A review of police behavior at this year’s Yellow Springs New Year’s Eve celebration criticized some of the officers’ tactics and offered recommendations on how to prevent future problems.
The incident prompted hundreds of residents to complain about what they called heavy-handed tactics, attracted national media attention and led to the resignation of Police Chief David Hale.
The 22-page report filed Friday by attorneys David Williamson and Matthew Suellentrop of Bieser, Greer and Landis questioned the decision by officers to use a cruiser in an attempt to get the crowd to move off the street as revelers took part in the village’s decades-old New Year’s Eve Ball Drop celebration.
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“Of the policies from other jurisdictions we studied, we could find no recommendation of the technique of driving a motor vehicle into a crowd of people for crowd dispersal,” the report said. “On the contrary, some event safety policies specifically prohibit the use of police vehicles for crowd dispersal.”
The crowd included children, people in wheelchairs and dogs on leashes in front of the cruiser, the report stated.
The report also questioned the use of sirens to disperse the crowd.
“ … the crowd did not disperse but mistakenly thought there was a medical emergency,” the report said. “The use of the sirens, particularly the high-decibel continuous siren, was inappropriate under the circumstances.”
Village Manager Patti Bates declined to comment on the report Friday afternoon. She cited ongoing disciplinary review regarding the officers’ conduct.
She said the report will be discussed at 7 p.m. Monday at the Village Council meeting in the Bryan Center gym.
The report also was critical of two officers for how they handled Tasers during the incident.
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