FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) – More than a month ago, a 14-year-old Wake County teen was hand-cuffed in the front yard of his home. The teen’s family says he was wrongfully detained.
According to Fuquay-Varina police, on Jan. 30, a woman and her boyfriend met the teen, Malcolm Ziglar, at his home where he was selling a dirt bike through Facebook Marketplace. The woman believed it to be her dirt bike that she had reported stolen to Harnett County in November.
Police said after a discussion, the couple left to get money to pay, but instead went to the Fuquay-Varina Police Department to report that the woman knew where her property was located.
Officers arrived to the home and ultimately detained Ziglar.
After reviewing the vehicle identification number on the bike, it was determined to be stolen.
Ziglar’s mother says they didn’t know the dirt bike was stolen and says Malcolm and his father bought the bike more than a week earlier from someone online.
The family also says during the incident, Malcolm asked for his father, who was inside the home, but was denied.
Mayor John W. Byrne released the following statement regarding the incident:
“On Saturday, March 6, 2021, in the spirit of transparency, the Town released the body camera footage recorded during the investigation of reported stolen property involving Malcolm Ziglar, a 14-year-old juvenile resident of Fuquay-Varina. Mr. Ziglar was named by the victims of the stolen property as being the suspect in possession of and attempting to sell the stolen property. During the investigation, Mr. Ziglar was detained while officers sought to gain more information regarding the matter as this was being investigated as a felony stolen motor vehicle case. While there are some in the community that believe the Fuquay-Varina police officers involved handled the matter inappropriately and should not have put Mr. Ziglar in handcuffs and should have first inquired with his father, the facts are that Mr. Ziglar was described to officers as the named suspect and a physical description was provided. When officers arrived on the scene, they were able to witness and ascertain that Mr. Ziglar was in possession of the described property and for the safety of all involved, followed procedure and process to detain him until further details could be retrieved. The Fuquay-Varina officer to arrive first on the scene did not immediately know Mr. Ziglar’s age nor did he know if Mr. Ziglar was armed or a threat in any way. It is not an uncommon procedure for an officer to detain a suspect while gathering information related to a complaint where probable cause exists. In no way did the officer detain Mr. Ziglar because of race. It has been concluded that while there is always room for improvement, the Fuquay-Varina officers involved in this matter addressed the situation professionally and within policy and legal parameters. It has also been concluded that the concerns of those involved were immediately taken seriously and addressed by conducting an internal investigation into the actions of the responding officers beginning the same night as the on-scene investigation. The Fuquay-Varina Police Department and Police Chief are fully supported regarding the way this matter was handled. In no manner did a dereliction of duty take place by the Fuquay-Varina police officers involved or by the Police Chief. From here, I call on all Fuquay-Varina citizens to move forward. The Fuquay-Varina Town Board voted to place responsibility on the Public Safety Committee to evaluate ways to strengthen relationships in the community between citizens and the Town. The Committee’s charge is not related to the Ziglar matter. The Committee’s work on behalf of the full Town Board is being done because there is a genuine interest by the Mayor and Town Commissioners to do the best job possible with strengthening bonds and trust between the community and all departments of the Town. We can only do this if we are committed to working together towards a common goal.”