Raleigh, North Carolina – One of three candidates to become Raleigh’s next police chief said four years ago she had no problem with an officer seen in a video holding a gun to a man’s head.
Estella Patterson has been Deputy Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department since 2019. She has risen through the ranks of the department since its inception in 1996.
At a forum Thursday night where she and the other two candidates for Raleigh answered questions from the public, Patterson vowed to make Raleigh America’s safest community. She also said any police misconduct, especially race-related, must be investigated.
“If we have an incident in which an officer or employee is accused of making a racial statement or comment, we will investigate,” she said.
But in 2017, she defended an officer from Charlotte who threatened to kill an unarmed man. At the time, she was the head of the internal affairs office of the police department.
Body-worn camera footage obtained by WBTV in Charlotte shows officers arresting James Yarborough, and an officer identified as Jon Dunham can be heard threatening him.
“Stop. I’ll kill you,” Dunham said in the video, pressing a gun to Yarborough’s head.
The arrest follows a traffic stop in which Yarborough attempted to flee from the police and filed an excessive force complaint against Dunham.
“When you completely look at the totality of the circumstances, you have to ask yourself, is that reasonable? And based on everything, it was reasonable,” Patterson told WBTV when asked for camera footage. bodily.
Days later, then police chief Kerr Putney called Dunham’s behavior indefensible.
Dunham had already left the department by the time the WBTV story aired, and he was never formally reprimanded for the incident.
Patterson did not respond to WRAL News requests for comment on Friday.
Neither Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, any member of city council, City Manager Marchell Adams-David, nor the research firm the city uses to help veterinary candidates for police chief responded to requests. no comments either.
The municipal council will be able to choose the next chief during its meeting next Tuesday. Police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown is retiring on June 30 and officials have said they would like the new chief to be in place by then.
The other two candidates are Rob Lowe, Deputy Superintendent of the Cambridge (Mass.) Police Department, and Darryl McSwain, Chief Constable of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Department.