CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The attorney for a CMPD officer charged with hitting and killing a man who was crossing the street says while the situation is tragic, the officer did not commit a crime.
Attorney Michael Greene, who represents 24-year old Phillip Barker, the officer charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in the death of 28 year old James Short, says the officer did not get a chance to tell his side of the story and give a statement to investigators before he was arrested Wednesday.
Barker was going 100 miles an hour in his patrol car responding to an emergency, according to the CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney.
“The compelling evidence here was that even with all the mitigating factors, we couldn't overcome the speed and the lack of due regard for the safety of others,” Putney said.
Fox 46 Charlotte asked Attorney Corey Rosensteel, who is not connected with the case, why the officer was charged with a misdemeanor?
“Certainly there are some factors that would lead the District Attorney to consider a lesser charge. One of the factors that would be considered would be the conduct of the other person involved,” Rosensteel said.
Short had a red light. The officer had a green light, and was running lights and sirens, responding to a car into a building with injuries, according to investigators.
“One of the concerns that they would have with charging a police officer with manslaughter would be that the police officer was doing his duty as an officer and trying to respond to an accident and that could conceivably to a jury mitigate things,” Rosensteel said.
The fact that the officer was going to an emergency call matters, according to Rosensteel, along with the fact that he had a green light. But generally speaking the attorney says a case involving a police officer isn't treated any differently than any other driver under the law.
Barker is on unpaid administrative leave with CMPD. His next court date is August 16.