CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Earlier today, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) released videos from January 2020 that capture the arrest, confinement, and death of Harold Easter while in police custody.
The videos clearly demonstrate that Mr. Easter was in need of medical attention, well before succumbing to what appears to be seizures, convulsions, and cardiac arrest. More than 10 minutes passed between what appears to be an involuntary collapse and an officer checking the interrogation room. Recent news reports have noted that four CMPD officers and a sergeant resigned Tuesday after they were slated for termination for failing to render aid knowing that Mr. Easter was in need of medical attention after he ingested and swallowed cocaine.
Kristie Puckett-Williams, the ACLU of NC’s Smart Justice Campaign Manager, issued the following statement after the videos were released:
“The officers who denied Harold Easter medical treatment should not have been able to resign. They should have been fired and investigated for criminal charges related to his death. CMPD’s failure to hold these officers accountable shows as much disregard for Harold Easter's life as CMPD’s denial of medical treatment to someone in their custody who clearly needed it.
“It is immoral, inhumane, and unlawful for police to deny medical treatment to someone in their custody. That’s what happened to Mr. Easter, and there’s nothing to assure the community that other people who come into contact with police would be treated any differently. Coming into contact with law enforcement should not be a death sentence, but it was for Mr. Easter, just as it has been for so many people of color.
“We grieve for Harold Easter’s family and for a community that continually faces police violence and the devaluation of Black lives.”