06/29/17 — 911 recording offers new details surrounding death of Wayne County inmate

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911 recording offers new details surrounding death of Wayne County inmate

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on June 29, 2017 7:07 PM

A recording of the 911 call placed May 20 from the Wayne County Detention Center revealed that  inmate Graydon Jermone Parker III, 54, was tazed before becoming unresponsive and not breathing.

The recording obtained by the News-Argus goes on to show that the 911 dispatcher asked the caller if CPR was being conducted. The response was unclear.

Parker died May 22 at Wayne UNC Health Care, two days after being taken there following a struggle with officers inside the Wayne County Detention Center. He had been arrested earlier in the day May 20 in Seven Springs under the suspicion of breaking into a car on Sanderson Road.

A press release after the incident said Parker was uncooperative while being arrested, and continued to be uncooperative and struggle with officers after being booked into the jail on charges of injury to personal property and resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer.

The 911 call revealed a sergeant inside the Wayne County Detention Center called and requested an ambulance.

"This is Sgt. (indistinguishable) from the Wayne County Detention Center," the sergeant says to the 911 dispatcher. "I need an ambulance out here, A.S.A.P."

The sergeant then goes on to tell the dispatcher a "72 or 73" -- police codes for a person in custody and a mental case, respectively -- was "acting out" and "had to be tazed," before telling the dispatcher the person was no longer breathing.

The dispatcher then confirms the person is not breathing, then asks "You need a medic out there? Is CPR in progress?" The sergeant replies, "Yes," and then the dispatcher tells him a medic is en route.

Local authorities have said officers from the agencies involved ---- the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, N.C. State Highway Patrol and Goldsboro Police Department ---- are under investigation. The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident, was unable to  confirm this information by press time.

The extent of each agency's involvement in the incident remains unclear.

Other records requests made by the News-Argus in the month following the incident have been denied.

The SBI has said no one has been arrested, charged or indicted in the incident so far. But the agency declined to release surveillance footage from the jail, or confirm whether any officers involved have been placed on leave.

The SBI also declined to release any use of force or after action reports, as well as the first and last names of the officers involved in the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.

The SBI said public records involved in an ongoing investigation are protected, and therefore not available for release to the public, under N.C. General Statute 132-1.4(a) and (b)(1).

But the SBI did confirm the investigation is being conducted as a use of force case.

The agency also confirmed that the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and North Carolina State Highway Patrol requested full assistance from the SBI in investigating the incident at about 11:30 p.m. May 20, almost immediately after the incident.

A request filed by the News-Argus with the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the autopsy report on Parker's death has also been denied until the case is completed.