Review questions Yellow Springs police officers’ response during celebration


YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (AP) — A review has raised questions about police officers’ tactics at an Ohio village’s New Year’s Eve celebration this year after hundreds of residents complained.

The residents’ complaints about what they called heavy-handed tactics at Yellow Springs’ decades-old ball drop celebration led to the resignation of Police Chief David Hale.

The report filed Friday by two attorneys questioned officers’ decision to use a cruiser in an attempt to get the crowd, which included children and people in wheelchairs, to move off the street at the celebration, The Dayton Daily News reported.

“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 report questioned the use of sirens to disperse the crowd and it was critical of how two officers handled their Tasers during the incident.

The attorneys interviewed and reviewed statements from police, former police chiefs, the village manager and 38 residents.

The report said that police officers on duty on New Year’s Eve should be made fully aware of the traditions, nature and timing of the event. It said a supervisor should also be on duty that night.

Village Manager Patti Bates declined to comment on the report, citing an ongoing disciplinary review regarding the officers’ conduct. Bates said a discussion is planned for Monday evening.