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Man ingests vast amount of crack during traffic stop. Video emerges of him overdosing while in police custody, and now the family is suing.
Image source: YouTube screenshot

Man ingests vast amount of crack during traffic stop. Video emerges of him overdosing while in police custody, and now the family is suing.

'You think I want to die?'

A 41-year-old suspect who ingested a large amount of cocaine during a detainment overdosed after police took him into custody.

According to CNN, the suspect, Harold Easter, "was alone and crying out for help before collapsing."

What are the details?

Authorities conducted a traffic stop on Easter on Jan. 23, allegedly believing that the suspect was engaging in a drug deal.

During the stop, Easter reportedly ingested a large amount of crack cocaine, and authorities said he was in possession of both cocaine and marijuana.

Bodycam footage shows an officer pulling up behind Easter's vehicle with his gun drawn, demanding Easter stop eating the drugs.

"Don't eat it!" the officer shouts. "He's eating it. Hands up!"

Easter can be seen exiting the vehicle, and an officer handcuffs him without incident.

Following his arrest, authorities transported him to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, where he reportedly sat inside an interview room for about 45 minutes.

The outlet reports that Easter "was left alone several times."

At one point, Easter demanded water, and minutes later, a person walked in with the water for Easter.

Approximately 20 minutes later, Easter began seizing, and eventually collapsed on the floor of the room.

In one video, Easter — who is visibly shaking before he collapses — screams, "You think I want to die?"

'I don't believe these officers had malicious intent'

On Thursday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released at least 17 videos — including bodycam and surveillance footage — to provide context of Easter's arrest and subsequent overdose.

The same day, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Johnny Jennings said that officers violated department protocol by not checking in on Easter every 15 minutes.

"I don't believe these officers had malicious intent," Jennings said. "But they did make a bad decision, and they didn't follow policy. So those bad decisions have consequences. Especially when those decisions have contributed to the loss of a life, a life that we had the responsibility to protect."

He added that at least five officers who were reportedly involved in the incident resigned after an internal investigation into the incident.

The officers, according to Mecklenburg County's District Attorney Spencer Merriweather, will not face criminal charges.

In a letter to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Merriweather said that he was unable to "prove that Mr. Easter, after having voluntarily eaten a large amount of crack cocaine, would have lived had he received immediate medical attention."

"In fact, none of the medical experts consulted about the evidence in this matter would be able to testify to a degree of medical certainty that Mr. Easter would have lived after having ingested that amount of cocaine, even if officers had called for medical attention at the time of the initial traffic stop," Merriweather's letter added.

According to the outlet, a toxicology report for Easter showed cocaine, opioids, levamisole, and lidocaine in his body at the time of his death.

The state's chief medical examiner determined that Easter's death — ruled accidental — was due to suspected ingestion of a "toxic agent."

'Family meant everything'

Alex Heroy, a lawyer for Easter's family, told the outlet that Easter's mother "cried out the whole time for her son" while watching the video.

Heroy described the late Easter as a dedicated father to which "family meant everything."

"He's unbelievable," Heroy said. "He took his kids to daycare and preschool and school every day, oftentimes staying the day with them and helping out at the school. Family meant everything."

The family is now suing the city for wrongful death.

Harold Easter: Collapses, seizes in Charlotte police interview roomwww.youtube.com

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