Charlotte, NC — In November 2019, officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department along with agents from the FBI Safter Streets Task Force were executing an early morning SWAT raid on Larry McConneyhead for selling substances deemed illegal by the state. McConneyhead never fired at any of the officers but that didn’t stop agent Clarence Delano Belton, Jr. from being hit with several bullets.
Thanks to his trigger happy comrades helping him to arrest a man for selling substances, Belton was hit several times — not by bullets from McConneyhead — but by police bullets. Now, the taxpayers of Charlotte will be held liable.
According to police, they were executing the warrant just before 6 p.m. back in November 2019 when they spotted McConneyhead in his driveway, rolling his trash out to be collected. When McConneyhead saw the armed group of people coming at him, he ran inside.
Police claim that when they followed McConneyhead back into his home, he allegedly met them at the door with a gun. As the incident unfolded, one of the officers in the pack dumped 14 rounds in McConneyhead’s direction. Not a single bullet hit McConneyhead and instead several of them went into Belton’s body because that’s who the officer was aiming at.
“[McConneyhead] was pointing a handgun at the law enforcement team members, so one of them shouted, ‘gun!’ resulting in one of the law enforcement officials being shot several times,” the police reported at the time.
The trigger happy cop who opened fire was the now-former CMPD Officer Heather Loveridge. A year after the incident, Loveridge was fired for the reckless shooting which landed Belton in the hospital with multiple bullet wounds.
According to a recent lawsuit filed by Belton against the City of Charlotte and Loveridge, Belton was a cop with the City of Gastonia for nearly a decade until the shooting ended his career.
According to WBTV, the lawsuit accuses Loveridge and the City of negligence, accuses Loveridge of assault and battery, as well as violation of fourth amendment rights and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
“Loveridge is being sued in her official capacity under state law for negligence in the wrongful shooting of Belton and the City has waived governmental immunity as to this claim,” the lawsuit reads.
“Alternatively Loveridge is sued in her individual capacity under state law for assault and battery for shooting Belton. Her conduct exceeded the scope of her lawful authority, was intentional and exhibited willful and wanton reckless disregard for Belton’s rights and safety. Thus, her conduct pierced any claim to public officer immunity she might invoke as to this individual capacity state law claim,” the lawsuit continued.
As WBTV reports:
The lawsuit claims that while a search warrant was being executed at the home, another task force officer rammed the door open into the house McConneyhead was in. At that time, the lawsuit claims Belton saw a woman inside the house pointing a gun at him, so he shouted “Gun, gun” and fired one shot toward the woman.
The lawsuit continues, saying Belton felt his right arm go numb, dropped his weapon and he moved to the right to exit the garage. The lawsuit says Belton continued to hear shots being fired and as he tried to exit the garage, he slipped and fell to the ground in the garage and began to crawl out toward the exit of the garage.
This is when the lawsuit claims that Loveridge, from where she stood in the driveway at the entrance of the garage, fired her weapon at Belton as he tried to exit the garage. The lawsuit claims Loveridge shot at Belton while he did not have a weapon and was crawling on the ground out of the garage.
The lawsuit claims that Loveridge fired her service weapon 14 times at Belton, shooting him several times in his right arm and left arm.
According to the lawsuit, Loveridge kept firing at the unarmed fellow officer on the ground until she heard someone yell, “he’s a cop!” Words that arguably saved his life.
“Loveridge intentionally used deadly force against Belton that was unreasonable and excessive and without legal justification,” the lawsuit states.
Despite the facts of the case, Loveridge was never charged with a crime and will likely maintain her law enforcement status.
While this case seems outrageous, it is not uncommon. Earlier this month, TFTP reported on the tragic story of Vancouver Police Officer Donald Sahota. Sahota was in the middle of protecting his family from an armed intruder when police showed up to his home, mistook him for a suspect, and kill him.