5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 19, 2020

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Five Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers have been recommended for termination for their handling of a man who died after being taken into custody earlier this year.

At a press conference Friday, Police Chief Johnny Jennings said the four officers and a sergeant had knowledge that the man, 46-year-old Harold Easter, had swallowed cocaine during his arrest but left him unattended in an interview room for more than 20 minutes.

“At that time he was clearly in need of medical attention,” Jennings said.

Easter suffered a medical emergency while in custody and died two days after his arrest in January.
Jennings, who became chief in July, said he knows some of the officers personally and “they’re good people. But sometimes even good people make bad decisions and make mistakes. And we vowed to be accountable for those mistakes.”

Local prosecutors are still considering possible criminal charges in Easter’s death.

The police department plans to release video of the incident on Oct. 1, Jennings said.