Citizens Review Board Rules Against CMPD In James Yarborough Case For The 1st Time In History

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On Tuesday, the Citizens Review Board voted 7-1 against CMPD for the first time in the board’s history. The CRB says Chief Putney made the wrong decision when he chose not to discipline the officer who placed a gun to James Yarborough’s head during an arrest on March 26th.

After the CRB’s ruling, CMPD released the following statement:

Since the Citizens Review Board heard the initial appeal of this case, CMPD has made policy changes in response to concerns raised by board members. Those include:

  • Creating a unit to randomly audit body worn camera video from all officers with the intent of identifying organizational training gaps and individual policy violations.
  • Giving immediate attention to tactical concerns noted in use-of-force cases, regardless of whether policy violations also are involved.
  • Treating all complaints brought to CMPD Headquarters or a Division Office in person, as formal complaints, any time they involve issues reviewable by the Citizens Review Board.
  • Completing and adjudicating internal investigations, even if officers leave CMPD before the process is completed.

Chief Kerr Putney welcomes any recommendations the board sees fit to make and is committed to fully reviewing each of those to determine whether they can help us more effectively serve our community.

Original post from May 17, 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC — Body cam video from a 2016 use of force incident involving a former CMPD officer has been released.

The incident happened on March 26 involving former CMPD Officer Jon Dunham and the suspect James Yarborough. The department recently petitioned the courts to release the footage, which was finally made available Wednesday.

WARNING: Videos contain footage of a graphic nature and strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.

According to reports, Yarborough refused to comply with officer’s commands, resisted arrest, and tried to run during a felony traffic stop. Officer Dunham drew his service weapon on Yarborough during the struggle, and officers were eventually able to place him under arrest.

Police say a gun was found in the passenger area of the car where Yarborough was sitting.

Yarborough was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Felon and Resisting Arrest, but both charges were later dismissed.

An investigation determined that Officer Dunham’s use of force did not violate state law, but did recommend that Dunham receive additional training and verbal communication.

After the investigation concluded, Officer Dunham resigned from CMPD.

Related Article: Chief Putney Reacts To Body Cam Video Showing Officer Point Gun At Suspect’s Head

Chief Putney released the following statement regarding the incident:

Anytime an officer has to engage in a use of force situation the optics are always unpleasant. We as a department hold ourselves to a high standard and believe the level of force was legally justified.  I cannot defend the language, nor can I defend all of the tactics employed by one of the officers.  We as an organization strive to be as restrained as possible by applying the minimal force necessary to arrest a person who is resisting.