A North Carolina cop who tasered an unarmed man to death earlier this year was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter charges Tuesday.
The incident took place on March 3 when Kenly police officer Jesse Craig Santifort tasered Alexander Warren Thompson after a high-speed car chase through two counties that ended when Thompson wrecked his vehicle.
Santifort claims Thompson came charging towards him, which was when he tasered him four times.
“Central, I have tased him,” Santifort reported to dispatch, according to an audio recording.
“Uh, a little electrified at the moment, but I think we’ve come to an understanding.”
Thompson was transported to a hospital and died three days later.
The short-form indictment doesn’t explain the grand jury’s reasoning and only says Santifort “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did kill” Thompson.
While most cops who taser citizens to death never even have to go before a grand jury, a state investigation on the cop after the incident led to 27 charges dropped against 12 people he had arrested in unrelated cases.
The State Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation of the death, and Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle was reviewing a report from the SBI to determine whether she would file criminal charges related to the death.
Following an internal investigation, Santifort was allowed to return to duty by Kenly Police Chief Josh Gibson.
But the Johnston County Clerk of Superior Court and the DA’s office released a list of 27 charges that were dismissed because “the state is ethically prohibited from calling the charging officer to testify given a recent review of personnel records,” according to Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson.
The DA’s office declined to comment further “to preserve the integrity of an ongoing investigation.”
The 27 charges filed against 12 people included three DWIs, four drug charges, two child abuse charges, a felony charge of obtaining property by false pretense, two misdemeanor larceny charges and several others.
Thompson, a father of three who was engaged to be married, led police on a pursuit after arriving at a home that police were monitoring for drugs. An autopsy said he marijuana and amphetamines in his system.