Police Use Of Force Justified In Officer Involved Shooting Arrest
CHARLOTTE, NC - Investigators with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Internal Affairs and Homicide Units have concluded their investigation concerning an excessive use of force allegation involving CMPD officers.
On March 20th, officers attempted to stop a vehicle being driven by Malcolm Xavier Springs, who fled the scene after shooting a man on West Trade Street. Springs subsequently jumped from the vehicle, leading officers on brief foot pursuit. The gunman, still armed at the time, eluded officers by running into a residential neighborhood on Garibaldi Avenue.
Steele Creek Officer Brent Harrison located the suspect a short time later running towards him in between homes on Garibaldi Avenue. Springs confronted the officer and fired his weapon striking Officer Harrison in the leg. Officer Harrison fell to the ground, but managed to return fire from a prone position striking the suspect in the torso.
Additional officers responded and saw that Officer Harrison was shot, they observed the Springs running away and gave pursuit on foot. Officers began to struggle in an attempt to take him into custody. Springs refused to obey repeated commands to comply with the officers and submit to arrest. This struggle took place within approximately three feet from the suspect’s weapon which was lying on the ground.
Following the incident, CMPD received information from citizens who stated they observed officers kicking and striking the Springs while he was on the ground. Some witnesses stated officers struck the suspect after he was placed in handcuffs. After learning of these serious allegations, CMPD immediately began to investigate to determine all of the facts and circumstances concerning this incident.
CMPD’s Internal Affairs Division immediately began the investigation and collaborated with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, FBI, US Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice, due to the seriousness of the allegations that were made.
Investigators immediately returned to the neighborhood in an effort to locate individuals who witnessed the incident. Investigators interviewed a multitude of witnesses. Several of these individuals were interviewed as many as three times in an effort to ensure all information was obtained. Malcolm Xavier Springs was interviewed by Internal Affairs investigators on two separate occasions. Additionally, CMPD utilized the media asking anyone in the public who may have witnessed the incident to come forward or call a hotline CMPD dedicated specifically to this investigation.
Several canvasses of the area and neighborhood were conducted at different times of the day and night to give investigators several different perspectives of the crime scene. These canvasses included retracing the paths of the vehicle and foot pursuits as well as the area of Malcolm Xavier Spring’s apprehension. Locations that were retraced included streets, heavily wooded areas and fence lines. The police chief himself retraced these locations several times in an effort to ensure investigators had the proper resources and staff they needed to conduct a thorough investigation. More than 600 pages of information including documents, statements and photographs were generated during the course of this very comprehensive investigation.
The investigation confirmed officers did strike and kick the suspect during the struggle and that these strikes and kicks were delivered to maintain control of the suspect and to prevent him from gaining access to the weapon during the apprehension. These strikes and kicks were justified according to departmental policy and training. It was also determined that officers did not strike or kick the suspect after he was placed in handcuffs.
Investigators found no evidence to support the allegations of excessive use of force by the officers on the scene. This conclusion was determined after investigators reviewed the consistency of all statements from witnesses, police, fire and medic personnel who were on the scene of the incident as well as the hospital staff who treated Springs. The review of medical records, photographs, audio and video recordings were also critical in determining the facts of this case. Investigators concluded that the officers involved utilized the reasonable amount of force necessary consistent with departmental policy and training.
A review will take place to determine whether any enhanced training would be necessary concerning officers’ communication with each other when arresting a combative suspect. In addition, the manner in which officers give verbal commands to combative suspects will be reviewed.
“The actions of our officers were lawful, proper, and just, and they fell within CMPD’s use of force guidelines. I want to assure the public that we do not take allegations of this nature lightly and that we always will conduct an aggressive and thorough investigation,” stated Chief Rodney D. Monroe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
In addition, I want to thank our citizens for their support which played a key role during the investigation. I encourage the public to always come forward with any information that would be beneficial to an ongoing departmental investigation. We have a responsibility to work together, police and citizens alike, to keep our community safe.”