by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Opening statements begin Wednesday in the civil trial of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer accused of using excessive force. Officer Michael Forbes responded to a domestic violence call in July 2011 at the light rail stop on Woodlawn Road.
He said he found La Reko Williams uncooperative and trying to leave the scene. Police said Forbes fired his Taser at Williams once, knocking him to the ground. Saying Williams refused his commands to roll onto his stomach, Forbes fired a second burst from his Taser. Williams died about an hour later.
Forbes was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but the civil suit now being heard in federal court alleges Forbes used excessive force by firing a second time.
"The question is really one of reasonableness," said legal expert James Wyatt. "Was the force necessary to stop the conduct that was in question?"
Attorneys told jurors to expect to hear from multiple police officers who responded to the scene. They'll also hear versions of the events captured on police recorders.
Williams’ mother and father filed suit on behalf of Williams' estate. "I'm just wanting justice to be served," said Temako McCarthy, Williams’ mother.