Assault charges against officer dismissed after testimony


Assault charges against a county police officer accused of injuring a Mount Airy veterinarian at police headquarters have been dropped.

The county State's Attorney Office dismissed assault charges against Officer 1st Class Donald R. Cook Aug. 6, following the recommendations of a grand jury that heard testimony from several witnesses.

Dr. Richard Burroughs, 51, accused Officer Cook of assault in May after Dr. Burroughs went to the police station and got involved in a scuffle while he tried to pick up a summons. Dr. Burroughs could not be reached for comment, but his wife said they were surprised by the ruling.

"I'm also very concerned," said Liz Burroughs. "You have an honest man who came in to pick up a simple set of papers. The system failed."

Mrs. Burroughs said they have not decided what their next step will be.

Officer Cook declined to comment immediately, saying he'll wait until the completion of Dr. Burroughs' court trial for disorderly conduct and refusing to leave a public building.

Dr. Burroughs, of the 1100 block of Long Corner Road, went to police headquarters in May to pick up a summons for two counts of animal cruelty. The county Office of Animal Control alleged he had not provided two of his cows proper veterinary care, food, drink and quarters.

The scuffle occurred after Officer Cook asked Dr. Burroughs to show his identification and to sign for the summons. Police said Dr. Burroughs would not sign, and Dr. Burroughs said he wanted to consult with his lawyer before signing any papers.

Police said the veterinarian became loud and started using profanity, refusing to leave the building when asked.

Dr. Burroughs claims Officer Cook grabbed him by his left thumb and slammed him to the wall. He underwent surgery for torn ligaments and still goes to physical therapy, his wife said.

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