Complaints continue to add up against a recently fired state trooper facing criminal assault charges. A Raleigh woman filed a civil lawsuit claiming excessive use of force.
Kimberly Ingram said Michael Blake pulled her out of her vehicle, forced her to the ground, and sat on her back as he handcuffed her during a traffic stop in March. She contacted the Highway Patrol the day after the stop to report the incident, and felt her concern fell on deaf ears. She retained an attorney soon after.
Ingram said she noticed flashing lights behind her car as she exited I-540 near Lumley Road on March 28, but didn’t think she had anything to worry about as she was not exceeding the speed limit. She kept going towards the Brier Creek shopping center before seeing the trooper driving next to her and making motions to pull over to the side of the road.
“I was cut off by another trooper and at that point everything just went and got out of hand. I was asked to show my hands, and I was putting my car in park,” Ingram said.
“At that point, he (Blake) came over to the car, and I just thought he was just going to ask me to simply get out of the car, but it went just the complete opposite. Basically he came over to the car, opened the door, grabbed my arm, and threw me to the asphalt, putting me face down on the asphalt,” she said.
“He jumped on my back, sat on my back, and handcuffed me, and in doing so, it knocked the breath out of me. It caused me to urinate on myself. It was surreal at that point because I was laying there saying, ‘Is this really happening to me?'”
Ingram said the trooper told her to stop resisting arrest. She said the two troopers discussed the violation which led to the traffic stop, which was a tinted license tag cover she bought in 2007 to keep her custom plate from fading.
She went to an emergency room for treatment for injuries severe enough to make her miss work for several weeks. Ingram said she told the hospital staff she had been assaulted.
The next day, March 29, Ingram called the Highway Patrol to speak with one of Blake’s superiors, and had a conversation by phone with Sergeant Rodney Goswick.
Her attorneys said one of Ingram’s friends served as a witness for the phone call. Some of the claims in the lawsuit are:
- Sergeant Goswick repeatedly minimized Plaintiff’s concerns as to how she was treated by Trooper Blake.
- Sergeant Goswick stated he had reviewed forty-two minutes of footage from the incident and attempted to insinuate the incident did not last as long as it did.
- Sergeant Goswick also stated in reference to Trooper Blake, after reviewing the footage there was room for improvement and the need for additional training was being assessed.
Five days after the incident with Blake and four days after the conversation with Goswick, a Raleigh man named Kyron Hinton suffered serious injuries during an arrest by multiple officers including Blake and Goswick.
The Wake County district attorney filed criminal assault charges against Blake and Trooper Tabitha Davis. Highway Patrol fired the troopers on June 15, and placed Goswick on administrative leave, after a court hearing that morning which identified a dash camera audio recording of the sergeant’s instructions.
“Y’all three just write a statement. Send it to me. We will put it in a folder. No use of force on our part,” said the voice on the tape, identified by prosecutors and a judge as Sergeant Goswick.
Ingram said she contacted her attorney before the Hinton arrest. The same Raleigh law firm is representing her and Hinton.
“When I reported it (to Highway Patrol), I just assumed that they would take measures to keep this from happening to someone else. Obviously that didn’t happen,” Ingram said.
She was relieved after the announcement of Blake’s termination, but she said it was not something to celebrate. Her relief is that there won’t be anyone else at risk of run-ins with the former state trooper.
“I only wish the best. No bad feelings or anything towards him, just that he would get the help this needs and that this wouldn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.
“It’s my faith in God and knowing that everyone can change if they’re given the opportunity to, and this is his opportunity, to realize his wrongdoing and get the help that he needs and change.”
A spokesperson for the Highway Patrol said he is working on getting a response from the Department of Public Safety.
Blake’s attorney in the criminal case, Barry Henline, said Thursday he was unaware of any filings in civil court. He said as a matter of practice, the Attorney General’s Office defends civil claims filed against state law enforcement officers.
CBS 17 submitted a request to a spokesperson for the attorney general but has not received a response.