Photo via WBTV
Police Video Shows North Carolina Cop Threatening To Kill Unarmed Man
Photo via WBTV
Police officers in North Carolina are justifying their use of excessive force while trying to subdue an unarmed man they say tried to run away during a traffic stop.
According to police in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area of North Carolina, James Yarborough was a passenger in a car that was pulled over during a traffic stop on March 26, 2016. Yarborough attempted to run from the police during the stop, with the cops ultimately apprehending him and using excessive force for four minutes — even threatening to kill him.
As video footage taken from two officers' bodycams shows, Police Officer Jon Dunham can be seen putting a gun to Yarborough's head and saying, "I'll kill you, you understand? Give me your hand, now." Later on in the video, once Dunham removes his gun from Yarborough's head, another cop can be heard threatening to "light him up" with a Taser.
Dunham has since justified his actions based on the belief he thought Yarborough had a gun. "At this point I observed him shove his hand towards his waistband. He was completely uncooperative," Dunham said in a report. "I believed he was reaching for a gun in an attempt to seriously hurt me or Officer Michaels; knowing that suspects are known to frequently place guns in the front if [sic] their waistbands, I drew my pistol and threatened to shoot him."
Following a review of the case, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division ultimately sided with Dunham, with Police Maj. Stella Patterson saying:
"When you look completely at the totality of the circumstances, you have to ask yourself ‘Was that reasonable in that situation?’ and, based on everything, it was reasonable."
In an interview with WBTV, Yarborough admitted that he has federal convictions for weapons possession, but ran away during the stop because the driver of the car was carrying a gun, and had picked Yarborough up when his own truck had run out of gas.
"The only thing I did wrong that day was run. That is the only thing I did wrong that day," Yarborough told WBTV. "I regret running."