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Former Youth Pastor Dies While Being Restrained by Police During Domestic Disturbance Call

Screengrab via Facebook @Shafaa Lucinda

Former youth pastor Christopher Hensley (35) died on June 15 while being restrained by North Carolina’s Fletcher Police Department after he allegedly struggled with officers following a domestic disturbance call.

Hensley served as North Carolina’s Rapha House Church’s youth pastor for a little over a year in 2017-2018. Rapha House’s senior pastor Greg Lewis described Hensley as someone who was “always volunteering for anything we needed done.”

Lewis explained that after the church was unable to pay Hensley, who is a father and husband, he had to quit as their full-time youth pastor. “It’s just a tragedy,” Lewis said. “I loved Chris. As a pastor, with a pastor’s heart, you love people. I’m just grieving like everyone who knew Chris…He had the unique gift to bridge social, economic, and cultural diversity.”

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The Fletcher Police Department responded to the Seasons at Cane Creek apartment complex regarding a woman’s 911 call saying that Hensley wouldn’t let her leave the house and that he might possibly be on drugs.

Witnesses saw police use a stun gun on Hensley then restrain him on the ground. In a video that was captured by a one of the residents at the apartment complex, as many as seven people, most of which appear to be officers, can be seen pinning Hensley face down to the ground.

While on the ground, Hensley was attempting to move his legs until he stopped moving entirely a few minutes into the video. “I just witnessed this right in front of my house. My neighbor, I believe, is dead,” the resident said.

In a statement, the Fletcher Police Department shared that an investigation is underway regarding the “in-custody death” of Hensley.

“After responding to a 911 call for help, officers encountered thirty-five-year-old Christopher Robert Hensley,” the statement said. “A fight ensued between officers and Hensley. After being handcuffed, Hensley became unresponsive. Hensley later died at the hospital.”

The video shows officers performing CPR on Hensley after they realized he was unresponsive. Two of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave while the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation conducts their investigation.

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Hensley’s mother, Cathrine, has flooded Facebook with images and stories of her son. “As a mother I am broken. As a strong Christian, my faith remains solid, strong, and unshakeable,” she wrote. “Christopher was my first born, my right hand my helper, gave me support and always strength in my weak moments. He was a great son. No human life should ever be taken down that way. He did not commit a crime or [have] any weapons on him.”