A group of Charlotte police is under investigation for pointing a gun at and handcuffing a schoolteacher in front of her house in a case of mistaken identity. The city’s Citizens Review Board unanimously voted to hear the woman’s complaint after she reported the incident to officials.
The Charlotte Observer reports the incident began when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers stopped Jasmine Horne in front of her home as she was sitting in her car on Monday, June 14, 2021.
One cop said a detective emailed them the information about the car and the name Jaselyn Horne, a different but similar name.
Police bodycam video, released by the city in January, shows how officers confronted her in front of her home on Englehardt Street in west Charlotte, pulled a gun out on her, put her in handcuffs, and placed her in a patrol vehicle, while an elderly lady said to be her grandmother look on.
Throughout the video, you can hear Horne breathing heavily as she attempts to calm herself during the incident. At one point, an officer asked if she was OK. She replied in the affirmative and continued to maintain her composure.
One cop told the two older women a detective emailed them the information about the car and the name Jaselyn Horne, a different but similar name. At no point was Horne made aware of why she was being detained.“
For some reason, we got an email saying that a Jaselyn Horne was driving your daughter’s vehicle,” footage shows an officer explaining to Horne’s mother, who is on a phone, and her grandmother. “And so, we found the vehicle and your daughter in it, and we thought that’s who that was.”
“For some reason, we got an email saying that a Jaselyn Horne was driving your daughter’s vehicle,” footage shows an officer explaining to Horne’s mother, who is on a phone, and her grandmother. “And so, we found the vehicle and your daughter in it, and we thought that’s who that was.”
The mother says, “No, that’s my daughter’s car.”
The cop agrees but continues to justify his and his fellow officers’ actions, saying, “that’s why we’re confused and we’re trying to sort it all out.”
The officer asks the family members if they knew the person Jaselyn, spelling her name out for clarity. They said “no.” Earlier, when they asked the grandmother, she believed the cops might have been looking for Joycelyn, Jasmine’s twin sister.
After a while, it became clear the men in blue had the wrong person.
The officer said to the mother, “OK, well, your daughter is out of handcuffs she’s about to be let go, um I just wanted to talk to y’all and see if you knew who that was.”
Just becoming aware of the severity of the detainment, the mother snapped, “You handcuffed my daughter?”
“Yeah, based on what I told you,” he responded.
“Why would you handcuff my daughter and that’s her car?” the mother asked in disbelief. “That’s her vehicle.”
The second grade teacher later would say she was terrified, imagining at the time she might meet the same fate as Breonna Taylor, who was gunned down in March 2020 by police executing a search warrant in her Louisville apartment.
Horne and her attorney Darlene Harris, who specializes in police misconduct and criminal defense believe the officers should be held accountable for what they did to her.
The police contend someone misspelled Jaseyln’s name as Jasmine when they entered it into their license plate reader system, a tracking program that uses camera technology to locate vehicles throughout the city.
Jaselyn, who was wanted in a stabbing incident in which the victim gave police her name as his assailant, was eventually found, arrested, and charged with attempted first-degree murder on June 16, 2021, two days after the officers detained Jasmine Horne.
Charlotte’s Citizen Review Board voted 9-0 in favor of further investigating this complaint, despite CMPD finding that its officers followed department policy.
A hearing is scheduled later in the spring for Horne to present her case, one that she says has left her traumatized.
The review board believes, as a part of their decision to allow the complaint to go forward, Horne has presented enough credible evidence showing that the police force should have taken disciplinary action against the officers involved.
CMPD released a statement via social media regarding the incident that read, “The actions of the officers who detained Jasmine Horne were found to be within policy of the CMPD as the officers were acting in good faith with the information that they were provided.”
Horne’s family won an unexpected victory when the review board agreed to take the complaint.
She said, “I was really surprised about that because I was told most times with the Citizen’s Review Board maybe it won’t be in the other side’s favor when you’re going against the police department.”
However, it may not result in disciplinary actions against the officers, as the board does not have the authority to overrule the police force’s decisions.
One of the board members, attorney Julian Wright, said the purpose of the board is to hear the citizen complaints only to categorize them into one or more of the following areas: the unlawful use of force, unlawful arrest, improper search and seizure, racial profiling, conduct unbecoming of an officer, or any officer-involved shooting.
“The board can only give an advisory opinion; the board can’t make the chief change his mind or make the police department discipline the officers,” Wright said. “But it can write out and does typically write out detailed findings and recommendation of how the citizen’s review board thinks the matter should be handled.”
The CMPD’s chief will receive the recommendation from the board and have up to seven days to decide to present the findings to the city manager. The city manager will make the final decision as to punish the officers involved in the mix-up.
Horne said she had hoped she would at least received an apology, “I think that giving an apology would mean admitting a mistake and I think when it comes to law enforcement there is sense of authority they try to maintain, and they don’t want to lose that.”
She wants law enforcement to engage in more training and education, saying, “I do think this will make the police officers more reluctant to pulling out their guns and picking up people off the street.”
Horne’s hearing with the review is scheduled for May 12.