ROCK HILL, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The former Rock Hill Police officer who was fired and charged with a misdemeanor following the controversial arrests of two brothers that sparked several nights of protests in June is set to stand trial in October.
Officer Jonathan Moreno’s jury trial will begin on October 26, court officials confirmed to FOX 46 Charlotte.
The incident that sparked the controversy began on June 23 when officers said they stopped Ricky Price for making an illegal turn and changing lanes unlawfully.
Ricky Price pulled over at a gas station on Willowbrook Avenue. Police said Price was on the phone with his brother Travis telling him he had been stopped. The lawsuit alleges Travis had not spoken to Ricky on the phone.
Rock Hill Police said officers called for a K-9 to sniff Price’s car because of his prior history. Officers found two bags of marijuana in the driver’s side door panel and a handgun in his car.
As Ricky was being arrested, police said Travis Price showed up at the scene and approached officers.
In a video posted to Facebook, officers are seen pushing Travis Price in the green shirt back. This is after they said Travis shoved officers and would not put his hands behind his back when they told him he was under arrest for interfering.
Off to the side, police said they tried to help Ricky, wearing a blue shirt, remove his jewelry, but in the process, they claim he tried to escape and hit the officer several times.
Once the fight hits the ground, one officer starts hitting Ricky repeatedly.
LINK TO FULL ORIGINAL VIDEO ON FB. Please be aware that there is profanity and the content of this video might be disturbing.
In a surveillance video released on June 28, Travis Price can be seen approaching the scene of Ricky’s arrest. He appears to grab some of the jewelry from his brother before he is eventually pushed back by police.
Officers push Travis back into a fuel tank before the altercation turns physical.
Rock Hill Police released a full statement after the incident that said Travis Price “shoved officers” and was non-compliant.
Weeks later, charges against Travis were dropped and a Rock Hill Police officer was fired from his position as the City of Rock Hill apologized to him.
“I was robbed of my dignity, something that I’ll never get back,” Travis Price said during a news conference held by his attorney and other community leaders.
Officer Jonathan Moreno was charged with third-degree assault and battery for his alleged involvement in escalating the situation.
“It has been found that investigator Moreno’s interaction with Travis Price violated the standards set forth in our policies by not attempting to deescalate the situation. In fact, he escalated the situation. Based on the totality of investigators Moreno’s actions, his employment has been terminated,” Rock Hill Police Chief Chris Watts said.
Moreno was charged with a misdemeanor and faced 30 days in jail or a fine if convicted.
FOX 46 Charlotte will continue to bring updates as Moreno’s trial approaches.