At the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting, Aydin Lyrik, a self-employed Greensboro resident, told the nine commissioners – and the audience in the meeting room and watching on TV – that he underwent a harrowing experience last August in which he was shackled naked in the Guilford County jail in Greensboro for hours, called the N-word and mistreated after being arrested on a drunken and disorderly charge.
According to Lyrik, the incident happened at the hands of Guilford County detention officers after he was arrested outside of his grandmother’s house during a night of drinking.
Lyrik said he’s secured Attorney Seth Cohen of Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen in his attempt to get justice. He said he and Cohen had viewed available video from the incident but he added that at one point an officer turned off the body cam after one shouted “You’re hot!” to indicate to the other officer that that officer’s body cam was turned on.
Jim Secor, the attorney for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, vehemently denies that Lyrik was mistreated. He said Lyrik was drunk and out of control and officers were forced to restrain him. Secor blasted Lyrik’s account in an email and offered a scathing denial of many of the key claims.
On Friday, Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers, who was at the commissioners meeting where Lyrik made the claims would only say that the incident occurred before he was elected sheriff and that he will not comment on matters currently under litigation. Rogers referred all questions to Secor.
At the meeting, Lyrik recounted his version of events to a very attentive audience of commissioners.
Lyrik, who said he works for himself in the transportation industry, stated that, after being brought into the jail, he was told to strip and he said that at one time, six detention officers were restraining him with unnecessary force. He said he had lacerations after the event even though the jail’s medical report claimed there were no injuries.
“One officer had a knee in my neck and another in my back and on two occasions I was put in the position of the hogtie position,” he said.
He also said that one officer came into the cell alone and called him a “half-breed n——.”
“I ask that you all hold these people accountable, not just for me but for whoever else went through what I went through,” Lyrik told the commissioners at the Feb. 7 meeting.
In a lengthy response to the Rhino Times, Secor wrote, “Initially Mr. Lyrik and his lawyer claimed that the Sheriff’s Detention Staff had ‘stripped and beaten’him. Those were their precise words – ‘stripped and beaten.’ They put those words in writing. In response, the Sheriff’s Office cooperated fully in reviewing the matter and in allowing Mr. Lyrik and his lawyer examine all of the available Jail video which included wall-mounted facility cameras and body-worn cameras.”
“That review proved Mr. Lyrik’s claims to be false,” Secor wrote. “He was not ‘stripped.’ On the contrary, in his highly intoxicated and highly obnoxious state, he took off his own clothes.”
Lyrik told the Rhino Timeson Friday, Feb. 8 that he did in fact remove his own clothes but only because he was ordered to do so by a detention officer.
Secor wrote that Lyrik had to be restrained for his own protection.
“Sheriff’s Detention Officers entered his holding cell only after he began to smash his fist against the inside of his cell door,” Secor wrote in the email. “At that point, he was, in fact, shackled to prevent him from harming himself or staff. He remained naked for a period of time because it would have been unwise to physically force him to put on the clothes that he had just taken off. He was physically restrained and then shackled by our people, but that was only after he lost control of his temper in his highly intoxicated state.”
Secor added that Lyrik was never beaten and said that at no time was he punched or kicked – nor did detention officers deploy pepper spray or use a Taser, a baton or a firearm.
Lyrik said it’s true that he wasn’t beaten or tazed but he was injured and mistreated when, for example, an officer pressed a knee very hard on the back of his neck.
Secor added, “As a backdrop, Mr. Lyrik came into our custody on this occasion after he was arrested by GPD [Greensboro Police Department] that night for a simple drunk and disorderly. Upon his arrival at Jail Central, the Magistrate refused to see him because of his unruly behavior. Accordingly, he was placed in a one person holding cell by himself with a toilet, sink, and bench.”
Secor wrote that this is all standard protocol.
“Had Lyrik simply sat down in the cell until he sobered up and was able to see the Magistrate, there would have been no need for our Staff to interact with him nor to restrain him. Mr. Lyrik, however, chose to compound his drunk and disorderly behavior out in the street with similar drunk and disorderly behavior inside the Jail. He is not a victim in any sense of the word.”
Secor wrote that it’s no surprise that Lyrik isn’t recounting the incident accurately.
“Lastly, his capacity to accurately remember the events of that night is, no doubt, limited because of his high level of intoxication,” he wrote. “As an example, when he was arrested by GPD here in Greensboro, Mr. Lyrik thought he was in the City of High Point.”
Lyrik said on Friday that he never believed he was in High Point.
According to Secor, during the course of his arrest by Greensboro police, and while being held by the Sheriff’s Department, Lyrik made a number of false statements.
“For example, he falsely told his arresting Officers from GPD that he was a Lieutenant with the High Point PD. After launching his complaint against the Sheriffs’ Office, he told a local TV News outfit that he was the nephew of well-respected City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson. We assume Mr. Lyrik made this statement in an effort to add some credibility to his story. Then Sheriff Barnes called Councilmember Johnson and she refuted Lyrik’s claims. Specifically, Ms. Johnson told us that Lyrik was not related to her.”
Lyrik said he intends to take legal action against the Sheriff’s Department for what happened that night. He also said he was very disappointed that Sheriff Rogers isn’t giving him any support even though candidate Rogers sympathized with his plight, he said.
“I’ll never put signs up in the yard for him again,” Lyrik said of the new sheriff.