Family of man who died in CMPD custody demands transparency from department

Family of man who died in CMPD custody demands transparency from department

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Harold Easter’s family is asking for justice days after he died in police custody.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say Easter had a medical emergency after they arrested him for drug charges and were transporting him back to the station for processing. Easter died a few days later after being rushed to the hospital.

Now family and friends are asking for transparency about what happened during his arrest and answers on if officers’ actions could have led to this death.

His family and friends held a press conference outside of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Metro Division station Tuesday. That’s where Easter was brought after his arrest.

“His last words were probably ‘Someone please help me,’ and they allowed this to happen," said Gemini Boyd, on behalf of the family.

Police arrested the 41-year-old on drug charges on Thursday. Police said Easter had cocaine and marijuana in his possession.

At the station, police say Easter lost consciousness. His family and friends say Easter didn’t have any known medical condition. That’s why they say him suddenly passing out and getting sick at the police department raised questions.

“When Harold left from the other end of this street from Oaklawn he was alive and well. For some odd reason when he landed here, things changed," said Boyd.

“He was a great father, a great brother, a great son. Words cant really express the type of person he was," said Andrell Mackey, Easter’s sister.

Easter’s mom was also there and didn’t speak publicly but could be heard sobbing in the background, “My baby, my baby is dead.”

Right now, the five officers involved are on administrative leave while CMPD’s homicide unit and its internal affairs bureau investigate what happened.

This is all standard operating procedure after any in-custody death.

“We want an outside entity to investigate this, and I repeat this, an outside entity to investigate this, meaning the FBI needs to come in and look at the death of Harold Easter," said Boyd.

Those officers on administrative leave are Sergeant Nicolas Vincent, Officer Michael Benfield, Officer Michael Joseph, Officer Shon Sheffield and Officer Brentley Vinson. Officer Vinson was the officer who shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in 2016. He was exonerated by the district attorney’s office and never faced charges.

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