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‘Somebody help me!’ NC homeless vet’s dog shocked with a stun gun, police video shows

  • August 22, 2022

The scene on a busy Gastonia road last fall took mer seconds to devolve, as two police officers confronted a homeless Iraq War veteran and one shocked the man’s dog with a stun gun, according to body-worn camera video released Thursday by Gastonia Police.

A Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered the release as requested by veteran Joshua Rohrer, Gaston County District Attorney Travis Page and the City of Gastonia, police said in a news release that included the footage.

The October encounter prompted community complaints and outrage on social media about the treatment of the veteran and his dog, Sunshine, and led to the disciplining of an officer who responded that day.

In this image from police video, Officer Maurice Taylor III arrives to assist Officer Cierra Brooks with homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer in Gastonia, NC, on Oct.  13, 2021.

In this image from police video, Officer Maurice Taylor III arrives to assist Officer Cierra Brooks with homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer in Gastonia, NC, on Oct. 13, 2021.

Officers Tasse veteran’s dog

Police on Thursday released more than two hours of video from the encounter.

The video shows Rohrer standing in a narrow, raised median on Gaston Mall Drive at Cox Road as Officer Cierra Brooks drives up and tells him: “I just saw you take money from that car.”

“Yeah, you saw me take money, but you didn’t see me ask for it,” Rohrer replies.

“It’s called panhandling,” Brooks tells him.

“But it’s not panhandling if I didn’t ask for it,” Rohrer tells her.

“Give me your ID or you’re going to jail for resist, delay or obstruct,” Brooks tells him.

“There’s no city ordinance that says somebody can’t give me money,” Rohrer replies.

Officer Maurice Taylor III drives up and reminds Rohrer that he asked the veteran on a previous visit not to stand in the median.

In the video, Rohrer’s dog stands alone on a blanket at the end of the median, away from

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