Keith Vidal
Keith Vidal

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association has issued a statement claiming that Southport Police Detective Bryon Vassey was justified in shooting to death a 90-pound schizophrenic teen who had already allegedly been tased and restrained by two other officers.

The Police Benevolent Association says officers followed the law when they responded to a call Sunday that ended with a Boiling Spring Lakes teen being shot and killed.

In a statement, the PBA says after being tased, Keith Vidal, 18, made physical contact with BSL Ofc. John Thomas with the hand he was using to hold a screwdriver. That’s when Southport Police Det. Bryon Vassey, In the PBA’s words, “Employed authorized law enforcement action to stop the continuing threat of deadly harm to Officer Thomas and others.”

In response, I have issued a very simple question to the NCPBA via Twitter.

I’ll let you know if they respond.

Vassey’s lawyer is claiming that Vidal repeatedly tried to stab an officer.

The Southport detective’s lawyer, W. James Payne, has told CNN affiliate WWAY that he believes once investigations into the shooting are complete, “All folks — everybody — will conclude that the officers acted appropriately.”

Payne elaborated to CNN on Wednesday night, claiming his client fired after Vidal made multiple attempts to stab the other officer with a screwdriver. The other officer was wearing a bulletproof vest and was not injured.

I’d be very interested to see photos of the “small electronics screwdriver that Vidal had in his hand that Payne says was a deadly weapon justifying the use of deadly force. I have several, and they look like this.

electronics screwdrivers

While small screwdrivers can indeed be used as a makeshift weapon, I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario where a small teenager who had been repeatedly tased and was allegedly restrained by two officers could have used it effectively. Frankly, inserting a firearm in between two other officers pinning Vidal down seems like more of a threat to their safety than the screwdriver ever could have been.

According to previous reports, a Boiling Springs Lake police officer and deputy sheriff responded to the call and had Vidal calming down when Vassey arrived at the scene.  Vassey then allegedly stated “we don’t have time for this,” before shooting Vidal to death less than 70 seconds after arriving on the scene.