CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police confirm a drug suspect has died after suffering a medical emergency while in police custody.
Police said 41-year-old Harold Easter passed away from the medical emergency he sustained on January 23.
On Friday officers reported they observed a suspected drug transaction near the intersection of Whisnant Street and Burton Street around 11:40 a.m on Thursday. A traffic stop was then conducted on the suspect’s vehicle.
The driver was identified Easter, which he was found with possession of cocaine and marijuana, police said.
Easter was taken into custody for drug and traffic charges and was being transported for police processing when he suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, police said.
Easter lost consciousness and officers began administering medical aid.
Easter was transported by Medic to a nearby hospital for his life-threatening condition, police said.
The extent of the injuries was not disclosed.
Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s homicide unit have been assigned the case and are leading the investigation.
The CMPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is also conducting a separate, parallel investigation to ensure the officers’ actions were consistent with the CMPD’s policies and procedures, police said.
Easter has previously been arrested for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, Mecklenburg County records indicate.
As is standard procedure for any in-custody death investigation, the officers involved in the incident are placed on administrative leave to ensure their actions were consistent with the CMPD’s policies and procedures. Below is a list of members of the CMPD related to the incident:
- Sergeant Nicolas Vincent was hired on January 28, 2008, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
- Officer Brentley Vinson was hired on July 21, 2014, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
- Officer Michael Benfield was hired on October 27, 2014, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
- Officer Michael Joseph was hired on May 21, 2018, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
- Officer Shon Sheffield was hired on August 13, 2012, and is assigned to the Metro Division.
This is an active and ongoing investigation.