Man Threatened, Beaten By CMPD Officers Will Have Case Heard By Review Board
The Charlotte Citizens Review Board has found "substantial evidence of error" in CMPD's decision not to discipline an officer who held a gun to a man's head and threatened to kill him.
The man, James Yarborough, fled a traffic stop in March 2016. Footage of the incident shows he was chased on foot, then tackled and pinned to the ground by Officer Jon Dunham. Dunham pulled out his gun, placed it to Yarborough's temple, and told him, "I will kill you."
In the ensuing minutes, Yarborough was tased and punched by other officers arriving at the scene. He is repeatedly commanded to "stop resisting."
Yarborough's attorney, Luke Largess, contends that the actions taken by CMPD officers that day were not in line with CMPD directives.
"Mr. Yarborough was putting up what is defined as defensive resistance," he said. "He wasn't trying to hurt the officers, he was just trying to escape from them. And in those circumstances, you can't use the Taser - which they used at one point on him - you can't use the gun - which they pointed at him, obviously didn't use it, but threatened to - and you just can't use any impact weapons."
Officer Dunham later said he believed Yarborough had a gun in his waistband, and an internal review found Dunham and other officers were justified in their use of force, noting that Dunham never placed his finger on the gun's trigger. Still, CMPD Chief Kerr Putneytold reporters at a press conference in April that the officers' actions that day, especially Dunham's, were "indefensible."
Following the 2016 incident, Dunham resigned from CMPD, and now works for the Davidson Police Department.
The Citizen's Review Board will hear the case in September. The hearing will be closed to the media and the public because it concerns personnel matters.
Correction - An earlier version of this web story gave the incorrect month of the incident, which occurred in March 2016, not June 2016.