GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A petition filed by Gastonia Police and the Gaston County DA’s Office to release body-cam video of Officer Maurice Taylor and Officer Cierra Brooks’ encounter with disabled veteran Joshua Rohrer on October 9 and October 13, 2021, has been approved.
Gastonia made the recordings from October 9 and October 13 officially available to the public.
Gastonia Officers arrested Rohrer on October 13, 2021, and charged him with two counts of resisting a public officer, soliciting alms, and soliciting from the highway.
According to Gastonia Police, a Gaston County grand jury twice reviewed the charges against Rohrer stemming from his October 13 arrest and found probable cause for those charges.
NC General Statute §14-223 makes it a misdemeanor to willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge an official duty, GPD said.
On October 9, Officer Taylor came across Rohrer in the median on Gaston Mall Drive at Cox Road. In the newly released body-worn camera video, Officer Taylor is seen warning Rohrer that he could not stand in the median, but could stand on the sidewalk.
During a second interaction several minutes later after Rohrer moved to the sidewalk, Officer Taylor is seen in the video speaking with Rohrer about Rohrer’s military service and checking to see if Rohrer was aware of and receiving any services that are available to veterans.
On October 13, Officer Brooks came across Rohrer, standing in the median with his service animal, Sunshine. Brooks is seen asking for identification to write Rohrer a citation for panhandling. Rohrer is seen in the video denying that he’s panhandling and refuses to give identification until Officer Taylor arrives at the scene.
In the released video, the conversation between Officer Taylor, Officer Brooks, and Rohrer escalates as Rohrer finally hands over his Veteran ID and not a State ID.
Officer Taylor proceeds to arrest Rohrer, with the help of Officer Brooks, as Rohrer is seen getting visibly upset, shouting, “Somebody help me!”
An officer is heard saying, “Call your dog off,” as Rohrer’s service dog, Sunshine, became involved. Officers tasered Sunshine as Rohrer is seen screaming, “Do not shoot my dog!” and “Why are you doing this?”
Rohrer was arrested following the encounter with officers.
Court documents show that officers didn’t track down the service animal following Rohrer’s arrest, and the animal was found struck and killed by a vehicle while loose on the street two days later.
Gastonia Police said an arrangement was made with the District Attorney’s Office and Rohrer pled guilty to an unrelated charge of ‘driving while license revoked’ on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
Rohrer has been sentenced to a probationary term of 24 months upon the condition that Rohrer participates in the Catawba County Veterans’ Treatment Court.
In exchange for his guilty plea and participation in the Veterans’ Treatment Court, the District Attorney’s Office has dismissed the charges stemming from Rohrer’s October 13, 2021, arrest.
The City is pleased that the resolution of Mr. Rohrer’s charges includes his participation in Catawba County’s Veteran Treatment Court where he can receive services specifically tailored to his needs.City of Gastonia