Man assaulted, arrested for taking video of sheriff’s deputies
WBTV Investigates: Lincoln County deputies tased man who called for medical help
DENVER, N.C. (WBTV) – A man was assaulted and arrested while taking video of an incident involving Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies and other first responders inside a brewery.
Firefighters, paramedics and deputies were called to Lake Norman Brewing in February 2021 for a man who appeared to be in medical distress.
During the call, deputies tried to arrest the man and, ultimately, tased him.
After deputies tased the man who had called for help, Timo Trojer, who was at the brewery separately from the first man, took out his phone and started taking video of the incident.
The call for help, tasing and what happened next was all caught on surveillance camera video from two angles inside the brewery.
The video shows that after Trojer started recording the incident, a firefighter came over and told him to stop. A second firefighter came up and knocked Trojer’s phone out of his hand.
Then, seconds later, Trojer was shoved to the ground and into the deputies who were tending to the man who had just been tased.
Trojer was arrested, taken to jail and charged with assault on a government official. The charge was later dismissed, court records show.
The man who was tased was charged with resist, delay and obstruct as well as assault on a government official. Court records show his charges were dismissed, too.
Trojer, who is from Austria and moved to the Charlotte region for work five years ago, said he was shocked at what happened.
“I try to know the laws in the county I am in, so I know that it’s my First Amendment right,” he said. “So that’s all I did at that moment and I didn’t expect that would happen at all.”
Attorney Brad Smith said Trojer absolutely had a right to record deputies and other first responders.
“Of course you do, it’s your First Amendment right,” Smith said.
When Trojer got his phone back, the video he had recorded was gone. The surveillance video from inside the brewery shows a sheriff’s deputy picking up the phone. The screen appears to still be in record mode.
The deputy then walks out of the frame.
“Without a search warrant, going into somebody’s phone and erasing things within the phone is certainly highly unconstitutional, so that would be concerning, if true,” Smith said.
This incident with Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies is the third time in two years WBTV has investigated a questionable arrest or use of force.
First, WBTV uncovered a deputy punching a 16-year-old in the face while his hands were cuffed behind his back outside of an emergency room. The boy’s mother had taken him to the ER to seek emergency mental health treatment.
Then, in November 2020, deputies restrained and handcuffed a 19-year-old who was having a seizure inside the courthouse.
Sheriff Bill Beam and a spokesman both did not acknowledge multiple emails seeking comment for this story.
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