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CMPD Officer's Shooting Of Woman Under District Attorney's Review

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

CMPD is investigating Wednesday night’s fatal shooting of a woman by an officer who was also involved in a fatal police shooting in 2012. Police say officer Anthony Holzhauer shot 20-year old Janisha Fonville after she refused repeated orders to drop a knife – and lunged at officers.   Police had responded to a domestic violence call involving Fonville and another woman in Dillehay Court, off North Tryon Street. All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey talks to WFAE's Duncan McFadyen about the investigation.

MR: Duncan, where are police in the investigation?

DM: Well, Chief Rodney Monroe told reporters this morning that police have interviewed a woman who witnessed the incident as well as both officers who were in the apartment, including Officer Holzhauer. Monroe says CMPD is not looking to charge Holzhauer with a crime. But he says the District Attorney’s office will review the investigation, as it does with all cases like this one.  

MR: And why is that important?

DM: It’s important because there’s always an extra layer of scrutiny on shootings that involve police officers. Retired assistant Mecklenburg County D-A Steve Ward says police want people to have confidence in their decision, especially if that decision is not to press charges. In his words, they’re looking for “a second set of eyes”:

FORMER ASST. D.A. WARD: By having an independent party look at this and determine if an officer’s conduct rises to the level of criminal behavior, it should give the public a certain level of confidence that the police aren’t just trying to sweep things under the rug. 

MR: Will the Police Citizens Review Board be involved?

DM: After the investigation is over, it will be up to the family whether to appeal the case to the review board.

MR: Now Officer Holzhauer is on “administrative leave”  during this investigation. We often hear about that in these kinds of situations, but what does that actually mean?

DM: This is standard procedure for any officer involved in a shooting investigation. The officer does not report to work, but has to be “on call” for supervisors. Administrative leave can be paid or unpaid…in this case, Officer Holzhauer is being paid. And we should point out, this is the kind of incident that will be caught by body cameras in the future. CMPD plans to start issuing those cameras next month, and all patrol officers should have them by September.