CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer’s charge has been upgraded after he was accused of hitting and killing a Central Piedmont Community College student with his patrol car while on-duty.
Officer Phillip Barker was accused by a grand jury last month on charges of felony involuntary manslaughter in James Michael Short’s death.
Barker was originally charged with death by motor vehicle.
Authorities said Barker, 24, was going 100-mph in a 30-mph zone when he fatally struck Short, 28, in July on Morehead Street near Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. Investigators said that Barker was responding to a crash at the time of the accident.
Short was crossing at a red light and the officer had a green light, police said. However, police Chief Kerr Putney emphasized that the extra speed warranted charges against Barker in the first place
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have strict rules when it comes to emergency response.
The rules state that the officer’s speed must always be reasonable, and the department does not feel going 100 mph to an accident with minor injuries qualifies.
So, an officer responding to a man chasing someone with a gun would get a lot more latitude.
The rules state that the officer will reduce the speed of the police vehicle when approaching an intersection in that type of emergency.