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City To Provide Lawyers For Officers Accused Of Police Brutality

In Fayetteville, officials have agreed to offer legal support to police officers implicated in a brutality lawsuit stemming from a 2020 arrest incident. Sheila Lee, aged 56, filed a lawsuit against multiple Fayetteville police officers, the former Police Chief, and the Mayor, alleging police misconduct during a traffic stop four years prior.

The lawsuit accuses the officers of physically assaulting Lee, resulting in severe injuries, including knocked-out teeth and humiliation in public. Additionally, it alleges an officer punched Lee, causing her to bleed; when she spit out blood, they covered her head with a "spit mask," further complicating her breathing and communication. The city council has unanimously decided to provide the officers with legal representation and has expressed interest in making the body cam footage public.

Councilman Mario Benavente highlighted the potential for ongoing legal challenges against the city, even with legal support for the officers. Lee is seeking an undetermined amount of damages, with the lawsuit calling for a jury trial. The decision on whether the case will proceed to court is pending, under the advisement of the city council and interim city attorney.

The decision by Fayetteville officials to offer legal support to police officers embroiled in a brutality lawsuit only shows the entrenched system of protection and impunity within police agencies. By extending legal assistance to the accused officers, the city council perpetuates a culture of impunity that undermines accountability and erodes public trust in police.

Link: WRAL


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