WATCH: Raleigh police officer head-butted during investigation, large crowd gathers

Wake County News

WARNING: The video above contains explicit language that may be offensive to some viewers

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh police will seek the release of body cam footage after a weekend incident where an officer was head-butted by a juvenile during an arrest, according to a press release.

Officers were heading to a home in the 5500-block of Wood Pond Court on May 10 to serve a warrant on multiple suspects when they saw four people standing near a car in the 5400-block of Talserwood Drive, police said. Two of the four were named in the warrant.

As police moved closer to the car, they reported the odor of marijuana and “detained all four individuals,” the release said.

While searching one of the juvenile males named in the warrant, “he head-butted an officer, causing injuries that required the officer to seek medical treatment at a hospital. That subject was taken to the ground to control him and prevent any further injury,” authorities said.

While police were investigating, “a large crowd gathered and became agitated. Multiple officers were called to the scene for crowd control,” the release said.

Another person who was detained at the scene “became combative and attempted to flee,” police said. He was arrested and taken into custody.

Tamellia Baker, wearing a beige shirt, is seen in the witness video given to CBS17 approaching the officers as two men are detained. 

“I’m asking them ‘what’s going on?  That’s my child.  We live over here,'”she said.

Baker says her 17-year-old son, D’Angelo Baker, was one the people detained by police.  In the video he’s sitting on the ground, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.

Baker says her son was not involved with the two men police were looking for, but happened to be in the parking lot speaking to a neighbor when officers arrived.

“As they are cooperating there is a little scuffle with one of other guys they had in hand cuffs.  Then they asked them to get up,” she said.  “As my son went to get up, the officer snatched him up.  When he grabbed my son, my son said ‘don’t touch me.’ Next thing I know there were seven officers on top of my son.”

She says officers had their “knees pressed up against his face on the concrete.”

Baker says her son has never been in trouble with the law, and is preparing to head off to college with a wrestling scholarship and dreams to pursue engineering.  She says this incident has shaken him.

“This situation really got out of control,” she said.

She questions why so many officers were involved in the arrest.

As the video plays the crowd around the officers gets larger and grows more frustrated.

In a second video shared with CBS17, the agitated crowd yells at officers.

“You saw a tremendous amount of disrespect. People antagonizing these police officers, trying to get them to do something that would escalate the situation. The officers maintained a tremendous control and professionalism,” said Rick Armstrong, a former police officer who works for the Raleigh Police Protective Association. 

Armstrong says the officers needed to control the crowd so the investigation could continue.

“It could be very concerning for a police officer because they are certainly outnumbered and there’s a lot of unknowns.  They don’t know who in the crowd has weapons, what they are capable of doing,” he said.

The officers conducting the investigation were wearing body cameras that recorded the incident, police said. Raleigh police will file a petition for the release of the footage.

Officers eventually searched the home listed in the warrant and found marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and stolen items related to previously reported burglaries.

Willie Harvey Witherspoon, Jr., was arrested and charged with possession of a Schedule IV and a Schedule VI controlled substance. The juvenile who police said assaulted an officer “was placed in secure custody and approrpiate juvenile petitions were filed,” officials said.

The owner of the vehicle that police stopped to investigate was not charged. The fourth person, another juvenile, was also not charged and was released to his parent.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing. Police released cellphone video of the events, which can be viewed above.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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