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Assault victim says police mishandled case

Junior Dalton Miller was assaulted at Sigma Alpha Epsilon at 12:43 a.m. Friday, according to a Chapel Hill police report. Miller said he suffered a broken nose and four fractures to his right eye socket.

Miller said he is unhappy with the way Chapel Hill police handled the situation.

He said the police and an ambulance met him on Franklin Street after he reported the assault.

Miller said he rode in the ambulance back to the fraternity, arriving after the police. He said he found two officers with an unknown person, who police thought fit the suspect description Miller gave them on Franklin Street.

Miller said the officers and the individual were about 25 feet away from him when they asked Miller to identify the individual.

“I asked if I could get closer because I can’t see. I mean, I’ve got one eye, and it’s nighttime, so I can’t really see,” Miller said. “The cops said I couldn’t get closer, so I said I couldn’t identify him. When I said I couldn’t identify him, they said, ‘Then there is nothing we can do.’”

Miller said the reason the police told him he couldn’t get closer was to make sure he didn’t try to fight the individual.

Sgt. Bryan Walker, a spokesman for Chapel Hill Police Department, said the officer detained someone for a short period of time but let him go when Miller could not identify the individual. Walker said no one was brought into police headquarters.

A “show-up” is the practice of having a victim or witness identify someone at the scene of the crime, Walker said. He said it is conducted when a suspect or possible suspect can be located quickly, and it is something the police have done before.

“I wasn’t there that night, and I have nothing in the report saying it occurred the way he is saying,” Walker said.

Miller said he wanted to be sure in identifying someone.

“What if that wasn’t the guy who did it? Then the guys who did it get away with it, and I didn’t want to get some innocent guy in trouble.”

Walker said the investigation is active and that a criminal investigator had been assigned to the case.

Aaron Bachenheimer, director of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Community Involvement, said his office is aware of the incident and is still gathering information.

"(The office) is looking to get more information from SAE,” Bachenheimer said. “First and foremost, we are concerned about the health of the student.”

Miller said the assault was made worse because of the way it was handled.

“Why even call the cops if nothing is going to happen?” he said. “How can this happen to me and nothing be done?”

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