NC Trooper involved in Lenoir Co. fatal shooting has history with use of deadly force

Posted at 11:19 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 23:19:15-04

Perquimans Co., N.C. - A North Carolina State Trooper placed on administrative duty this week for a fatal shooting in Lenoir County has been under investigation for use of deadly force before.

"My husband had called me because he said he saw his brother's face on the news" says Juanita James. "I said, 'Oh my God, the same trooper is at it again.'"

On Sunday, North Carolina Highway Patrol says Trooper William Hardison was responding to an incident at a night club when two men ran towards him.

One of the men, 18-year-old Deriante Miller, pointed a gun at Trooper Hardison, so he fired his weapon, fatally shooting Miller.

Back in December 2010, Juanita's brother-in-law, Clayton James, died after he was tased by Trooper Hardison following a failed traffic stop and chase.

Juanita and her husband Carlton, James' brother, exclusively gave NewsChannel 3 dash cam video of that chase.

Juanita says they received it from the District Attorney after Trooper Hardison was cleared of any wrong-doing.

"Maybe now they'll listen and they'll see what evidence we do have."

A spokesperson for Highway Patrol says Trooper Hardison originally pulled James over for suspicion of impairment.

The dash cam video shows a friendly interaction at first.

"I might know you, I might have seen you around somewhere," Trooper Hardison says on the dash cam video.

Trooper Hardison then asks James to get out of the car. In the video, the two move out of sight of the camera, but there is audio of Trooper Hardison repeatedly asking James to take his hand out of his pocket and he doesn't seem to comply.

The two come back into the view of the camera during a visible struggle, then James gets in his car and takes off.

Trooper Hardison begins to chase him in his vehicle. The video shows that James stops at least twice during the pursuit, then takes off again. At one point, Trooper Hardison crashes into James' car and he continues to drive.

The chase ends at an abandoned home when James gets out of the car to run off. After Trooper Hardison follows him, the audio on the dash cam suddenly drops out.

Police say during this chase, Trooper Hardison tased James. While waiting for back-up, James went unresponsive.

He later died at the hospital.

"It was out of character and that's what is so painful," says Carlton.

"They said he was tased three times, but when we got the report it says he was tased 29 times," says Juanita.

She showed NewsChannel 3 the report from the State Bureau Investigation.

It lists 29 discharges, and two of the discharges last for more than 30 seconds each.

"That was a big red flag," she says.

NewsChannel 3 requested James' autopsy report from the Medical Examiner. Because it is a dated case, it will take at least a few days to access that report.

A spokesman for North Carolina Highway Patrol says James died of cardiac arrhythmia.

James' family is hoping this new case involving Trooper Harding will give them the closure they wanted all along.

Trooper Harding is currently on administrative duty as the North Carolina SBI investigates the fatal shooting in Lenoir County.