The police department of Charlotte, North Carolina is making a bold move by defending police officers who were caught on camera using excessive force on an unarmed suspect.
In the video, you can see the four officers punching and elbowing the suspect, James Yarborough, in the head.
The officers stopped the car that lit up as wanted in connection with a string of larcenies. That is when Yarborough decided to flee from the scene. In retrospect, he regrets doing so, because his actions resulted in a struggle that lead to him being put in handcuffs.
Although he ran, it does not mean that he was guilty of anything. His car ran out of gas and he was picked up for a ride.
The man who gave him the ride tried to sell him a gun, which he was not interested in buying. He has prior arrest history for illegally possessing firearms, so this spooked him. He decided it would be better to run than to face charges again.
This was obviously the wrong decision. Although people do not always to the right thing, it is the moral imperative of police officers to be firm but fair with all citizens. Excessive force is unacceptable.
Several minutes into the chase, the video shows the first officer chasing Yarborough fall down in pain, apparently injured somehow during the foot chase. A second officer’s body camera picks up the pursuit, showing the moments when Yarborough is captured and brought to the ground before the four-minute-long struggle ensues.
“I will kill you” The second officer’s body camera video shows Yarborough on the ground for 17 seconds before an officer pulls out his pistol and presses it to Yarborough’s temple on the left side of his head.
“Don’t [expletive] resist,” one officer says to Yarborough seconds before the weapon appears in the video. Once the gun is pressed to Yarborough’s head, an officer is heard saying “I will kill you, you understand? Give me your hand, now!” Yarborough said he thought, in that moment, he may die.
“That moment felt like—it felt like it might have been my last day,” Yarborough said. The gun only appears in the video for roughly ten seconds before the officers puts it away and calls for another officer to use a Taser to shock Yarborough.
“Light him up, he don’t want to do it,” an officer is heard saying of Yarborough refusing to put his hands behind his back. At that point in the video—roughly 37 seconds after Yarborough had been brought to the ground—he is laying on the ground with both arms extended in front of him with what appear to be several officers on top of him.