Charlotte undercover officers cleared in shooting of teen

mgordon@charlotteobserver.comNovember 11, 2013 

A state investigation has cleared two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers of wrongdoing in the June shooting death of a teenager during an undercover drug deal.

Jaquaz Walker died June 18 near Hidden Valley Elementary School. Police say the 17-year-old was a gang member who tried to rob a police informant during the drug buy.

Walker’s family requested an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is allowed under state law.

In a letter this month to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe, Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray said the SBI investigation uncovered no evidence that Officers Franchot Pack and J.D. LeCompte “acted unlawfully.”

“Consequently, this office will not pursue criminal charges against either officer in this matter,” Murray said.

Pack’s attorney, George Laughrun of Charlotte, said Monday the outcome was expected.

“We felt it was a good shoot from the start,” Laughrun said, crediting the officers with limiting their gunfire because the shootout took place in a neighborhood.

During a vigil after Walker’s death, his aunt, Deborah Walker, said police had gone too far. “Everyone deserves a second chance, and my nephew will never get that,” she said.

Police say Jaquaz Walker was a junior member – also known as a BG (short for “baby gangster”) – of the Hidden Valley Kings, considered one of the county’s most notorious gangs.

Last June, he and 17-year-old Davion Drayton were the targets of an undercover drug buy in the parking lot of Hidden Valley Elementary School. Murray said the teens had agreed to sell $60 worth of marijuana to an undercover officer and a police informant. Walker and Drayton later tried to rob the informant, Murray said, and the informant was shot in the shoulder.

Pack and LeCompte, who had been monitoring the drug deal, left their cars, identified themselves as police, and ordered the teens to stop, Murray said in his letter.

Walker opened fire, the prosecutor said. Drayton fled, shooting as he ran.

Pack returned fire, hitting Walker in the head. He was pronounced dead that night. LeCompte returned Drayton’s fire, but did not hit him.

Drayton was arrested in Hidden Valley the next day. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, robbery and conspiracy to rob.

Police said the drug deal was part of a larger crackdown on gang crime in Hidden Valley, a predominantly African-American community near Sugar Creek Road and Interstate 85. Police say the Kings took root there in the late 1980s.

At the request of police, a Superior Court judge in August approved a yearlong set of rules that makes it a crime for gang members to socialize with each other, including riding in a car.

Walker was identified as a member of the Kings in documents filed with the case.

Gordon: 704-358-5095

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