Vance County deputy faces misdemeanor assault charge after video surfaces, DA says

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HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) – The Vance County district attorney said the deputy seen on video slamming a middle school student on the floor will face misdemeanor charges.

Vance County District Attorney Mike Waters

The deputy, identified as Warren Durham, will be charged misdemeanors including assault on a child under 12 and child abuse.

The maximum penalty for Durham would be 90 days in jail.

Vance County District Attorney Mike Waters’ announcement comes a day after the deputy in the video was fired from the sheriff’s office.

Waters said Durham can not be charged with a felony as the boy did not suffer serious bodily injury as defined by North Carolina law.

The boy did not suffer any broken bones, fractures, broken teeth or a concussion, Waters said.

Waters said, “I think by the grace of God this child was not more seriously injured. And, although it appears and looks like a vicious assault in North Carolina and other states we have to look at what actually happened, what are the injuries?”

The boy’s grandfather, Pastor John Miles, said the decision frustrates him.

“I was hoping for a felony. Are we disappointed? Yes, we are. But, right now the law book is the law book,” he said.

Miles commended the district attorney, sheriff’s office and State Bureau of Investigation for their work on the case. He said he’s started reaching out to state legislators about changing the state law regarding child abuse.

“Make a few phone calls to Raleigh, to try to tell some of those folks in Raleigh, senators and talk to them about how we can get this changed on the law book because this is not a good law,” he said.

Warren Durham was served with the charges against him Tuesday. A magistrate set his bond at $10,000, which he posted. CBS17 has reached out to him for comment, but he has not replied.

“What you did to my grandson was a disgrace to God. But, me as a pastor, I forgive him,” said Miles.

On Dec. 13, Sheriff Curtis Brame said Vance County Schools filed a complaint with his office concerning a juvenile being assaulted by a law enforcement officer.

The incident that took place Dec. 12 at Vance County Middle School was captured on video.

The video shows a deputy pick up a student and slam him to the ground twice before dragging him off-camera. There is no audio on the recording.

After reviewing the video, Brame handed the investigation over to the State Bureau of Investigation.

The SBI completed its investigation Monday, Waters said.

On Monday, Vance County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson called the acts of the deputy “unacceptable and egregious.”

He also said the district is modifying the agreement it has with the sheriff’s office.

The boy’s grandfather said they are disappointed the deputy isn’t facing felony charges.

Note: A previous version of this story stated Durham could face a maximum of 120 days in jail as stated by Waters. The district attorney later corrected himself.

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