Salisbury pays out to woman at center of videotaped arrest controversy | Crime
SALISBURY - A Salisbury woman who videotaped her arrest for resisting police and was found guilty on the charge in court has been given a monetary settlement by the City of Salisbury and North Carolina League of Municipalities after the conviction was dismissed.
Felicia Gibson was awarded $25,000, according to her attorney, of which the city paid a $5,000 deductible.
"The North Carolina League of Municipalities settled this case, Scott MacLatchie with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice may be contacted regarding this matter for further detail," said an email received by WBTV.
The case began in 2009 when Felicia Gibson maintained that Salisbury Police Officer Mark Hunter had no right to come into her house and arrest her as she watched an unrelated traffic stop take place in front of her house.
After two days of testimony Judge Beth Dixon ruled that Gibson was guilty in that she had interfered with Officer Hunter's ability to do his job in dealing with the traffic stop. Gibson had posted a video of the incident on YouTube.
Jake Sussman of Charlotte was Gibson's attorney. He told WBTV he did plan to appeal the ruling.
"We're ready and willing to take it to superior court under NC rules," said Sussman. "12 Rowan County jurors will hear this evidence...Ms. Gibson will be found not guilty."
The incident happened with a traffic stop near 819 W. Fisher St. The traffic stop was the end of a chase in which drugs and gun were found and two suspects ran from police.
At one point, Officer Mark Hunter notices people standing on the porch of Gibson's home, including Felicia Gibson, her father, and a neighbor, and orders them inside.
Hunter then arrested Gibson, charging her with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer.
In court during the original trial, Gibson's lawyer argued that only 10 seconds elapsed from Hunter's command for her to get in the house, and for him to cross the 40 feet from the street and arrest her.
The attorney said her constitutional rights were violated and that Gibson has a right to stand on her own front porch and watch police officers doing their jobs.
He also pointed out that during the time Gibson was on the porch, she never said anything or approached the police.
While on the stand Officer Hunter told the judge that he had to be aware of the surroundings as he worked the traffic stop because he said "the last time I was out like that, people were throwing rocks and bottles at me. It would be the perfect opportunity for somebody to take a pot shot at an officer."
Judge Dixon determined that by having to deal with Gibson, it took Hunter away from handling what had been a volatile traffic stop and the judge said Gibson, and others needed to respect law enforcement.
"I was very disappointed in the lies that was told today," 29-year-old Felicia Gibson told WBTV at the time. "I was disappointed in the judge ruling, justice needs to be served."
At the time Gibson was given a 30-day suspended sentence and ordered to perform 29 hours of community service.