CMPD chief decries low bond for suspect accused of shooting officer in NoDa

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings says “something is wrong with the system” after bonds were set for the suspect accused of shooting a police officer early Tuesday morning in NoDa.

Jennings uploaded a video to the police department’s YouTube page on Wednesday saying he’s taking action to address the bond amounts. He first complimented the officers’ response to the shooting scene and then gave information about the suspect, Toddrick McFadden.

We reported on the incident as it broke Tuesday morning. At about 2:30 a.m., a CMPD officer was shot in the leg after responding to a disturbance at a restaurant on East 36th Street near North Davidson Street. The officer was taken to a hospital and has since been released.

McFadden, 32, is facing multiple charges in connection with the incident, including two counts of assaulting an officer with a firearm and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

According to jail records, McFadden was granted bonds for his charges totaling $170,000.

Jennings said he disagrees with the decision to set the bonds at that amount, adding that McFadden can get out of jail by paying 10% of the bond amount.

“I’m committed to putting the work to do everything I can on my part,” Jennings said. “Seventeen thousand dollars to get out of jail after attempting to murder someone, after shooting someone and shooting into occupied property --not just on a law enforcement officer, but for any of our citizens-- to me is absolutely unacceptable. Now I may be missing something, but your lives are worth a lot more than $17,000 to let someone back out on the streets.”

The Fraternal Order of Police echoed Jennings’ sentiments, saying “this highlights why we’re upset.”

“Three officers were shot at this week alone,” the FOP said in a statement to WSOC. “One officer was shot and $160,000 is set [as bond]. I think there should be more people than us frustrated.”

Jennings says he’s continuing discussions with the magistrate’s office to work on a solution.

We reached out to the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office for a statement following Jennings’ video.

“Release conditions for all criminal defendants are set by judges and magistrates, not prosecutors. The initial bond is set by a magistrate upon arrest, and prosecutors don’t have an opportunity to make any arguments in regard to bond until a defendant’s first appearance in court before a judge. (In this case, the defendant’s first appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.)

“We take this matter seriously and look forward to reviewing all available evidence. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the victim and his family as this is a stark reminder of the risks and sacrifices peace officers endure daily. Because this case is pending, we are prohibited from further comment.” - Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office

On Thursday, McFadden’s bond for one of the attempted murder charges was increased by $100,000.

The Court Administrator’s Office sent Channel 9 a statement on Thursday about bond determinations saying it doesn’t comment on pending litigation or specific criminal cases. The statement did point to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which says excessive bail shall not be required.

“Most of the relevant statutory bail provisions are in Articles 24 and 26 of Chapter 15A (Criminal Procedure Act) of the North Carolina General Statutes. Article 24, entitled “Initial Appearance,” contains one provision: G.S. 15A-511. That statute provides that at the initial appearance the magistrate must:

• inform the defendant of “[t]he general circumstances under which he may secure release under the provisions of Article 26, Bail[;]” and

• that in circumstances other than when the magistrate finds no probable cause, the magistrate “must release him [or her] in accordance with Article 26 of this Chapter, Bail, or commit him [or her] to an appropriate dentation facility pursuant to G.S. 15A521[.]” G.S. 15A-521 (in Article 25, Commitment) in turn provides, in relevant part, that “[e]very person charged with a crime and held in custody who has not been released pursuant to Article 26 of this Chapter, Bail, must be committed by a written order of the judicial official who conducted the initial appearance as provided in Article 24 to an appropriate detention facility[.]”

Article 26 contains G.S. 15A-534, which addresses procedures for determining pretrial release conditions. G.S. 15A-534 provides that, in granting pretrial release, the judicial official must impose a written promise, custody release, or unsecured bond “unless he determines that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required; will pose a danger of injury to any person; or is likely to result in destruction of evidence, subornation of perjury, or intimidation of potential witnesses.”

Because a secured bond is not forfeited for any reason other than failure to appear, imposition of a secured bond cannot function to protect against injury or prevent the destruction of evidence, subornation of perjury or intimidation of witnesses unless it results in detention. Please note that there is no statutory authorization for preventative detention in North Carolina.” - 26th Judicial District Court Administrator’s Office

McFadden was still listed in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Mecklenburg County Jail records.

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