Video was released on September 25, 2020 that showed several Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officers breaking 37-year-old Anthony Caldwell’s car windows in a traffic stop from December 5, 2019 in Charlotte. The video took so long to be released because of the police investigation.
Three officers who surrounded Caldwell’s car failed to de-escalate the situation. The officers broke two windows of the car and arrested Caldwell, who suffered a fractured elbow. The officers were suspended without pay for two weeks. A second officer and a supervisor were also disciplined in the case.
On the day in question officers observed a white passenger vehicle traveling displaying a fictitious license plate. The officer activated his blue lights and siren in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver identified as Caldwell refused to stop. After following the vehicle for a short distance, the driver stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of the Extended Stay Hotel.
The officer approached the vehicle and repeatedly asked Caldwell to roll down the heavily-tinted windows and unlock the car door to allow the officer to conduct a field investigation. Despite numerous commands to roll down the windows and unlock the door, Caldwell refused to cooperate with the officer’s commands.
Caldwell asked to speak to a supervisor but the supervisor on scene refused. That supervisor was eventually disciplined for not speaking with Caldwell. Supervising cops on duty have to speak with a victim or suspect when requested.
In an attempt to arrest Caldwell, the officer used his collapsible baton to break the vehicle’s windows.
Once the officer gained access, Caldwell allegedly resisted arrest, which required the officer to employ a physical response to the resistance. The officers never told Caldwell what he was being arrested for, one officer even lied and said Caldwell was being arrested for everything.
Caldwell was placed in the back of a marked police vehicle and transported to jail. Caldwell was charged with failure to heed blue lights and siren, resist/delay/obstruct a law enforcement officer, driving while license revoked, operating a vehicle without liability insurance and displaying a fictitious registration number plate.
Caldwell had to be hospitalized with a fractured elbow. On December 9, 2019, Caldwell filed a complaint against the arresting officer.
On April 2, 2020, an independent chain of command review board reviewed the evidence, facts, and circumstances and concluded the manner in which the officer managed the encounter violated the police department’s conduct unbecoming policy, and the officer received an 80-hour unpaid suspension, is ineligible for promotion for a period of two years, and has been reassigned from his specialty unit.
During the course of the internal investigation, supervisors found two additional officers had violated department policy, and the department generated an additional internal review. This review determined a responding officer accidentally closed a police vehicle’s door on Caldwell’s foot and then failed to report the incident to a supervisor. This officer received a 24-hour, unpaid suspension.
It was also determined a sergeant on the scene also violated the police department’s rules of conduct for not speaking with Caldwell when Caldwell had requested to speak with a supervisor. This sergeant received a written reprimand for violating this rule of conduct.