Welcome to the Rumor Control page, where the City of Salisbury dispels rumors and corrects misinformation.
If you hear rumors in the community that you believe should be corrected, please contact the City of Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 8, 2017
Rumor: The Salisbury Police Department stationed armed guards at Food Lion Stores in Salisbury.
Fact: The City of Salisbury/Salisbury Police Department DID NOT hire or station armed guards at any location in Salisbury.
June 7, 2017
Rumor: I heard that there will be a riot in Salisbury this week or weekend following today's announcement from the Rowan District Attorney's Office regarding the officer-involved shooting.
Fact: The Salisbury Police Department does not have credible evidence at this time that riots will occur in our City. It does your
neighbors an injustice to share this information with your friends, family and neighbors via social media, telephone or in-person as fact. Again, we encourage our residents to seek factual information from reliable sources.
May 30, 2017
Justice in Salisbury Group:
you for your correspondence to City of Salisbury officials received via email
at 4 p.m., Friday, May 26, in response to our request of various community
stakeholders to discuss the upcoming Rowan County District Attorney’s decision
regarding the Ferguson Laurent Jr. officer-involved shooting. Officials are
declining this invitation.
nearly seven months, the City of Salisbury and Salisbury Police Department have
come under scrutiny regarding the Laurent shooting – and rightly so. Whenever a
police tactic results in a death of a citizen, the community deserves a full
investigation, transparency and truth from all those involved.
the proliferation of false information surrounding this incident spread by
members of your organization, the question of Police Chief Jerry Stokes’
credentials, the continued, unlawful request to direct the Chief to suspend the
use of knock and announce warrants, and requests of information specifically
known not to be in the City’s possession, is disappointing.
- Following Mr. Laurent’s death, Chief Jerry Stokes
immediately called a meeting of stakeholders to share as much information as he
was able with community members to help calm tensions. At that time, Chief
shared with the group that the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) was in
charge of the investigation going forward. He also stated that the information
he provided was preliminary at best, including the number of gunshots fired.
- On Thursday March 9, Salisbury –Rowan NAACP President Gemale
Black emailed a letter to me falsely stating that Police Chief Stokes had “not
successfully completed the requirements of the N.C. Basic Law Enforcement class
after multiple attempts.” And “that due to numerous absences, he was advised
that he would be removed from the course altogether.” This highly inaccurate
and inflammatory letter was forwarded to members of the media. City staff spent
an unnecessary amount of effort combatting this false narrative.
The known fact was that Chief Stokes was still an
active member of the class as of the date of the letter. The Chief was never
“advised that he would be removed from the class” nor “had he taken the class after
multiple attempts.” Chief Stokes took and passed the exam on Friday, May 12,
and graduated from BLET on Wednesday, May 24. This fact is and was known to
your organization back in March through present.
Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes is a highly qualified
law enforcement officer with more than 32 years experience. He is keenly aware
of and has researched how to use the President’s Task Force on 21st
Century Policing. He also was the only police chief candidate who had a clear
vision for the Salisbury Police Department’s community policing program.
Yet, in your latest letter, you continue to ask about
Chief Stokes’ credentials as an accredited law enforcement official. Chief
Stokes is a fully accredited law enforcement officer, with full arrest powers, through
the N.C. Department of Justice Standards Division. In addition, completion of the
N.C. BLET course is not a requirement to serve as a North Carolina Police
Chief. No additional questions will be answered regarding Chief’s
qualifications as Salisbury Police Chief.
- The news media, Salisbury stakeholders and the general
public received a copy of the statement from the N.C. Attorney General, which
stated that a local government agency cannot restrict law enforcement tactics
that are outlined in the N.C. state statute.
However, the Salisbury Police Department has enacted
additional measures should they choose to utilize knock and announce warrants
in the future. Those measures include additional implicit bias, de-escalation
skills and other training for all officers, oversight and final approval by
Chief Stokes and Major Barnes to obtain future knock and announce warrants, and
requirements that every first-responder police officer in the department wear
body cameras, including those on the Special Response Team. These measures were
shared last week with the small group meeting attendees.
- It has been announced to members of the media, various
community groups and residents, in public and in one-on-one conversations, in
multiple instances, that the City of Salisbury DOES NOT have the SBI report on
the Laurent shooting. Members of Justice in Salisbury are well aware of
that fact and were told the SBI would handle EVERY aspect of the shooting
investigation, and that the report would be sent directly to the Rowan County
D.A.’s office once completed.
Yet, your group members continue to spread this false information. We will
no longer address any additional questions regarding this report, its
origination or its current location until the D.A. releases the report. In the
meantime, any additional questions regarding the Laurent shooting should be
addressed to the D.A. or the SBI.
- Finally, a series of small group meetings were held on
Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26. The meetings were held in small groups in
an effort to provide all stakeholders an opportunity to speak and share their
own individual thoughts and concerns. In a setting of 30+ individuals, an
opportunity for all to share their opinions would be near impossible and unfair
to other attendees.
Some members of Justice in Salisbury initially agreed
to attend these small group meetings including during follow-up, confirmation
telephone calls. On the first day of this engagement, your members declined to
attend these meetings.
objective is and always will be the health, safety and well-being of the
Salisbury community. Despite your refusal to meet with city administration, we
are still open to communicating with your group at a later date for the
betterment of our community.
Rumor: Lane Bailey sent an internal memo to Salisbury city staff forbidding them to attend the Stop the Violence Summit held on Saturday, March 18.
Fact: No such memo was sent and no such directive was given to any City of Salisbury employee regarding the Stop the Violence Summit held on Saturday, March 18. The City has partnered with Rowan County and the Rowan-Salisbury School System to create a series of four community action meetings. Two of the meetings are in the evening and two are on Saturdays, and as the City Manager explained to Al Heggins in an email, he could not specifically require staff to attend her event because of the time that will be spent on the four events already planned. In regards to Chief Stokes absence, he had previously shared that he would not be in attendance. He recently had surgery and was on medical leave.
March 20 ,2017
Rumor: Salisbury Police Chief Jerry
Stokes failed his Basic Law Enforcement Training exam and does not have arrest
powers in the state of North Carolina.
Fact: Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes remains a student
in the Basic Law Enforcement Training class at Rowan-Cabarrus Community
College. The exam mentioned above will be administered to students in May 2017.
Currently, Chief Stokes has arrest powers in the state of North Carolina
through August 2017.
Chief Stokes has more than 30 years experience and
3,000 hours of documented law enforcement training, and most recently served as
a deputy chief in Lynchburg, Virginia. There, he was a fully-certified police
The N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training
Standards recognizes the certification and training of law enforcement officers
from other states on a probationary period, provided the officer’s experience
and training records are sufficient. During the probationary period, the
officer must complete 90 hours of study in North Carolina law as outlined in N.C.
In compliance with the general statutes of the state
of North Carolina and specifically the Rules of Chapter 9 to Title 12 of the NC
Administrative Code, Chief Stokes has been provided with a probationary
certification as a fully-sworn law enforcement officer, who is able to enforce
the laws of the state.
City of Salisbury encourages residents to seek truth for themselves and not
engage in false narratives that have no basis or foundation in fact.
Rumor: The Salisbury Police Department is ignoring eyewitness statements that
multiple officers fired and that Laurent never fired.
City of Salisbury Statement: Fact: The shooting took place within
the residence on E. Lafayette St. Only three individuals were present in the
home when the Salisbury Police Department entered, including Mr. Laurent. Any
additional interviews conducted by the SBI were of individuals outside of the
Rumor: Multiple people walked through the crime scene.
Fact: The crime scene is noted as the residence of 625 E. Lafayette St. Only members of law enforcement were in the residence during the investigation.
From the time officers arrived on scene, members of law enforcement were stationed on either side of the police caution tape along the 600 block of E. Lafayette St. Everyone who crossed the police line was required to provide their name, title, telephone number, including residents who lived in the immediate vicinity of 625 E. Lafayette.
Rumor: The City of Salisbury has not
been truthful and transparent about the shooting death of Ferguson Laurent Jr.
Fact: The City of Salisbury and the
Salisbury Police Department have provided the public with as much information
and documentation as they can provide in the midst of this on-going investigation.
As stated two months ago, the City of Salisbury and the Salisbury Police
Department cannot comment any further than the already provided information so
as not to interfere with the on-going SBI investigation.
The City of Salisbury is
aware that members of the Salisbury community held a news conference today
regarding the autopsy of Ferguson Laurent Jr.
We have stated since
November 4, that once we provided the initial, preliminary information, that we
would have no further comment on this incident until the SBI concluded its
investigation of this officer-involved shooting. It would be highly inappropriate
for the Salisbury Police Department or the City of Salisbury to comment on an
on-going investigation, particularly an investigation this important to our
Unfortunately, as we wait for the SBI
investigation to conclude, assumptions, accusations and misinformation have
been shared with the public and the news media. Multiple pages of information
regarding Mr. Laurent, the officer involved, the search warrant and the items
recovered from the home, were provided to members of the public and the news
media from the city in the spirit of truth and transparency. The
characterization that we are being secretive or not forthcoming is highly
inaccurate. We continue to stand by the decision to not comment at this time
until the SBI investigation is concluded.
However, there were some
points made at the news conference that we would like to clarify:
- Initial reports
on the day of the shooting were that Mr. Laurent was shot two times by Officer
Boehm. After further investigation on the night of the shooting, it was
determined that the initial reports on the number of shots were inconclusive.
The true number of shots would be provided in the SBI report and the autopsy.
This information was shared with on the City’s Rumor Control web page on the
evening of November 3 and with members of the public.
- On the evening
of the shooting, the City and the Salisbury Police Department called together
members of the community, including some of the speakers at today’s news
conference, to share as much information as we could regarding this incident,
again in the spirit of truth and transparency. But more importantly, we
recognized that tensions were beginning to rise in our community. We reached
out to these individuals for outreach assistance. We answered questions to the
best of our ability at that time. We also shared with the group that we could
not comment further until the SBI completed its investigation. We have not met
with this same group following the first meeting.
- The City is not
“hiding behind” its Rumor Control page. This valuable tool has been employed to
dispute false information that has been shared in the community. However,
despite our best efforts, some of these rumors continue to exist as noted at
today’s news conference.
- The shooting
took place within the residence on E. Lafayette St. Three individuals were
present in the home, including Mr. Laurent. The one known eyewitness to the
Salisbury Police Department was interviewed. Any additional “eyewitnesses” were
located outside of the home and would have been interviewed by the SBI following
the canvas of the neighborhood that day. The Salisbury Police Department has no
further information about eyewitnesses coming forward to share information.
January 17, 2017
Rumor: Ferguson Laurent was shot 10 times by a Salisbury Police Officer during the service of a warrant
Fact: Numerous reporters
failed to read the entire autopsy report that states three of the gunshot
wounds “may represent a re-entrance of one of the bullets perforating the right
upper arm.” This inaccurate statement has been repeated multiple times in news
stories over the past few days. Again, the actual number of shots fired will be
released once the SBI concludes its investigation of this matter.
January 12, 2017
Rumor: Ferguson Laurent was shot 10 times by a Salisbury
Police Officer during the service of a warrant
Fact: The autopsy report released today by the Office of the
Medical Examiner shows that Ferguson Laurent experienced 10 gunshot wounds to
various parts of his body, including five in the torso, four to the arm and one
to the head. While the autopsy report lists 10 bullet wounds, it does not
account for the actual number of shots fired by the officer. Bullet fragments were
recovered in the arm wounds and in the case of one wound, no bullet or fragment
was found. We will not know the actual number of shots until the State Bureau
of Investigations completes its investigation of this shooting incident.
Rumor: High Point Police are prohibited by policy from their City Council
from using no-knock tactics.
Fact: According to the High Point Chief of Police, Kenneth J. Shultz "According to my knowledge, that information has never
been discussed by our Council. We do not have a policy from them that
prohibits no-knock tactics. Instead, we comply with state law and can use
the tactic in critical cases where it is ruled that the danger to our officers
based on factors such as known weapon possession and disposition to harm our
officers warrants the consideration for a no-knock warrant. In truth, we seldom utilize such a tactic, but it is a
viable option should the level of danger dictate such a response. Related
to this, our internal policy does mandate that the Tactical Team be utilized to
execute all high risk search warrants where weapons are known or are suspected
or where the suspect's actions are considered unusually dangerous."
Rumor: The SPD failed to provide paid security to
Firewater Restaurant on Saturday, December 3.
Fact: A representative of Firewater Restaurant
contacted the Salisbury Police Department asking for security at 12:30 p.m. on
December 2. The Salisbury Police Department is not required to provide security
for private events and only do so as a service for the community members
willing to pay for an officer. In addition, the request was made with very
short notice. No officer could alter his/her schedule in that short time to
accommodate the request.
Rumor: Loose leaf collection is increased for those who live in the Country
Club Hills area of Salisbury.
Fact: This statement is false. The City of Salisbury is divided into three
areas for loose leaf collection per week. Each area receives ONE collection
week on a rotated schedule. NO community within the City receives an increased
number of leaf collections. The leaf collection map can be found here: 2016-2017 Leaf Collection Map
Rumor: The City of Salisbury is on high alert this weekend.
Fact: Contrary to the false reporting by a community blog, the City of Salisbury is NOT on high alert this weekend. The Salisbury Police Department has no credible information that there will be additional gun violence this weekend. As always, we ask visitors and residents to be aware of their surroundings and take appropriate safety measures to ensure personal security. We continue to encourage residents to research and seek truth from legitimate sources instead of relying on inflammatory websites that seek to incite fear instead of relaying factual information.
Rumor: Prior to Fibrant, the City has 207 sworn police officers.
Fact: The FY06-07 budget included 105 authorized positions in the Salisbury Police Department. The current 2016-2017 budget has 88 positions in the Salisbury Police Department. During this span of time, Animal Control and Telecommunications functions for the City were consolidated at the County level, transferring those positions to the County. Also, the Police Recruiter position was transferred and consolidated within the City’s Human Resources Department. These three levels of service are still being provided to the Salisbury Policy Department and citizens of Salisbury, but under a different area of control. Additionally, there have been some positions during the span of the last 10 years that were temporarily grant funded and authorized in the Police Department. Not all positions in the Police Department are sworn positions, currently we have 81 sworn positions authorized in the FY16-17 Budget versus 82 actual sworn positions in FY06-07. The City’s current and previous adopted budgets, dating back to 2000, can be found at the following link: http://www.salisburync.gov/Departments/FinancialServices/finance/Pages/default.asp
November 5, 2016
Rumor: Officer Boehm only had two year experience on the force and limited drug training.
Fact: Since being employed by the Salisbury Police Department, Officer Boehn has received regular law enforcement in-service training to include:
In addition to this training, Officer Boehm has, as required by CALEA standards, been required to review the department’s Use of Force policy annually. His last Use of Force refresher training was completed in June 2016.
- Crisis Intervention (2009)
- Drug Investigations for Patrol (2009)
- Control and Arrest Techniques (2010)
- Understanding Cultural Differences (2010)
- Diversity (2010 and 2014)
- Juvenile Minority Sensitivity (2011)
- Arrest, search, and seizure (2011 and 2012)
- Emergency Response Plans (2011)
- Advanced Special Weapons and Tactics (2011)
- Racial Profiling (2011)
- Meth Labs (2012)
- Handling Mentally Ill/Disturbed Persons (2013)
- Field Training Officer Certification (2013)
- Ethics (2014)
- Fundamentals of Evidence Collection (2014)
- Critical Response to Schools (2014)
- Active Shooter (2015)
- Community Policing (2016)
Officer Boehm has successfully qualified with his service weapons as required by policy, his last qualification was March 2016.
Officer Boehm was assigned to the SRT in July 2010. As part of that additional duty, he receives regular training in the techniques and tactics employed by the officers assigned to SRT since that time. That training was provided 11 times per year, nearly every month. The Advanced Special Weapons and Tactics training he received in 2011 was a specific training course for members of SRT teams.
November 4, 2016
Rumor: Downtown Salisbury's First Friday Event is cancelled.
Fact: First Friday scheduled for today, Friday, November 4 has NOT been cancelled. First Friday will begin at 5:00 p.m.
Rumor: Tonight's football game
between Salisbury High School and North Rowan High School is cancelled.
Fact: The football game between
Salisbury High School and North Rowan High School will be held as scheduled.
The game will begin at 7:30 p.m.
November 3, 2016
I heard there was a shooting in Salisbury.
Fact: Facts are still being gathered regarding this
What we know is at approximately 9:25 a.m. on
Thursday, November 3, the Salisbury Police Department Special Response Team, which
includes narcotic detectives, served a no-knock search warrant for the
residence. The warrant was to search for narcotics, weapons and stolen
property. The Special Response Team was used to serve the warrant because the
suspects in the home were known to be armed.
During the entry into the home by the officers, one
subject fired at least one shot at the officers. Officers returned fired and
struck the subject who has since passed away at the hospital.
with the Salisbury Fire Department are members of the Salisbury Special Response
Team, and were able to provide immediate medical attention to the subject after
the shooting. Additional information will be made available. Due to the
circumstances of the incident, SBI is leading the investigation into this
Rumor: We heard that downtown businesses are planning to close early?
Fact: City staff has not yet heard that downtown businesses are
planning to close early. We encourage residents to let the SBI investigation
take its course. Those who may want to protest are certainly within their
rights to do so peacefully and non-violently.
Rumor: Officer Boehm was previously involved in an officer-involved
Fact: Officer Boehm was
involved in a previous officer-involved shooting in December 2010. In this
particular incident, he was involved in a physical altercation with an
individual while responding to a suspicious person call. The incident was
thoroughly investigated by SBI. The shooting was deemed justified.
Rumor: A neighbor of the
deceased has stated that they saw the entire incident.
Fact: There were three people in the residence when the officers
entered the home. The shooting took place within the residence. The two other
individuals who were in the residence were taken into custody. Any witnesses who have not been interviewed by the SBI, should contact the organization 800-334-3000.
Rumor: I heard that the
police shot the person first.
Fact: The information we have received is that the individual
fired upon officers and the officers returned fire. Any information to the
contrary has not been confirmed as SBI is currently investigating this
officer-involved shooting incident.
Rumor: I heard that there
were 10 or 12 shots fired.
Fact: The number of shots has not been confirmed as SBI is
currently investigating this officer-involved shooting incident. Early reports
are that the deceased fired once and the officer returned two shots.
Rumor: The deceased was “left on the ground,” “in the grass,” “laying dead” for 40 minutes, 1 hour, “a long time,” before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital.
Fact: This rumor is untrue. The original times for the initial incident were skewed from the initial report. The call for unknown medical came in Rowan County Emergency Services at 9:16. The ambulance was dispatched at 9:17. It was marked enroute at 9:19. Arrived on scene at 9:21. Enroute to the hospital at 9:26. CPR was performed in the ambulance at 9:30.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the officer-involved
shooting on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Q: What happened?
A: What we know is at
approximately 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, November 3, the Salisbury Police
Department Special Response Team, which includes narcotic detectives, served a
no-knock search warrant for the residence. The warrant was to search for
narcotics, weapons and stolen property. The Special Response Team was used to
serve the warrant because the suspects in the home were known to be armed.
During the entry
into the home by the officers, one subject fired at least one shot at the
officers. Officers returned fired and struck the subject who has since passed
away at the hospital.
Q: Where was the
A: The shooting occurred in the 600 block of Lafayette Street
Q: Why was this
particular home targeted?
A: This home was targeted after a three-month narcotics
investigation on the home. The search warrant was issued due to the combination
of suspected drug activity, weapons in the home and a report of stolen
Q: What is a no-knock
A: A no-knock warrant is issued in a possibly dangerous and
potentially volatile situation. Only a superior court judge can issue a warrant
based on evidence presented.
On Friday, November 4, we anticipate that we can provide
additional information on the frequency of use and success rate of a no-knock
Q: What is the individual’s
A: The person has since passed away at the hospital.
Q: Who was the individual
who was shot?
A: The deceased is Ferguson Laurent Jr.
Q: To which hospital was
the suspect taken?
A: Novant Rowan Regional Hospital
Q: Was the incident
recorded on officer’s body cameras?
A: The Special Response
Team incident was not captured on officers’ body cameras. This is a standard
practice for this type of event as to not reveal the Special Response Team
methods and tactics for gaining entry into potentially dangerous and volatile
Q: What is the name of the officer involved?
A: Officer K.H Boehm
has been a member of the Salisbury Police Department since March 24, 2008.
Q: Has Officer Boehm been involved in any other
A: Yes. Officer Boehm
was involved in a physical altercation with an individual. The incident was
thoroughly investigated by the SBI. The shooting was deemed justified.
Q: What is the procedure
for officers involved in shootings?
A: Typically, in officer-involved shootings with the Salisbury
Police Department, the officer is placed on paid, administrative leave pending
the outcome of the investigation.
Q: What is Officer
Boehm’s current status?
A: Officer Boehm is on paid, administrative leave pending SBI’s
investigation and the SPD concludes its internal investigation.
Q: How many officers are
on the SRT?
A: We are not able to comment on the number of our special