Attorney defends NC officer who shot, killed teen in front of pa - WRBL

Attorney defends NC officer who shot, killed teen in front of parents at home

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Vidal in a Facebook photo and the scene in a CNN image Vidal in a Facebook photo and the scene in a CNN image

The attorney of a policeman explains why his client shot and  killed an NC teen – allegedly while the teen was being held down by 2 other officers and had already been Tasered on Sunday.

 Southport police officer Byron Vassey is on paid administrative leave after he shot and killed Keith Vidal in the hallway of his Boiling Springs Lakes home – while his parents were there.

 His parents had called 911 for help after the 19-year-old Vidal, who suffers from schizophrenia, had a screwdriver and was threatening his mother.

It was the 33rd time that police had been called to the same home since 2006 for domestic issues, as well as disorderly conduct and a juvenile out of control.

 A 911 call indicates that 2 officers that arrived at the home had little or no trouble with the teen for 10 minutes, but 1 minute after Vassey arrived the teen had been shot and killed by Vassey.

 It's unclear how many of those 32 times in the past Vassey had been at the home. One report from the parents indicates one officer, possibly Vassey, said they "didn't have time" for Vidal just before the shooting.

 Here is the interview between CNN and James Payne, who is the attorney for Vassey:

 CNN: You're telling me this young man was not subdued, he was fighting back?

PAYNE: He was, yes sir.

CNN: He was actually taking that screwdriver and stabbing one of the officers multiple times?

PAYNE: In the abdomen area. Yes sir.

CNN: But not causing any injury?

PAYNE: Apparently he had not. Again the officer apparently had a bullet-proof vest on.

 Vidal was only 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed less than 100 pounds, but according to Vassey's attorney, had become such a threat to the safety of the one officer, that Vassey had no choice but to use deadly force.

 CNN: Did that officer yell for help or ask for someone to shoot this man?

PAYNE: No sir. Did not.

CNN: Then why did the detective feel like he needed to use deadly force at that point?

PAYNE: Because the stabbing motions traveled to an exposed part of the down officer.

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association agrees. The legal support group calls the situation dangerous and calls Keith Vidal's screwdriver a deadly weapon and says detective Vassey used authorized law enforcement action.

 The aggressive and threatening picture described is in sharp contrast to the family's belief that Keith Vidal should not have died.


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