Charlotte, N.C. – (Thursday, September 24, 2020)
– On December 5, 2019, at approximately 8:00 p.m., a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer observed a white passenger vehicle traveling on Billy Graham Parkway displaying a fictitious license plate. The officer activated his blue lights and siren in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver refused to stop. After following the vehicle for a short distance, the driver stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of the Extended Stay Hotel on Yorkmont Avenue.
The officer approached the vehicle and repeatedly asked the driver to roll down the heavily-tinted windows and unlock the car door to allow the officer to conduct a field investigation. Despite numerous commands to roll down the windows and unlock the door, the driver refused to cooperate with the officer’s commands. In an attempt to take the driver into custody, the officer used his collapsible baton to breach the vehicle’s window. Once the officer gained access, the driver resisted arrest, which required the officer to employ a physical response to the driver’s resistance.
The driver, Anthony Caldwell, DOB: 05/30/1983, was placed in the back of a marked CMPD police vehicle and transported to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) where he was charged with failure to heed blue lights and siren, resist/delay/obstruct a law enforcement officer, driving while license revoked, operating a vehicle without liability insurance and displaying a fictitious registration number plate.
Upon his release from the MCSO, Caldwell transported himself to the hospital due to complaints of pain in his arm, and he was diagnosed with a fractured elbow. On December 9, 2019, Caldwell filed a complaint against the arresting officer, and the CMPD immediately launched an internal investigation. During this internal investigation, supervisors took statements from Caldwell, the arresting officer, and the other officers who had responded to the scene to assist. Several body-worn camera videos were also reviewed in addition to independent video footage from a civilian.
On April 2, 2020, an Independent Chain of Command Review Board reviewed the evidence, facts, and circumstances and concluded the soft-empty hand control techniques the arresting officer employed to respond to Caldwell’s level of resistance were consistent with departmental training and policy. The review also concluded the manner in which the officer managed the encounter violated the CMPD’s Conduct Unbecoming policy, and the officer received an 80-hour unpaid suspension, is ineligible for promotion for a period of two years and has been reassigned from his specialty unit.
During the course of the internal investigation, supervisors found two additional CMPD officers had violated department policy, and CMPD generated an additional internal review. This review determined a responding officer accidentally closed a police vehicle’s door on Caldwell’s foot and then failed to report the incident to a supervisor. This officer received a 24-hour, unpaid suspension. It was also determined a sergeant on the scene also violated the CMPD’s Rules of Conduct for not speaking with Caldwell when Caldwell had requested to speak with a supervisor. This sergeant received a written reprimand for violating this rule of conduct.
A Superior Court Judge has granted a petition for the release of all body-worn camera videos associated with this incident. The videos can be viewed from our dropbox folder
The CMPD will continue to hold officers accountable when their actions violate department policy.