Fmr. deputy charged with assault in alleged bar fight

POSTED: 2:43 PM Feb 18 2013   UPDATED: 6:49 PM Mar 08 2013
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

A former Pitt County deputy, accused of getting into a bar fight with a former Highway Patrol trooper, is charged with for the incident.

According to investigators, Robert Brooks turned himself in Thursday morning and was charged with misdemeanor simple assault. Brooks had already resigned from the Pitt County Sheriff's Office prior to the assault charge.

Brooks allegedly got into a fight with Daniel Vaughan, a former Highway Patrol trooper, at A.J. McMurphy's, an Irish pub located on Turnbury Drive in Greenville.  The incident happened at 1:00 a.m. on Feb. 15th, police said.

Another Pitt County deputy, Joe Reason, was also involved in the bar altercation, officers said. But according to the police report, Reason did not get physical with the victim. Reason has been suspended pending the investigation.

In an interview with NewsChannel 12, the alleged victim gave his perspective on what happened.

"It wasn't the bar brawl that everyone said it was," Vaughan said.

Vaughan said he went to the bar to hang out with some friends. Some time later, he met the two Pitt County deputies: Brooks and Reason.

According to Vaughan, everyone was drinking, including himself, when Brooks became aggressive.

"He just kept puffing his chest out, saying, 'I'm a deputy' and he got closer to me and ended up grabbing me behind the neck, pulled me in and headbutted me," Vaughan said. "After he headbutted me, he had his arm around me, almost like in a head lock. I broke free, pushed him off and backed off."

Vaughan said employees at the bar intervened and took Deputy Brooks outside to the parking lot. Moments later, Greenville Police showed up, along with members of the  Highway Patrol and Pitt County Sheriff's Office, Vaughan said.

"I don't know why he did it," Vaughan said. "But I mean it happened. I'm not happy about it. I didn't want it to happen but it did."

Although the other deputy, Detective Reason, didn't get physically involved in the altercation, he did make comments, Vaughan said.

NewsChannel 12 was told not to interview Brooks and Reason to get their side of the story.

Meanwhile, Vaughan said he hopes people don't pass judgement on all law enforcement officers, based on this incident.

"[They] are human. They deserve to be able to go out and interact with other people off-duty," Vaughan said. "But this was an individual situation that happened. It's not the whole agency. It's not all law enforcement. You can't lump everyone together because of a certain individual."