DeKalb Detective Caught on Tape Using Racial Slur

9:24 AM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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(WXIA) - 11Alive News has uncovered a disturbing videotape from a police interrogation in which a DeKalb County detective uses a racial slur to describe an African-American man who was a suspect in a 2009 carjacking and armed robbery of a convenience store.

Rockdale County resident Nathan Christopher Dwight was arrested for the crimes after the victims of the convenience store robbery thought they recognized him as their attacker. During a blistering police interrogation, the then 21-year-old adamantly maintained his innocence.

The police, however, were convinced they had their man and turned up the heat in hopes of getting a confession. In stark, unflattering terms, Det. Michael Hellerman paints a picture of Dwight's chances before a jury.

"We're going to get a whole jury -- a whole jury full of white people," Det. Hellerman tells an visibly agitated Dwight.

"I'm not confessing to nothing I didn't do," Dwight interjects.

"I'm going to put this picture," Det. Hellerman says referring to a still image from the security cameras at the convenience store, "Next to your photo lineup and you know what they're going to see? They're going to see a straight-up n*****!"

"That's not me!" Dwight replies, his voice rising. "That's not me, sir."

Despite insisting he was innocent, Dwight was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Rockdale County for the armed robbery.

The cornerstone of the prosecutor's case was several eyewitnesses who identified Dwight as the attacker.

After more than two years behind bars, DNA evidence found in the stolen car ruled Dwight out as a suspect. And a judge overturned his conviction.

11Alive's Devin Fehely spent months digging into this case and found a disturbing videotape of the police interrogation.

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