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Police: CMPD officers behaved appropriately when arresting man at protest

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they believe their officers behaved appropriately when arresting a man outside a “Moral Monday” demonstration on Labor Day.

Ty Turner, a community activist who once ran for a state Senate seat, was arrested then un-arrested and released without being booked into jail. He was ultimately given a citation for posting handbills on cars.

His arrest was caught on video at least twice – by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer and on Turner’s phone, which he briefly held above his head out of officers’ reach.

Officer David Trapeano, who arrested Turner, remains on the force and has not been placed on leave, according to Deputy Police Chief Kerr Putney. Still the arrest is under investigation, and police have asked anyone who may have recorded the altercation to submit video to the department.

“I don’t see that as outside the bounds of what a reasonable officer would do,” Putney told reporters. His remarks at a 4:30 p.m. news conference at police headquarters followed a news conference hosted by the NAACP early Wednesday. Turner said he spoke at that news conference. Others talked about notifying City Council members of the incident, and of the need to strengthen the Citizens Review Board, which looks into complaints of police misconduct.

Turner said he was at Monday’s protest putting fliers on cars for a political candidate when he was approached by Trapeano and other bicycle officers who told him his actions were against a city ordinance.

The situation escalated when Turner asked the officers to show him the ordinance he was accused of violating. He says he pulled out his phone and began speaking louder, hoping to attract the attention of nearby protesters.

Turner was placed in handcuffs and moved away from the crowd, twice, while officers filled out an arrest report. He said officers should have taken him to jail, instead of to an empty parking lot with no civilian witnesses around.

“I just want to know was that the correct procedure,” Turner told the Observer on Wednesday. “That was scary. If that had been at night, it might have been a different story.”

Putney, who ultimately responded to the scene and made the decision to un-arrest Turner, said officers are not required to show a person a law or ordinance when making an arrest. He said officers routinely take a person away from the scene of a disturbance to ease the tension of a crowd.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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