City's statement regarding police incident | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

City’s statement regarding police incident

June 06, 2017

The City received a complaint involving one of our police officers’ handling of an incident at the Madison branch of Lakewood Library in November 2016.

On November 7, 2016, a Lakewood police officer, Kevin Jones, was working off duty at the Lakewood Public Library. He encountered a 17-year-old female in the library and spoke to her about violations of the library rules. The officer advised the female she would have to leave the library due to the rules violations. The officer took hold of the female and began escorting her to the front door. The officer took hold of the female by the arm and back of the neck and they fell to the ground. The officer then put the female in a full-nelson-type hold and began taking her out of the building. They fell again to the ground, with the officer falling on top of the female. The female sustained an injury to her mouth as a result of the fall.

An investigation was commenced by the Lakewood Police Department into the actions by Officer Jones. He was placed on administrative leave and prohibited from working off-duty employment. On December 19 a hearing was conducted on departmental charges for using unreasonable and unwarranted force, bringing discredit to the Lakewood Police Department and not activating his body worn camera at the appropriate time. Officer Jones was issued a 40-hour unpaid suspension, was referred to the employee assistance program, received additional training on the dynamics of officer-citizen encounters to reinforce proper ways to de-escalate and handle these types of situations, and denied permission to work off duty at the Lakewood Library.

“We appreciate residents’ concerns and comments on this matter,” Police Chief Timothy Malley said. “We believe that the officer and the girl tripped causing the injury. We also believe that the incident was not handled properly by Officer Jones.”

Malley said that when employees act outside of their training and responsibilities, they are held accountable. The Lakewood Police Department trains its employees to only use force when reasonable and required.

“We train all of our department in crisis intervention and ways to de-escalate confrontations, along with the proper use of force,” Malley said. “We expect all of our officers to treat all of our citizens with respect and courtesy and hold them accountable if they don’t. All of our officers work hard every day to be responsive and respectful of the many difficult situations we have to face every day, and do so with substantial success. When we don’t handle it properly we need to be sure to take measures to avoid future instances such as this.”

The city will be responding more fully to the complaint as part of the court process.