Harold Easter, 41, died on January 26, 2020 after he experienced a medical emergency in police custody in Charlotte, NC.
New video shows Harold fighting to stay alive in a small police questioning room. In response to the internal investigation into the death of Harold, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has cited five sworn employees for termination. They are: Sgt. Nicolas Vincent, Officer Brentley Vinson, Officer Michael Benfield, Officer Michael Joseph, and Officer Shon Sheffield.
On January 23, 2020, a suspected drug transaction was observed near the intersection of Whisnant Street and Burton Street in Charlotte, NC. Officers conducted a traffic stop on a suspect vehicle. Harold was the alleged driver of the vehicle and was found to be in possession of cocaine and marijuana, officials say.
Harold swallowed cocaine during the encounter. Harold was taken into custody for drug and traffic charges and then transported to a precinct team office for an interview and arrest processing.
After ingesting the cocaine, Harold experienced a medical emergency while in the custody of the Charlotte police. Harold was in the police interrogation room for over 30 minutes, at some point he began beating on the table and convulsing. Officers were not paying attention to Harold, as they are required to monitor suspects.
Harold eventually collapsed on the ground, and officers finally came into the room to assist him, but it was too late. Harold was later pronounced deceased on January 26, 2020.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
On January 31, 2020, it was announced that the State Bureau of Investigation would conduct an independent investigation into the death of Mr. Easter. The SBI has since turned the findings of their investigation over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.
On September 17, 2020, an independent chain of command review board, comprised of officers across several ranks and a civilian from the Community Relations Committee, concluded the internal investigation and cited five sworn employees for termination.
In September 2020 the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office refused to criminally charge the police officers involved.
In late September 2020 all the officers involved resigned from the police department.