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Charlotte Area

Investigation Launched After Man Loses Consciousness In CMPD Custody, Dies

CMPD vehicle

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say an investigation is underway after a man died over the weekend following a medical emergency while in their custody. 

Harold Easter, 41, died Sunday, according to the department. Easter was arrested about 11:40 a.m. Thursday and suffered a medical problem while he was being processed for arrest at a CMPD office and lost consciousness, the department said in a news release.

According to CMPD, officers tried to administer medical aid and called for paramedics. Easter was taken to a hospital but died three days later. Detectives are investigating the death and CMPD’s internal affairs office is also investigating whether the officers involved followed department policies and procedures.

CMPD says officers stopped a car Easter was driving on Thursday after seeing what they thought was a drug deal at Whisnant and Burton streets. They allegedly found cocaine and marijuana and arrested Easter on related charges.

So far, police have not released any information about what may have caused Easter’s medical problem.

Five officers — Sgt. Nicholas Vincent and officers Brentley Vinson, Michael Benfield, Michael Joseph and Shon Sheffield — were placed on administrative leave during the internal investigation, which the department says is standard procedure. 

Vinson is the officer who shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in 2016. The shooting led to days of unrest and protests in Charlotte. In that case, Vinson was later cleared of wrongdoing by the police department and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office. 

The Citizens Review Board was split 4-4 on whether officials should have cleared Vinson.