Testimony Begins For CMPD Officer Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

CHARLOTTE — Opening statements began Thursday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Phillip Barker.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting told the jury the case is about Officer Barker’s criminally negligent actions of July 8, 2017, when he responded to a call for service at the intersection of Kings Drive and Morehead Street.  Barker hit and killed CPCC student James Short.  Police say Barker was driving 100 miles per hour.

“James Michael Short was 28 years-old, and he is dead because of the actions of somebody we trusted to protect us,” says Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting.   Defense attorney George Laughrun told the jury Short was intoxicated, and had anti-depressants in his system which impaired his coordination.

“Mr. Bunting said he was drunk.  He was more than that, his blood alcohol was between .24 and .30, three times the legal limit.

Laughrun told the court Barker was on his way to a priority one call that night, which meant he had just minutes to get there.  The prosecution showed Barker’s body worn camera footage as he drove along Morehead Street.

CMPD Officer and certified driving instructor Tommie Horton took the stand.  He taught Barker in the police academy.  Horton told the court Barker failed to slow down to control the intersection as he sped through it.

Testimony resumes Friday.

CHARLOTTE — Trial begins Monday for a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer charged with involuntary manslaughter.  Officer Phillip Barker was a rookie on the force back in 2017.

On July 8, 2017, Barker was responding to an accident call when he approached East Morehead and Euclid Avenue.  Police say he was driving 100 miles per hour when he hit and killed James Short, a student at CPCC.

In 2019, the city of Charlotte settled the case, paying Short’s family $950,000.

Jury selection begins Monday at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.