A Delaware man who was arrested 30 minutes after multiple gunshots were fired near Vice President Joe Biden’s Greenville home says he was wrongfully beaten by police.
Rock Peters, 57, was driving home from an evening at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church on Jan. 17. As he approached an intersection near Biden's estate, officers directed him to turn around. The officers received reports about gunfire in near Biden’s home estate and were closing traffic.
Peters told the officers he needed to go straight because it was the only way he knew how to get home, according to court documents. The officer walked away but returned when he heard Peters say something.
According to police, Peters accelerated as the officer approached his vehicle and made a U-turn to the left. The officer reportedly had to “step back and to the right several steps for fear of being struck by the vehicle.”
Peters sped away but was stopped by another county officer nearby. Peters stepped out of vehicle and placed his right hand in his right jacket pocket, according to police. When the officer placed his left hand on Peters’ arm, Peters yelled, “Don’t touch me.”
The officer then grabbed Peters by the back of the head and forced him to the ground. Another officer kneed Peters in the shoulder, head and neck area, according to the police affidavit.
The police’s version of the events differs from Peters', who said the officers were the aggressors.
“They’re lying through their teeth,” Peters told The Wilmington Delaware News Journal.
Peters said the police left him with a swollen nose, rib injuries, a black eye and several abrasions on his face. His girlfriend took pictures to document his injuries.
“They beat the daylights out of me,” said Peters, who denied any involvement with the reported gunfire near Biden’s home.
Peters said when he stepped out of his vehicle, he reached into his jacket pocket to retrieve his wallet and driver's license, as the officer requested.
“And that point, without saying a word, he cold-choked me,” Peters said. He described it as a “death chokehold,” and said he thought he was “going to die right there.”
Peters said he repeatedly told the officer that he couldn’t breathe. That’s when the officer kneed him in the back and shoved the left side of his face to the ground.
“Same thing that happened to Eric Garner, happened to me,” Peters said. “It was deja vu all over again.”
Peters said he comes from a family of law enforcement and is not “anti-cop.” But he did say that these officers were “extremely aggressive.”
Peters was taken to Christiana Hospital and treated for his injuries. He was then taken to the county police headquarters.
Authorities did not find any weapons in Peters’ Jeep Wrangler. Peters is facing charges of reckless endangering and resisting arrest, according to the police affidavit. He is not being charged in connection with the shooting incident.
New Castle County Police continue the search for the suspect who reportedly fired multiple gunshots near Biden’s home. The vice president and his wife Jill were not at home at the time of the shooting.