apartment A, Graham.
Graham police chief Kristi Cole assured The Alamance News in an interview last week that the two officers’ conduct and all of the evidence surrounding the incident is being fully investigated by her department and by an external agency.
The driver, who had been stopped for seat belt violation, complied with the officers’ instructions and was cited and released without incident, assistant police chief R.S. King told The Alamance News last week.
The court filing represents a bellwether for potentially forthcoming litigation over what critics of the police department have described on social media as “police brutality.”
Previously, a coalition of North Carolina media outlets, which included the Raleigh News & Observer, fought for the release of body camera footage recorded during the “march to the polls” that ended with pepper spray in downtown Graham on October 31, 2020.
While the media coalition won an initial court skirmish – when Alamance County superior court judge Andy Hanford ordered the release of the footage in June 2021 – Hanford’s order was later stayed, pending the outcome of a ruling by the state Court of Appeals. That case remains pending in the Court of Appeals.