Five New Hanover (North Carolina) Sheriff's deputies have been disciplined after tasing and arresting a man at his father's funeral this past Saturday.
Gladwyn Russ III was wanted on a domestic warrant for a threatening to kill his wife. The plan was for deputies to arrest Russ after the funeral, but a miscommunication at the sheriff's department resulted in two plain clothes detectives taking him in to custody while he was acting as a pallbearer, and sliding his father's casket in to the hearse.
From the New Hanover County Jail, Russ told the story of how sheriff's deputies arrested him at his father's funeral. “I was just in awe. I didn't know what was going on because I was watching my daddy's casket pass through my hands for the last time," he said.
Startled, he fought back. That is when Russ was tased, cuffed and taken to jail. "It just amazed me the show of force they had for just a little crime,” he said.
But the New Hanover County Sherrif's Office said it’s more than just a little crime. Russ is charged with threatening to kill his wife; a domestic related charge that Sheriff Causey said, isn't taken lightly.
“He had avoided us, he promised to turn himself in, but he just simply would not,” said Causey.
Arrangements were made for Russ to report to the jail last Monday. When he did not, a plan for his arrest began to take shape. The plan was for deputies to arrest him after the graveside service.
“They tried to arrest him as they were leaving the funeral home. That was our mistake. I take full responsibility for that. I'm sorry for any interruption this caused,” said Causey.
Since August, sheriff's deputies have made 19 visits to Russ's house. The majority of visits were failed attempts to arrest him. In fact, the last time they tired to arrest him, Russ barricaded himself inside a home, and refused to go peacefully with law enforcement.