Saturday, 26 September 2020 16:33

Charges dropped against man tazed by Richmond County deputies at football game

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Stephen Sings, red shirt, protests in July against his December 2019 arrest at a football game. His charges were dropped Sept. 17. Stephen Sings, red shirt, protests in July against his December 2019 arrest at a football game. His charges were dropped Sept. 17. RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — All charges have been dropped against a man who was tazed at a Richmond Senior football game late last year.


Court records show that the case against Stephen Sings, of Charlotte, was dismissed on Sept. 17.

A dismissal form included in court documents simply reads: “State elects not to proceed on this charge.”

Sings had been facing a dozen criminal charges: two felony counts of assault with physical injury on a law enforcement, probation or parole officer; five misdemeanor counts of resisting a public officer; three counts of assault on a government official or employee; and one count each of disorderly conduct and injury to personal property.

Sings, who goes by Stephen Black on Facebook, went live on Dec. 6, 2019 as he tried to find a deputy to ask why his son was arrested. 

According to court documents, the son, 23-year-old Stephen Kernal Sings, also of Charlotte, caused a “public disturbance” by using “abusive language” at Raider Stadium, telling school employees, “You are a white racist b---h. F--- you.”

However, documents don’t detail what led up to that.

The younger Sings was arrested and charged with a single misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and taken to the Richmond County Jail, where he was held under a $500 secured bond.

When the deputy refused to tell the father what happened, Sings insisted it was his “duty” to talk to him. At that point, the deputy told Sings to put his hands behind his back.

An altercation soon ensued eventually involving five deputies and resulting in Sings being tazed multiple times and, according to court documents, two deputies receiving cuts and bruises.

“I’m very happy they’ve been dismissed,” he told the RO in a telephone interview on Friday. “But I shouldn’t have never been charged.”

Sings said his arrest was “very unjustified” and if it hadn’t been for the video, which was continued by one of his sons during the altercation, “I would have been stuck.

“All I did, as a concerned parent, was ask a question,” he said. “I could have died … That man could have taken my life from me right in front of my kid.”

According to Sings, the son who continued the recording no longer trusts officers after seeing what happened.

“People don’t look at what the family goes through,” he said.

John Whitehead, a civil rights attorney and founder of the Rutherford Institute, reviewed the video days after the incident and said there appeared to be no cause for the arrest.

“Prior to being ordered to put his hands behind his back, which was almost certainly for handcuffing, Sings had only approached the officer and asked about the arrest of his son, and continued to insist on a response after the officer refused,” Whitehead said. “Nothing Sings did that is depicted on the video or audio indicate he assaulted the officer, resisted them or was disorderly such that the officer(s) had grounds to submit to handcuffing.”

Since his arrest, Sings has been critical of Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons for not firing the officers or apologizing to him.

Clemmons called in the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation for “transparency and seeking the truth.”

Sings also questioned Clemmons’ appointment by Gov. Roy Cooper to the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.

Although his charges have been dropped, Sings said he still plans to continue his push to have the officers involved fired.

The younger Sings' disorderly conduct charge is still pending. His next court date is Oct. 30.