Jurors hold fate of CMPD officer charged with involuntary manslaughter

The fate of a CMPD officer who struck and killed a pedestrian while speeding on E. Morehead Street near uptown Charlotte now rests in the hands of a jury.

CMPD Officer Phillip Barker, 29, faces an involuntary manslaughter charge relating to the July 2017 death of James Michael Short, 28.

Driving more than 100 mph, Barker was on his way to an accident scene when his police vehicle collided with Short, who was in a pedestrian crosswalk. The speed limit there was 35 mph.

Following closing arguments on Tuesday, Judge Robert Ervin gave jurors final instructions before sending them to decide on one of three possible verdicts — guilty of involuntary manslaughter, guilty of misdemeanor death by vehicle, or not guilty.

Barker could be sentenced to up to five years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

Prosecutors in their closing argument said the charges are “based on the facts” that Barker violated his duty as a police officer by driving recklessly.

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