End Use of Excessive Force by Police Officers

Target: Kerr Putney, Chief of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)

Goal: Require that officers use body cameras at all times and that department policies be made stricter on the use of excessive force.

An unarmed African American man was allegedly punched and elbowed repeatedly by four officers before one officer pointed his gun to the man’s head and said, “I will kill you.” The man, James Yarborough, was pursued by the officers after a traffic stop. The incident was partially recorded via body cam footage. The officer in the video who reportedly threatened to kill Yarborough, Officer Jon Dunham, claimed in an official statement that the suspect had reached into his waistband for what he thought was a weapon, but the video appears to tell a different story, showing Yarborough on the ground with his hands in front of him. At the end of the video, another officer is heard giving instructions to turn off the body camera.

Yarborough admits that while he should not have run from the police he had done nothing wrong, and all charges against him have been dropped at this time. However, it is troubling that alleged excessive force to this extent was used in the first place, and that death threats were used against an unarmed man while he was unable to reach for a weapon of any sort. What is also worrisome is the fact that officers were told to turn off their body cameras, as if to cover up any potentially incriminating evidence.

While Officer Dunham has since left the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, neither the police chief nor any other CMPD authorities have stated that his actions violated department policy. We must demand that officers be held to a higher standard and that policies be changed to prevent excessive force, along with the mandatory use of police body cameras at all times. Sign this petition to tell the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief that all officers must be held accountable and that incidents such as these must be brought to an end.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Putney,

An unarmed man named James Yarborough recently had a gun pointed to his head as an officer threatened to kill him, reports say. The victim had been punched and elbowed repeatedly over several minutes, as apparently shown on body cam footage, and had his hands out in front of him, unable to reach for a weapon of any kind had he possessed one. This contradicts Officer Dunham’s statements saying Yarborough reached into his waistband for what he presumed was a gun. There was no reason for Dunham to threaten to kill this man, or to point his weapon at him.

While Officer Dunham has since left your police force, you now have the opportunity to ensure that this does not happen again. I urge you to review your policies and commit to ending the use of excessive force once and for all, and make to certain that the use of body cameras is made mandatory at all times.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes

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2 Comments

  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    Since cops cannot be trusted, DEMAND that each and every single one wears a body camera at all times!!! Nothing is off the table where they’re concerned, from the killings of innocent people to implementing excessive force upon them!!! Sick and Tired of them throwing their weight around!!! Discipline these Incompetents NOW!!!

  2. Body cameras should be required for ALL cops at ALL times, for the protection of the public. If mandatory body cameras become law, I think the number of abusers and sociopaths applying to become cops will be greatly reduced.

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