Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are defending the actions of police caught on camera last March, in which an officer pressed his firearm against an unarmed suspect’s head and threatened to kill him.
The incident, which occurred on March 26, 2016, began when police stopped a car that they said was connected to a string of larcenies. James Yarborough, who was worried he would be arrested because the man he was riding with had tried to sell him a pistol and was a passenger in the car, fled on foot and was pursued by several officers, who spent four minutes struggling with Yarborough before they got his hands behind his back.
In the video of the incident, two officers can be seen chasing Yarborough, and one falls down in apparent pain while the other continues the chase. Yarborough is finally brought down to the ground, and body cam footage shows that he is on the ground for 17 seconds before an officer pulls a gun on him and places it against his temple, saying, “I will kill you, you understand? Give me your hand, now!”
“That moment felt like—it felt like it might have been my last day,” Yarborough recalled.
The officers continued to tell Yarborough to put his hands behind his back as Yarborough tried to explain that he couldn’t, until an officer can be heard to say “light him up,” and a Taser is used. Officers also hit and kick Yarborough while he is on the ground.
The officer who had fallen eventually catches up to the others and tells them that they have to get off of Yarborough before he can comply.
“Guys, Dunham, you have to come up so he can get it back there,” the officer says. “He’s not going anywhere.”
The officer directly on top of Yarborough gets off, and Yarborough puts his hands behind his back, ending the struggle.