The State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to look into an alleged use of excessive force by a sheriff's deputy in a Sunday arrest.
Homer Lee Cook, 29, of 1025 Iron Lane in Morganton, was charged with felony probation violation, misdemeanor resist, delay or obstruct a public officer and possession of drug paraphernalia Sunday, according to a release from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.
A use of force report was completed by the deputy, and an internal use of force investigation was completed by BCSO, the release said. Sheriff Steve Whisenant requested the SBI investigate the allegations and turn their findings over to District Attorney Scott Reilly after comments made by Cook and his mother Rachel Morris.
The investigation into the use of force comes after a Sunday incident when a deputy made eye contact with Cook as they passed each other at the intersection of Zion and Amherst roads, according to a release from the sheriff's office. The deputy turned his car around and Cook pulled into the driveway of 1150 Amherst Road before he jumped and ran, the release said.
Cook ran behind a house, then back to the front of it before falling. He attempted to get back up, according to the release, but “the deputy caught up and forced Cook back to the ground.”
The release said Cook continued to try to get back up while the deputy tried to keep him down and handcuff him.
Cook was handcuffed without further incident after he told the deputy “you got me,” the release said.
Surveillance video from neighboring houses shows part of the chase, and Cook falling on the ground. The deputy appears to get on top of Cook and hit him multiple times.
According to the release, the deputy checked Cook for injuries and found a small cut to his head and a cut to his nose, and the wounds had stopped bleeding by the time he was put in the deputy’s car.
The release said when Cook did not request medical care, he was taken to the magistrate’s office.
Cook showed The News Herald on Tuesday that he had staples still in his head after seeking medical treatment Sunday night after he posted bond and was released from Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility. His mother, Rachel Morris, said Tuesday that he had to get seven staples total, but one had fallen out.
The sheriff's office release on Thursday said the deputy was aware Cook had a warrant because of an incident Saturday when the deputy assisted a Drexel police officer.
Reportedly, the deputy saw Cook and his father, Robert Cook, at the Citgo gas station in Drexel and saw Homer Cook jump out of the car and run into the woods.
Robert Cook told The News Herald on Tuesday that his son was not in his car Saturday.
Homer Cook’s bond was set at $12,500 for the charges with a district court date set for Nov. 4, the release said.
More information will be published as it becomes available.