Video Source: Advocate Channel
(CNN) — Prosecutors have dropped charges against Christina Pierre, the woman who was struck in the face by a Charlotte police officer and was later seen on video being repeatedly punched and kneed by another officer during her arrest earlier this month, court records show.
Pierre and her fiancé, Anthony Lee, were arrested on November 13 and each charged with marijuana possession and resisting officers, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Additionally, Pierre was charged with assault and Lee was charged with possession of a concealed weapon, police said.
All charges against Pierre and Lee have been dismissed, court records show.
Pierre’s attorney, Lauren Newton, said in a statement, “We are pleased to see the justice system working as it should be with these dismissals.”
Police Chief Johnny Jennings called the dismissal “disappointing” in a statement Tuesday. He added, “However, I have a great deal of respect for our District Attorney and know he has a difficult decision to make when it comes to the prosecution of these cases.”
Police initiated an internal affairs investigation into the arrests after a bystander video circulated on social media showed several officers holding Pierre down as one officer hit her multiple times. Police later said Pierre was resisting arrest as the officer struck her 17 times with his knee and fist, actions the department said were “consistent with training.”
The short video captures less than a minute of officers’ interactions with Pierre that day and does not show what led up to the officer striking her.
Officers initially approached Pierre and Lee because they were seen smoking marijuana at a bus stop, police said. After officers informed the pair they were under arrest, the couple resisted arrest and struggled with officers, according to police.
Three days after the arrest, police said their investigation determined Pierre struck one of the officers in the face multiple times during that initial struggle — which the viral video does not show — and the officer hit her in return.
“We can now confirm based on interviews and witness accounts that an officer, in response to being physically assaulted, returned a strike to Ms. Pierre’s face one time,” the department said in a statement. “This strike occurred during the initial encounter at the bus stop with the responding officers prior to the struggle on the ground involving several other officers.”
As several more officers arrived, Pierre continued to resist arrest, lying down on her hands and ignoring verbal commands, according to police.
A second officer, identified as Vincent Pistone, “struck the female subject seven times with knee strikes and 10 closed fist strikes to the peroneal nerve in the thigh to try to gain compliance. The officer was intentional about where the strikes were made,” the department said.
Pistone was temporarily reassigned from the patrol division to an investigative division, Jennings said the day after the arrest. Police have not publicly identified the officer they say hit Pierre in the face.
CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, Jillian Sykes, Wesley Bruer and Alta Spells contributed to this report.
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