This incident occurred on September 6, 2022. Ms. Dunlap began her workday as a property manager in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Her boss asked her to visit, inspect and photograph a property where unknown individuals had illegally dumped trash on the property. She arrived, exited her vehicle and began taking photos of the property with her cell phone. Afterwards, she got back into her car. Suddenly, Officer Haddock with the Fayetteville Police Department approached her. He had parked his vehicle on the private property and represented to Ms. Dunlap that he was searching for someone who had run from the police. He then proceeded to interrogate Ms. Dunlap, questioning her as to the purpose of her presence on the property, implying that she was engaged in criminal wrongdoing.
By the way, Harry Daniels, one of Ms. Dunlap’s lawyers, publicly challenged the Fayetteville Police Department’s claim that the officers involved were looking for a violent suspect who had last been seen half a mile away from the property. He said his team obtained police radio traffic implying there were no potentially violent suspects nearby. “The only person they was looking for was 20 miles away,” he said.
Detective Bell with the FPD then approached the back of Ms. Dunlap’s vehicle, as Ms. Dunlap politely and truthfully cooperated with the interrogation being conducted by Haddock. Bell then retrieved the vehicle’s license plate information, as Haddock continued to question the driver. However, Haddock’s questions and demeanor became more accusatory and harassing. Sensing that the officers were now detaining her under false pretenses and without a sufficient legal justification, Ms. Dunlap asserted her right to be free of unlawful seizures and requested to leave the property.
Officer Haddock informed Ms. Dunlap that she was not permitted to leave, and therefore seized her for Fourth Amendment purposes. He demanded Ms. Dunlap’s identification card. She provided her name, as well as other information, but did not provide her card. Upon seeing that Ms. Dunlap was recording them detaining a citizen on private property without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, Detective Bell, the female officer, then approached the driver’s side door and began physically pulling at Ms. Dunlap, attempting to forcefully manhandle her out of the vehicle.
The officers then forcefully removed Ms. Dunlap from the vehicle, snatched her cell phone out of her hand, thus ending her protection free speech of recording law enforcement actively engaged in misconduct, and physically harming her and then handcuffing her. Ms. Dunlap had an underlying condition of sickle-cell anemia. She began hyperventilating. She began breathing irregularly and then vomiting. As this was happening, the officers opened Ms. Dunlap’s fanny pack and obtained her identification card, without her consent.
After Ms. Dunlap is already in handcuffs, Sergeant Chris Kempf arrived on the scene. After seeing what was transpiring, he released Ms. Dunlap from he handcuffs. However, the officers still had her keys and she was unable to leave the scene. The officers did not provide Ms. Dunlap with a citation or other charging document. On September 8, 2022, Ms. Dunlap filed an internal complaint with the Fayetteville Police Department. On October 25, 2022, she filed a federal section 1983 lawsuit against the City of Fayetteville, the chief of police, Officer Ryan Haddock and Detective Amanda Bell.
Several times in the footage, the officers mention “RDO.” Here’s what that is:
Resisting, Delaying, or Obstructing an Officer in North Carolina is defined by NC General Statute § 14-223:
“If any person shall willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
The law states that if a person 1.) reasonably knew that the person they were resisting was an officer (the officer wore his/her uniform and badge and acted like an officer, or an undercover or plain-clothed officer made it known he/she was an officer) and that 2.) the defendant intentionally resisted or obstructed the officer, the person can be convicted of this misdemeanor. However, when giving orders or making an arrest, the officer must be lawfully discharging his/her official duties.
On October 25, 2022, she filed a federal section 1983 lawsuit against the City of Fayetteville, the chief of police, Officer Ryan Haddock and Detective Amanda Bell. There are three primary civil rights violations here under federal law: unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment for the initial seizure and then prolonged detention, excessive force under the Fourth Amendment for the manner in which she was taken into custody, and First Amendment retaliation, for the officers’ response to Ms. Dunlap filming them.
Here’s the lawsuit: