Family claims police damaged home while looking for man who wasn’t there

CHARLOTTE — An east Charlotte family said their home was badly damaged on July 11 after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers searched the house trying to find a man with outstanding felony warrants.

CMPD officials said they were looking for Trey McClendon, 19, after they received a tip from a resident on Andora Drive that he was barricaded inside a home there. McLendon was arrested at that home in January 2020 and charged with possession of a stolen firearm. He is an acquaintance of the residents who were residing in the home on July 11, police said.

McClendon had “multiple outstanding violent felony warrants for his arrest, including two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury,” CMPD said in a statement.

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Officers said since the suspect had a violent history, they brought in SWAT and members from the Violent Crime Apprehension Team.

“They brought some kind of tank,” neighbor Reggie Jones said. “Some kind of army-looking tank somewhere between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. and hit the house a couple of times. They dropped some things in there that made some noise.”

“It was loud pops and bangs and big flash of light like lightning from the truck,” neighbor Howard Bryant said.

CMPD said it breached the exterior of the home and deployed pepper spray into it. Officers then shot tear gas trying to get the suspect out.

The standoff lasted eight hours. CMPD did not find McLendon after searching the home for several hours. He was arrested without incident on Friday.

The family’s home now has damage to the roof and interior.

The family held a news conference Friday demanding CMPD take responsibility for the damage.

“CMPD has a history of harming black people and no ones being held accountable, and we’re saying no more,” said the Rev. Corine Mack, with the NAACP.

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McClendon does not live in the London’s home, said Dominique Camm, the family’s attorney.

“Various members of the London family offered their keys to allow VCAT or SWAT to enter the house and search for Trey, despite telling them nobody was in the house,” Camm said in a statement.

Daughter Ebony London said, “Chief Deputy Stella Paterson oversaw the operation and assured us that if CMPD had keys to enter the property, that excessive force was not necessary.”

He said there were about 20 squad cars, and what some described as tanks and advanced military gear, at the home. There was also a negotiator at the scene.

“The London family was forcibly escorted outside of sight distance from their own house until around 3:30 a.m.,” Camm said. “The neighborhood and the London family believe tear gas, flashbangs and the ‘tank’ were used to destroy their house. When they were allowed to return, nobody had warned them of the damage done to their house.”

Risk Management with the city of Charlotte is working with the owner of the house to start the process of having the house repaired.

“(Paterson) explained to the family there may be small holes in the house,” said Dominique Camm, with the Freedmen Law Group. “No one described the damage that you see here.”

The renters of the home declined assistance from CMPD. They found alternate living arrangements while those repairs are being made.

“The resulting circumstances following the operation are regrettable as the CMPD always strives to balance public safety while protecting personal property,” CMPD said in a second statement.

CMPD Lt. Andy Harris sent Channel 9 the following statement:

“On July 11, 2020, at 6:05 p.m., Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department patrol officers and the Violent Crime Apprehension Team, attempted to serve outstanding felony warrants on Trey McClendon. McClendon had multiple outstanding violent felony warrants for his arrest, including two counts of Assault with a Deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. CMPD received information from members of the neighborhood that he was barricaded inside of the residence.

“SWAT was called to the scene to assist with his apprehension given McClendon’s violent history. After several hours of attempting to communicate with Mr. McClendon were unsuccessful, officers attempted to enter the location to take McClendon into custody. Once officers gained access to the residence, they determined that McClendon was not present in the residence.

“The operation to gain access to the residence caused property damage. Members with the CMPD spoke with the owners of the property and assisted them with the necessary information needed to submit a claim for reimbursement of damages with the City of Charlotte Risk Management.”

“The London family and their attorney plan to hold a press conference about the incident at 8:30 a.m. Friday.”

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