'I'm Just Going To Be Another Black Woman ... Killed By The Police': Charlotte Teacher Feared For Her Life During Encounter With CMPD
Jasmine Horne has a lot on her mind right now. The 28-year-old second grade teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is getting ready to lay her grandmother to rest this weekend. She was close with her grandmother — she lived with her and helped take care of her.
But the pain of losing her, Horne says, is masking another trauma that happened just a little over a week ago.
On June 14, Horne was sitting in her car parked on the street right in front of her west Charlotte home. She was about to get out when she saw a police officer.
"The police officer hops out of the car with the gun pointed at me screaming, 'Get out of the car! Get out the car!'" she said. "I couldn't believe it. It was almost like he wasn't even talking to me. It was so surreal, almost like an out-of-body experience."
Horne says she did everything she was asked to do. She feared for her life. She worried she would be the next Breonna Taylor.
"I was praying for my life. It was like everything in my life had become so small," she said. "I had put things on hold in my life that at that moment I looked at it was like I was reflecting on myself, like all the things that I could have done that I put on hold because I said I will have more time and now I'm not going to have any more time and I'm just going to be another Black woman, another Black person killed by the police."
She says she was patted down, handcuffed, and put in the back of a police car. She was asked if she had any illegal drugs in her car, and she answered no.
They asked if the car was hers. She said yes and said the title to the car was in the house. She says it wasn’t until she was in the back of the police cruiser that she was asked for her driver's license. That’s when she knew police were searching her car.
She counted 10 cars and about 14 officers.
"And they later told me that they were looking for a young woman by the name of Jaselyn Horne, which the name is very similar to mine, but not similar enough for you to make that kind of mistake," Horne said.
According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s website, a Jaselyn Horne was arrested June 16 and charged with attempted first degree murder.
In an email to WFAE, a CMPD spokesperson confirmed they were aware of the incident, but declined to comment on details of the case.
"I know they followed me," Horne said. "If you had checked as you were following me, my tag, you would have known, OK, this vehicle is going to the address that it matches."
Horne says the officer who pointed the gun at her was white. When police realized a mistake was made, she says she did not see that officer again.
"Couldn’t find him anywhere," she said. "Most of the officers who surrounded me to apologize were Black."
Horne says one of her students who lives across the street from her saw the incident.
"He's so young," she said. "To be that young and that being impressed on your mind at such a young age — how are our officers going to resolve that in the community?"
She said she felt like she held her composure throughout the incident. But as soon as she stepped back inside her home, the wave of everything that had just happened hit her.
"All I could do was fall on my knees. I was so weak, my sister had to hold me up," she said. "Honestly, I felt like my ancestors, I really did. I felt like I had no ownership of my life. I felt like I had no ownership of my body. I felt like I was kidnapped."
Horne filed a complaint with CMPD a few days later. Her mother and a couple of others went with her to police headquarters. When she got there, she says she was initially told she needed to schedule an appointment for file the complaint. She felt like she was being deterred.
Eventually she spoke to a CMPD sergeant. She told the officer she wanted to record the conversation with her phone. She wanted her own record.
She started off by reading a statement she wrote about the incident. In the recording, Horne breaks down as she recounts the trauma of the incident.
CMPD confirmed to WFAE that no appointment is necessary to file a complaint against an officer.
Horne has requested body-worn camera footage from the incident to be released. And CMPD says its Internal Affairs Bureau is conducting an investigation of the incident.
Horne said she wants this incident in the officers’ records and to affect their future promotions.
"All of the cops, a lot of them just watched," she said. "I watched a female cop watch. Just watch. She just watched. I want this on her record, I want this on the record, even for the cop who tried to console me. Why? Because that's not enough. You did not do your job."
Horne points out that as a teacher, if a parent complains about her job performance, there can be consequences. Why should it be any different with the police, she asked?
Horne reached out to several media outlets, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings, and others to share her story and concerns about her experience with the police. Jennings is the only one, she says, who has yet to write her back. In an email, Jennings expressed concern over her encounter.
Horne says she is still processing the trauma of that day and is currently in therapy. Even with health insurance, she says, therapy is still expensive. Both emotional and financial burdens have been placed on her after this incident, and she wants to make sure those responsible are held accountable.