A white police officer from Greensboro, NC, will not face criminal charges after he was filmed brutally assaulting an unarmed black man who was sitting on his mother’s porch.
On Monday, Guilford County Chief Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann said that, despite having violated his department’s “use of force” policy, former Greensboro Police Department officer Travis Cole did not break the law when he participated in the arrest of Dejuan Yourse earlier this summer.
Body-camera footage of the July 17 arrest shows Yourse sitting calmly on his mother’s front porch when police arrive in response to a neighbor’s call of a possible break-in. After several minutes of polite questioning, during which Yourse explains that he is waiting for his mother to get home, Cole is seen poking Yourse in the chest and can be heard saying “you seemed a little animated.” Shortly thereafter, Cole attempted to arrest Yourse, viciously hitting him as the two struggled.
Yourse was eventually charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
Charges against Yourse were quickly dropped and two separate investigations into Officer Cole were launched, resulting in his resignation from the force on August 19. However, as local news outlet Triad City Beat learned, Cole had, in fact, been promoted on August 1—several days after the internal investigation into his conduct had been launched.
Cole’s conduct became national news after footage of the arrest was made public at a September 26 Greensboro City Council meeting where authorities apologized to Yourse and his mother.
“It was ugly. It was brutal. It was completely unnecessary,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said at the meeting. “We as a city council agree,” she told attendees. “Black lives matter.”
The city council also voted 8–0 in favor of a resolution urging District Attorney Neumann to refile charges against Cole after having declined to do so in August.
However, on Monday, Neumann made clear that the case was closed, even though an internal investigation had concluded that Cole violated a number of department policies during Yourse’s arrest. Neumann also declined to charge Officer Charlotte N. Jackson, who participated in Yourse’s arrest.