Sources: Harrisburg officer with questionable past under investigation again

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Did the City of Harrisburg know about an officer’s questionable past before hiring him?

ABC27 News has learned the conduct of Officer Christopher Mackie is under investigation once again.

After an August 2014 incident outside a Virginia Beach 7-Eleven, Mackie and other officers were found liable for excessive force and fined $5,000. A lawsuit alleged Mackie and those other officers used “unnecessary, excessive, and physically abusive conduct” against Robert Ames.

But it was a tasing incident in January 2015, also in Virginia Beach, that ultimately led to Mackie’s voluntary resignation.

A viral Facebook video shows Mackie repeatedly pepper spraying and tasing a 17-year-old boy who refuses to get out of a car during a traffic stop. You can hear officers say that marijuana could be smelled coming from the car.

The department internally investigated Mackie’s actions, saying that despite his misconduct, Mackie was within the law.

“Up to the Taser, everything was in policy,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said in 2014. “Once the Taser was utilized, it was outside policy.”

Mackie would ultimately resign in April, before sources say he was hired by Harrisburg Police in January 2018.

Fast forward to 2019, those same sources tell abc27 that Mackie is once again being investigated for misconduct in connection with a June 29 incident at the Dauphin County booking center that left Jarrett Leaman, 24, bruised and bloodied.

“When he went into the cop vehicle, he was okay,” said Leaman’s attorney, Leticia Chavez-Freed. “And then to look at himself the next morning in the hospital, he was horrified.”

Leaman had been arrested for public drunkenness outside of Harrisburg’s Cork and Fork restaurant on North Second Street.

Chavez-Freed says she’s seen the surveillance video from the booking center, which she claims shows several corrections officers and a cop beating her client.

“These people, just like a school teacher or anyone else, need to be held accountable,” she said.

Sources also claim that Mackie was involved in a May 16, 2019, incident that was captured on Facebook video, showing Harrisburg police officers yelling expletives at residents on State Street during a homicide investigation.

We reached out to Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter and Mayor Eric Papenfuse for comment and clarification about whether or not Mackie’s past was known before his hiring, but have not heard back.

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