Charlottes’ Citizens Review Board plans to meet in May to review a controversial police detainment case after voting unanimously last week to investigate the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s decision not to punish the officers, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday (April 13.)
The 2021 case involves officers confronting at gunpoint second-grade teacher Jasmine Horne, a Black woman, whom they mistakenly identified as a stabbing suspect. Horne wasn’t injured but feared for her life and complained about the mistreatment.
An internal Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department investigation later cleared the officers of wrongdoing.
According to the Observer, the board’s decision to hear a citizen’s complaint suggests that there’s enough evidence to show that the officers should have been disciplined. But it’s rare for the independent board to rule against the police. If that does happen, the board still lacks the authority to overrule the police chief.
On June 14, 2021, the police said they were searching for a suspect accused of stabbing a man multiple times. The victim knew the woman and gave investigators her name. According to the cops, the suspect had the same last name as Horne but a different first name, Jaselyn.
Police body camera footage captured the moment when the police, with guns drawn, approached Horne, who was sitting in her car outside her home. They ordered her to step out of her vehicle and placed her in handcuffs. The officers put her in a police vehicle for about 15 minutes before they figured out that they detained the wrong person.
An internal police probe concluded that the Charlotte officers did not violate any department policies. The department said it was a case of mistaken identity.
In its deliberations, the review board doesn’t have subpoena power to force the officers involved to testify, according to the newspaper. And although it lacks the authority to overrule the police department’s decision, the board can release detailed findings and make recommendations.
Charlotte’s city manager has the authority to review the board's findings and reverse the police chief’s decision not to punish the officers.