Harold Easter, died in police custody after consuming a vast amount of crack. The police stopped to check him out due to suspicion that he was selling drugs. He saw the police and started eating his hefty supply of crack cocaine.But later, at the station house Easter OD’ed from the crack and died. Now his family is suing the police.
Back at the precinct, the arresting officers put Easter in an interrogation room. When this is done, the officers are supposed to check on him every fifteen minutes. They failed to do so, although the chances are if he had been at the hospital, they could not have saved him. But, there would have been a chance.
He had just been given water 20 minutes before he began convulsing from the OD and before he collapsed he shouted, “Do you think I want to die?” On Thursday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released at least 17 videos, including body cam footage to give the incident some context.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Johnny Jennings also added that the arresting officers did not follow police procedures. They failed to check on the prisoner every 15 minutes. They could face disciplinary action for that but it is not known if they will face charges pertaining to Easter’s death.
“I don’t believe these officers had malicious intent. But they did make a bad decision, and they didn’t follow policy. So those bad decisions have consequences. Especially when those decisions have contributed to the loss of a life, a life that we had the responsibility to protect.”
Jennings said in light of the investigation five officers resigned from the force. Mecklenburg County’s District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said that the officers will not face criminal charges.
“In fact, none of the medical experts consulted about the evidence in this matter would be able to testify to a degree of medical certainty that Mr. Easter would have lived after having ingested that amount of cocaine, even if officers had called for medical attention at the time of the initial traffic stop.”
In a letter to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Merriweather said that he was unable to “prove that Mr. Easter, after having voluntarily eaten a large amount of crack cocaine, would have lived had he received immediate medical attention.”
According to the outlet, a toxicology report for Easter showed cocaine, opioids, levamisole, and lidocaine in his body at the time of his death.
The state’s chief medical examiner determined that Easter’s death — ruled accidental — was due to suspected ingestion of a “toxic agent.”
“He’s unbelievable,” Heroy said. “He took his kids to daycare and preschool and school every day, oftentimes staying the day with them and helping out at the school. Family meant everything.”
The family is now suing the city for wrongful death.
Here is what I have a hard time understanding. If he was such a dedicated family man, why didn’t he work? He can walk the kids to school and spend entire days with them, then he couldn’t be working.