CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Jason Van Aken was arrested Friday by CMPD detectives and charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and simple assault.
Van Aken is accused of assaulting Terance Malachi, 30, during an interview at the Metro Division on Aug. 14.
"He assaulted Mr. Malachi by pushing him with an open hand," said CMPD Deputy Chief Kerr Putney, during a press conference Friday. "Mr Malachi, who was in handcuffs and shackles at the time, fell over the chair behind him, hit a wall and broke his collarbone. Officer Van Aken then again pushed Malachi down into the chair."
The deputy chief said the incident was caught on video and internal affairs began investigating possible excessive force.
On Friday, it was determined there was enough evidence also criminally charge the officer with two counts of misdemeanor assault.
Channel 9 talked with his attorney later that evening.
"My client didn't commit any crime," said Mark Foster. "He's shocked that he's been charged by his department and feels falsely accused."
Foster claims Van Aken said Malachi was being unruly following his arrest from a west Charlotte gas station on a weapons charge.
Channel 9 went to Malachi's home Friday but was told he didn't feel comfortable speaking with the media. Malachi was not aware of Van Aken's arrest.
Van Aken was hired by the CMPD on April 25, 2011, and was last assigned to the Metro Division as a patrol officer.
The officer was placed on unpaid administrative leave and has had his gun and badge taken while the internal investigation continues.
An administrative court date has been set for November, according to Van Aken's attorney.
"We plan to take this to trial," said Foster. "My client was simply performing his duties as a police officer."
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