No weapons found in car after high-speed chase and police shooting

Officer B. Ferguson
Investigators with the NC State Bureau of Investigation found an open alcohol container, but no drugs or weapons inside a 1992 Cadillac Seville after a crash at the end of a high-speed chase in which police shot the driver in Winston-Salem last week.

A separate investigation by the Winston-Salem Police Department's criminal investigation division determined that the initial reason Officer B. Ferguson attempted to stop the vehicle was because of an expired registration and expired inspection, according to an updated press release from the department today.

The police reported that as Officer Ferguson approached the vehicle, some kind of confrontation occurred and the officer fired at the vehicle. The cause and circumstances of the alleged confrontation are not explained in the press release, and no one from the police department was immediately available for comment.

According to the account given by the police department, after Officer Ferguson shot at the vehicle, the driver, 32-year-old James Edward Plater, sped away and circled a business at 16th and Liberty streets, and ran into a chain-link fence. Then Plater reported drove the Cadillac east across Liberty Street. Officer BK Ayers was responding on foot to assist Officer Ferguson, and fired his weapon at the car. The car eventually collided into the south side of Gilmore's Funeral Home and came to rest.

Officer BK Ayers
Today's press release from the department indicates that the police investigation determined that when Officer Ferguson caught up with Plater at Liberty and 16th streets, he got out of his vehicle and approached the Cadillac with gun drawn and giving verbal commands. The police said Plater ignored the commands and accelerated the vehicle towards Officer Ferguson. At this time, police said, the Cadillac driven by Plater struck Officer Ferguson on the left knee and then hit the left bumper of the officer's vehicle.

Somewhat at odds with the department's initial press release on the incident, today's release said, "It was during this encounter that Officer Ferguson fired on Mr. Plater's vehicle."

Plater suffered from gunshot wounds and remains in police custody at Baptist Hospital.

Plater has been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, driving while license revoked, expired registration and expired inspection. He was given a $100,000 bond and a bond hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 21 in front of Judge Camille Banks Payne in Forsyth County Court.

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