A deputy in Burke County is on administrative paid leave and an investigation is ongoing after a video showed the deputy restraining a man by his neck last week.
Under the sheriff’s office Use of Force Policy, chokeholds are considered a form of deadly force and are prohibited with limited exceptions.
“Holds that may choke or restrict the ability of an individual to breathe may be considered the use of deadly force and are thus prohibited except to defend the Deputy or a third person from what the Deputy reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly force or an assault that could result in serious physical injury,” the policy says.
In the video posted Saturday to TikTok, which has garnered more than 70,000 views, a deputy can be seen holding a man with the crook of his elbow pressed against the man’s neck. Another deputy can be seen standing in front of the two with her arms stretched in front of her.
The man appears to go limp and the deputy lowers him to the ground before the recording ends.
A second video, uploaded Sunday but taken during the same incident, seems to show the man after he collapsed. He is awake and standing but pressed against the side of the patrol car.
Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said Tuesday afternoon that the incident is under investigation and has been since Saturday.
He said a deputy has been placed on administrative leave with pay for the duration of the investigation and that he expects to release additional information soon.
Whisenant would not confirm which arrest led to the incident.
An arrest that occurred around the same time in the same location was based on an outstanding warrant from another county, and the man involved also faces two charges of resisting and officer in the Friday arrest.
Warrants filed Friday at the Burke County Courthouse for resisting a public officer said the man refused to comply with commands to stop resisting and put his hands behind his back.
Officers reported he tried to pull away, and tried to wrestle away a deputy’s pepper spray. That struggle, according to the warrants, resulted in the deputies being hit by the spray.
Deputies with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office do not wear body cameras. Whisenant has requested funds to purchase those for deputies from the Burke County Board of Commissioners, but those requests have been declined.
This is a developing story. More information will be published as it becomes available.