Father drops to the floor of an interview room and convulses after swallowing a bag of cocaine and repeatedly telling cops ‘I’m going to die’
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Footage shows moment Harold Easter, 41, collapsed in police interview room
- Easter was arrested on January 23 and swallowed a bag of cocaine, police said
- While he was left alone in the room, he cried out for help before falling on floor
- He is then seen convulsing for several minutes before a sergeant finds him
- Easter was then taken to a nearby hospital where he died three days later
- Earlier this week, four North Carolina cops and a sergeant resigned following an investigation into the in-custody death of the father
- The officers resigned a week after they were cited for termination, officials said
- The cops allegedly knew he ingested the drugs but didn’t seek immediate help
- The DA’s office said no charges will be filed against officers because there wasn’t proof that Easter would have survived if he did have immediate help
North Carolina police have released video footage of a father convulsing in an interview room after swallowing a bag of cocaine, three days before he died in hospital.
On January 23 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers arrested Harold Easter, 41, on drug charges after he was found in possession of marijuana and cocaine.
He ‘ingested and swallowed cocaine’ during the traffic stop and was later left unattended in an interview room for 20 minutes where he suffered periodic seizures.
At some point while in the interview room, Easter cried out for help and reportedly told cops: ‘I’m going to die.’
When he was finally found in medical distress he was rushed to a hospital and died three days later.
Footage from the interview room was released on Thursday and shows the horrifying moments that Easter begged for help before leaning over a table and collapsing onto the floor in convulsions.
In the video, Harold Easter is seen being placed in an interview room at 12.19pm, where he was checked on periodically
A short time later, the clip shows him leaning over a table before falling to the ground and suffering periodic seizures around 1.06pm. He was discovered by a sergeant at 1.13pm and taken to a hospital where he died three days later
A few months after Easter’s deaths, Attorney Alex Heroy told NBC that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that officers believed Easter swallowed cocaine and did not get him medical attention.
‘It is obvious that he needs immediate medical attention,’ Heroy said. ‘For a period of minutes, he was calling out for help, acknowledging the peril he is in and just repeating, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die,”‘ Heroy said.
‘They just did nothing about it and they did nothing about it for a long, long time and then when they did try to give help, it was way too late.’
Earlier this week, four North Carolina police officers and a sergeant resigned after they were all cited for termination for Easter’s in-custody death.
Last week the five CMPD employees involved – Sgt Nicolas Vincent, Officer Brentley Vinson, Officer Michael Benfield, Officer Michael Joseph and Officer Shon Sheffield – were ‘cited for termination’ following an internal investigation and by Tuesday had resigned.
‘The five sworn employees who were cited for termination following the internal investigation into the death of Harold Easter have resigned,’ a CMPD public information officer confirmed to WBTV.
On September 18 CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings announced the termination recommendations saying the officers had ‘intimate knowledge’ that Easter had ingested cocaine.
On January 23 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers arrested Harold Easter (left and right), 41, on drug charges after he was found in possession of marijuana and cocaine
‘Had our officers followed our policy, Mr Easter may be alive today,’ Jennings said.
‘And had our officers had more concern for the sanctity of Mr Easter’s life, we may not have had such a tragic outcome with this.’
The officers had been on administrative leave with pay in the midst of the investigation.
In the video, Easter is seen being placed in an interview room at 12.19pm, where he was checked on periodically.
A short time later, the clip shows him leaning over a table before falling to the ground and suffering periodic seizures around 1.06pm. He was discovered by the sergeant at 1.13pm and taken to a hospital where he died three days later.
Despite being cited for termination, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer B. Merriweather III determined last week that no charges would be filed against the five CMPD employees involved in Easter’s death.
A 35-page report released last week said the state would have to prove the officers knew or should have known that Easter ingested cocaine and that their failure to get medical attention resulted in criminal negligence.
They’d also have to prove that the failure to obtain medical attention was the cause of his death.
‘There were three medical experts we consulted. None of those three could say with a degree of medical certainty that he wouldn’t have died,’ Merriweather said.
‘It’s because of the amount of cocaine and cocaine tablets in his system,’ he added.
Earlier this week, four North Carolina police officers and a sergeant resigned after they were all cited for termination for Easter’s in-custody death. Easter is pictured with his family members
Attorney Heroy slammed the officers for ‘trying to escape accountability’ in resigning before an official board hearing.
‘The officers remarked several times that he ate cocaine…For a period of minutes he was calling out for help and just repeating, ‘I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die,’ family Heroy said to WCNC.
The District Attorney’s Office condemned the officers in the case saying they could have taken different actions that could have prevented Easter’s death.
‘The video image of Mr Easter slowly beginning to perish, unattended, for over 15 minutes has left an indelible mark upon each of us,’ Merriweather said.
‘We also acknowledge that a person certainly might reasonably—and justifiably—infer that different actions by the officers could have saved Mr Easter’s life.
‘That inference alone is insufficient to sustain a criminal prosecution, but it is wholly appropriate to deem what occurred on January 23, 2020 to be an abject failure of operating procedure and general standards of custodial care,’ he added.
Easter’s death sparked outrage in the state and led to changes within the CMPD including a new policy where officers must continuously observe any person while they’re in custody.
Last week Easter’s family held a press conference after the District Attorney’s decision saying they’re still mourning the loss of their loved one.
‘I miss him everyday. Every second, every minute, every hour of everyday. I’m still upset. It doesn’t bring him back but at the same time, if he has been treated like a person with respect, we wouldn’t be here today. He’d still be with us,’ Harold’s sister, Andrell Mackey said.