Crime & Courts

Charlotte-Mecklenburg cop charged with sexual battery after encounter at uptown club

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Katrina Graue tells reporters that a CMPD officer was charged with sexual battery Tuesday afternoon.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Katrina Graue tells reporters that a CMPD officer was charged with sexual battery Tuesday afternoon. jwester@charlotteobserver.com

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer has been charged with sexual battery after a woman reported that he touched her inappropriately at a club in uptown Charlotte, Deputy Chief Katrina Graue said Tuesday afternoon.

Officer Michael Santiago, 30, has been placed on unpaid leave, Graue said. He is a patrol officer in Central Division, which covers uptown, but he was not working at the time of the reported incident, police said.

The woman reported Santiago’s alleged behavior to a private security guard at the Roxbury nightclub in uptown early Sunday morning, Graue said.

The security guard talked to CMPD officers who were working off-duty outside the club, and then CMPD sexual assault detectives responded to the scene, Graue said.

Graue said Santiago was served with a criminal summons Tuesday afternoon, which is an alternative to an arrest warrant. It means the magistrate ordered Santiago to appear in court after hearing CMPD’s account of the case. His court date wasn’t immediately available Tuesday.

Sexual battery is a misdemeanor that involves touching someone’s buttocks, breasts or “sexual organ” against someone’s will for sexual arousal, Graue said.

Santiago was hired in June 2016, Graue said.

CMPD released a statement from Chief Kerr Putney after Graue described the case to reporters Tuesday.

“I am disappointed by this incident,” Putney said in his statement. “As officers, we uphold the law and absolutely will not tolerate one of our own violating it. Officers who disregard the law will be held accountable for their actions.”

Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.
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