Bar fight case now in hands of AG’s office

Wilmington police’s results from investigation unclear

By GINGER GIBSON

The News Journal — Friday, December 18, 2009

Wilmington police have turned over to the Attorney General’s Office the results of their investigation into alleged police misconduct stemming from a bar fight between two off-duty officers and two men.

Police would not comment on the results of their investigation. The AG’s office, which will decide whether charges should be brought in the case, refused to comment on the investigation or a timeline for completing their review.

An internal investigation is continuing in the Wilmington Police Department, according to a police news release.

The investigation focused on an early-morning fight on Oct. 24 that began inside Dude’s Sports Bar, owned by Wilmington police Sgt. Mark Christopher. The fight, which involved Christopher and spilled onto Union Street, allegedly included racial taunts and slurs.

At one point, a uniformed patrol officer who arrived at the scene and was trying to break up the scuffle used a Taser on state trooper Vincent Clemons, who was off-duty and struggling with another man.

One of the men, David Pitts, 21, of Wilmington came forward to give police a statement and make himself available for questioning in November. According to police, Oscar Chapman, 21, never agreed to a second interview after the night of the incident.

Wilmington police have confirmed that the altercation involved two off-duty officers but refused to name them. At the time of the incident, they said they would release additional details when their investigation was complete. Clemons’ lawyer and Christopher have confirmed they were the unnamed officers.

Clemons’ lawyer, Joe Hurley, has denied any wrongdoing by the trooper. Hurley said Clemons got involved in the altercation after Chapman attacked Christopher. Christopher would not comment.