CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle after hitting and killing a pedestrian while on duty last Saturday.
Officer Phillip Barker, 24, was responding to a call near uptown Saturday, July 8, when he hit 28-year-old James Michael Short who was crossing the street. The incident occurred around 3:20 a.m. on Morehead Street at Euclid Avenue. Short was pronounced deceased at the scene.
During a press conference Wednesday, CMPD Chief Putney said Officer Barker was traveling at 100 mph on a 35 mph limit road when he hit Short. Putney said Short was crossing the intersection against a red light.
Officer Barker was transported to Presbyterian Hospital following the crash. He was treated for minor injuries sustained during the collision.
CMPD placed Barker on administrative leave without pay following the incident. On Wednesday, Putney announced he had been charged “very recently.”
According to Putney, Barker was just released from the probation period that follows training as a CMPD officer. Putney noted multiple times that charging Barker was not easy, but the right thing to do.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Putney said. “Anyone could make a mistake like this, he’s a young officer.”
Putney said the compelling evidence in this situation was Officer Barker’s speed and disregard for the general public’s safety. Footage of the incident will be released following further investigation, Putney said.