The police department provided an update about an officer-involved shooting that occurred this past autumn and an officer-involved shooting that occurred earlier this year.
Police spokesman Cpl. Ricky Jackson on Saturday said in an email that in the first case, the department’s professional standards section conducted an internal investigation after Cpl. Bobby Milton Connie Jr., on Oct. 2, 2020, while in the Cunningham area, fired at a man, Ariel Natanzon, who was a suspect in a domestic disturbance.
Jackson said the investigation concluded that Connie followed Rocky Mount policy and procedures and North Carolina law and that Connie was cleared and returned to duty. Connie had been placed on administrative duty with pay.
The City of Rocky Mount has said that Natanzon, after being located by Connie after the disturbance, brandished a handgun, which Connie ordered him several times to drop. Natanzon did not do so and instead pointed the firearm at Connie.
The city has said that Connie fired and Natanzon was struck in the abdomen. Connie was wearing a body camera and the device recorded the gunfire.
The Telegram on Oct. 16 reported that Natanzon was charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
The State Bureau of Investigation also conducted a probe of the shooting.
On March 2, SBI spokeswoman Angie Grube said that the SBI completed its investigation. Grube said that the SBI’s case file was submitted to District Attorney Robert Evans’ office for review.
The second case can be traced back to Feb. 2 in the northern part of the city.
The case involved Officers Hunter Brown and Damian Whitaker and a fleeing suspect, Juan Manuel Cruz Jr., who was injured.
The next day, former police chief and then-interim Chief George Robinson held a news conference about the incident and said Brown and Whitaker had been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Jackson on Saturday said that the professional standards section completed an internal investigation and that Whitaker was cleared and returned to duty.
Jackson said that Brown voluntarily resigned.
The effective date of Brown’s resignation was April 26, according to documents the Telegram obtained from the city showing the list of past and present police department employees dating back to 2017.
North Carolina law does not require a municipality to provide the public with the specific reason why an employee quit his or her job.
Robinson has said that the police responded to assist the State Highway Patrol with a traffic stop in the area of Fenner and Jeffreys roads, where Cruz had fled from a vehicle.
Robinson said has said that Brown and Whitaker encountered a person matching the description provided by the Highway Patrol and that as attempts were made to detain Cruz, shots were fired and Cruz sustained a gunshot wound.
The SBI also conducted a probe of the shooting.
On June 29, Grube said that the SBI completed its investigation. Grube said that the SBI case file was submitted to Evans’ office for review.
An administrative assistant to Evans was emailed by the Telegram at the start of this month seeking information from Evans about the officer-involved shooting on Oct. 2 and about the officer-involved shooting on Feb. 2, but there was no response.
There also were no responses to emails the Telegram sent to that assistant on April 6 and April 26 seeking information about the officer-involved shooting on Oct. 2.
Jackson on Saturday said that the police department will not make statements about investigations by outside agencies or the District Attorney’s Office.