CMPD release video following in-custody death of Harold Easter

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Editor’s Note: Video may be disturbing to some, viewer discretion is advised.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Surveillance video has been released Thursday following the in-custody death of Harold Easter that occurred at the Beatties Ford Road precinct in January.

Easter died while in CMPD custody following his arrest on January 23 for possession of marijuana and cocaine. Detectives said he experienced a serious medical emergency while in an interview room. He was rushed to the hospital where he died days later.

District Attorney Spencer B. Merriweather III said charges were not filed against the four CMPD officers and sergeant involved because the state did not have the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers were culpable in Easter’s death.

“Mr. Easter’s voluntary ingestion of crack cocaine is a proximate cause of his death, and, while there legally may have been more than one proximate cause for death, a proximate cause is defined as a cause without which the death would not have occurred,” the district attorney said.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said the four officers and the sergeant involved had “intimate knowledge that Easter had swallowed cocaine during the traffic stop” and was “left unattended inside an interview room for more than 20 minutes.”

The four CMPD officers and sergeant were cited for termination by Chief Jennings in mid-September.

CMPD speak on video release of Harold Easter’s in-custody death

In the newly released video, CMPD officers are observed on surveillance in an interview room taking Easter’s belongings, and asking him to remove some of his clothes for a strip-search.

Easter was then left alone in the interview room for about 45 minutes where he is observed on video shouting expletives for the majority of the time he was left in the room.

After about 45 minutes, Easter is then observed on video seizing, collapsing over a table, and then eventually falling onto the floor. In the video, you can see Easter was experiencing the medical emergency alone in the room for approximately 10 minutes before CMPD officers rush into the room to render aid.

Charlotte Medic is then called. In CMPD body-cam footage, you can see Medic performing CPR on Easter in the hallway of the precinct before he is rushed to the hospital.

Editor’s Note: Video may be disturbing to some, viewer discretion is advised.

Below is a list of members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. related to the incident:

–    Sergeant Nicolas Vincent was hired on January 28, 2008, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
–    Officer Brentley Vinson was hired on July 21, 2014, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
–    Officer Michael Benfield was hired on October 27, 2014, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
–    Officer Michael Joseph was hired on May 21, 2018, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
–    Officer Shon Sheffield was hired on August 13, 2012, and is assigned to the Metro Division.

The four officers and sergeant involved have since resigned from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

United Neighborhood’s of Charlotte speak following video release

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