CRB finds fault, disagrees with chief in violent arrest of unarmed man

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Citizens Review Board voted to disagree with the findings of an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department into the violent arrest of an unarmed man in March 2016.

James Yarborough was arrested by CMPD officers on March 26, 2016 after running from a traffic stop. Body cam video from Yarborough's arrest shows an officer pressing his pistol to Yarborough's head and threatening to kill him.

The video also shows officers repeatedly punching, kicking and elbowing Yarborough until another officer arrives on scene and tells the four men on top of Yarborough to get off of him so he can put his hands behind his back.

The incident was brought to light this spring when WBTV obtained body camera video of the incident.

At the time of WBTV's first story, the CMPD major over internal affairs defending the officers' behavior and said no policies were broken.

After WBTV's investigation, though, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said the officer should not have pressed his pistol to Yarborough's head and threatened to kill him.

Yarborough and his attorney filed a complaint with the CRB earlier this year.

This summer, the board ruled there was enough evidence presented during a preliminary hearing to hold a second, evidentiary hearing on the matter.

That evidentiary hearing was held on Tuesday. Board members voted 7-1 to recommend Putney's ruling on the internal affairs investigation be overturned.

The CRB recommendation will now be forwarded to Putney and City Manager Marcus Jones, who will have the ultimate decision in whether to overturn CMPD's decision in the case.

"I spoke with the chief and he is more than eager to go ahead and get those recommendations from the CRB to determine what it is we can go ahead and implement once we find it's appropriate," public information officer Rob Tufano said Wednesday. "Really interested in reviewing those similar to the way we were interested in reviewing their relevant recommendations that came out of the evidentiary hearing that came out of the Scott hearing earlier this month."

CMPD released the following statement Tuesday:

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:

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