Crime: Months after a man killed himself while in deputies' custody, new details released about the investigation - PressFrom - US
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CrimeMonths after a man killed himself while in deputies' custody, new details released about the investigation

21:25  15 may  2019
21:25  15 may  2019 Source:   wyff4.com

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Months after a man killed himself while in deputies' custody, new details released about the investigation© Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Polk County Sheriff deputies in custody death

Months after a man killed himself while in custody of Polk County sheriff's deputies, new details about the investigation have come out.

The district attorney found no criminal wrongdoing, but he says the officers may have violated protocol.

The three officers, who have not been identified, were involved in the arrest of 33-year-old Camden Owen McWhirter.

He shot and killed himself in the back of a patrol car inside a secure area of the Polk County Law Enforcement Center.

District Attorney Greg Newman says the officers searched McWhirter at least twice, but missed a hidden gun.

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“The belief is that he had concealed a gun with the use of a belt up around his upper torso,” Newman said. “Question is, should they have still found that? Well, they’ll have to explain that and give some reason as to why the gun was not detected where this man had it.”

McWhirter was initially stopped by officers the morning of Jan. 13, 2019 on Big Level Road on suspicion of driving while impaired.

The DA says McWhirter’s hands were cuffed in the front -- not behind his back -- which is proper protocol during transportation.

The officers tried for hours to get McWhirter to drop the gun before he shot himself.

NCSBI completed an independent investigation of the incident in March, Newman said.

“It raises a lot of questions that the folks in Polk County, I’m sure will answer and they’ll make changes, necessary changes as well.”

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The North Carolina Department of Justice oversees officer training and requires additional training throughout the year.

According to the district attorney, the family has hired a lawyer and can civilly sue the county, but under North Carolina law, if a person is at least 1% responsible for their own death, they cannot collect money from the county.

McWhirter's family declined to comment.

The DA says there’s more to the story and the officers have remained on patrol since the incident.

“Their jobs are more complicated than may appear on the surface and I don’t want anybody to rush to judgement,” Newman said.

WYFF News 4 asked Polk County Sheriff Timothy Wright for comment and was referred to the county attorney.

There has been no response yet from the county attorney.

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