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Middletown police chief responds to mother’s allegation of officer misconduct

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 1:40 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:03 PM

Mother says her son was beat up by Middletown police officers

A mother’s post on Facebook that her son feared for his life during an arrest by Middletown police was “blown out of proportion,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said.

In a Facebook post attributed to LaShandra R. Tatum, Isaiah Elliott’s son, she wrote: “Middletown police did this to my son after he was in handcuffs begging for his life. He said he thought he was going to die and he kept saying yes sir to the officers. The officer touched his gun and told my son I will smoke you!!!! The prayers of the righteous availeth much! Thank you Jesus. Now direct me to a lawyer please!!!!”

But in another post, Elliott, wrote, in part: “My mama over did it…not once did I beg for my life or tell her I thought I was (going to) die…”

MORE: Teen accused in buried baby case off house arrest

When contacted by this news outlet, Elliott said: “Nothing happened.” Then he hung up the phone.

His girlfriend, who was with Elliott, also refused to comment on the phone.

Later, Elliott contacted this news outlet, at the urging of his mother, he said.

He said the officer was “very forceful” during the arrest.

Tatum said she wished she never posted anything on social media about the incident. Still, she’s seeking a lawyer because she wants to see if there’s a video available of the arrest.

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During the alleged incident, Tatum said her son asked his girlfriend to “record” what the police were doing. Instead, the girlfriend called Tatum, crying and saying police were “abusing” her son.

“He’s not some angel,” she said. “He’s a 19-year-old black boy who has issues. Thank God he’s alive.”

Tatum said she has talked to her son and told him to obey commands from police. He should have left the apartment complex as he was instructed by officers, his mother said.

Muterspaw said Tatum, or anyone who has an issue with alleged officer misconduct, should meet with him, and if they don’t trust police, they are welcome to bring a lawyer or pastor to the meeting. He said his department is “open and transparent.” Muterspaw also contacted the NAACP, Citizens Advisory Board, and the Black Ministerial Alliance to make them aware of the investigation.

He said Tatum left out “10 times the facts” in her social media post that was shared more than 1,000 times.

MORE: Martin Luther King would be ‘encouraged’ by Middletown police efforts, Middletown NAACP leader says

Muterspaw said that around 2 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Holly Owens was dispatched to a disturbance at Trinity Place Apartments. A woman who lived there told police that she didn’t want to file charges but she wanted Elliott, 19, of Cincinnati, to leave the complex.

Officers stood by while Elliott left the complex, according to Muterspaw.

Later that same day, police were called after the woman said Elliott had returned and started a fight with her before she escaped the apartment and went to the clubhouse and called the police.

She told the officers Elliott was pushing her around, Muterspaw said, but didn’t want to file charges.

The apartment management also told police they wanted Elliott trespassed off the property.

MORE: Who can you trust to give you ‘real news’? That’s the topic at an upcoming forum in Butler County

Police then responded to the apartment for a third disturbance. This time, Officer Jordan Wagers was talking to the complainant and she went back inside the apartment to get a few things. That’s when the officer heard her scream, according to a police report.

Wagers said the woman ran outside, crying and screaming that Elliott was chasing her. Wagers stopped Elliott and told him to leave the property but he refused, according to the police report.

At that time, Wagers told Elliott he was under arrest and to put his hands behind his back, but Elliott refused, according to police. He was told several times to comply but he refused, police said.

Wagers then took Elliott to the ground and got him handcuffed, police said.

During the take down, Elliot received scrapes on his face, but declined treatment by medics and the hospital, Muterspaw said.

MORE: 13-mile police pursuit ends in Butler County

Elliott was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

On Friday, Elliott was found guilty of resisting arrest and ordered to stay away from the woman’s apartment, according to court documents.

Muterspaw said Elliott has a history of the following arrests: physical harm to a law enforcement officer (2017), criminal trespass (2017) and two counts of obstructing official business (2017).

Sgt. Earl Nelson and Sgt. Raqib Ahmed both reviewed and signed off on the incident investigation. Maj. David Birk also has approved the use of force by officers during the incident, the chief said.

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Death of Huber Heights man found in Springfield park ruled a homicide

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 11:59 AM

A Huber Heights man's body was found in a Springfield park Tuesday morning. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Update@2:23 p.m.:

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss Holt’s killing, Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf officially ruled Holt’s death a homicide.

READ: Springfield police investigate body found in Mabra Park

Graf also reached out to the public for help in the investigation. Holt was last seen alive about 11 p.m. Monday, so anyone who may have seen him after that time or came in contact with him should contact Springfield police investigators with any information they have, Graf said. 

Graf also said investigators still have not made a direct connection with Holt’s killing and the home invasion in Huber Heights where two boys, including one of Holt’s sons, was tied up. Until such connection is made, the cases will investigated separately, he said. 

There are no suspects or persons of interests in either case, officials in Springfield and Huber Heights said.

 RELATED: Teen bound in Huber Heights, father's body found in Springfield park

First report:

Springfield police are continuing their investigation after a body was found at a Springfield park Tuesday morning.

Huber Heights police are also continuing an investigation into an incident hours before at the man’s home in that city.

Cedric Holt Jr. was found dead at Virgil Mabra Park in Springfield.

He is the father of one of two teenage boys who were tied up in a home invasion in Huber Heights on Tuesday morning. Other than the relationship between Holt and one of the boys, there’s no connection between the home invasion and Holt’s death, said Sgt. Charles Taylor of the of the Huber Heights Police Department. 

“We’re still ... just over 24 hours involved in this. So we’re still looking into everything,” he said. All stones will be looked under. And we’re going to continue to canvas the neighborhood, ask questions to anybody and anyone that’s willing to talk.”

Woman killed in hit-and-run motorcycle crash, man arrested

Both police departments are releasing limited information. Springfield police plan on hold a press conference today at 2 p.m.

Here is what we know now:

Initial phone call

Springfield police were called to the 1400 block of Oakleaf Avenue on Tuesday morning, according to a Springfield police report.

There they met a man mowing the park’s grass who said he found a body, the report says.

“The victim was found face up with his head to the north and feet to the south,” the police report says. A park employee who called 9-1-1 said the body was in a car.

Springfield Fire Division personnel told police the man, later identified as Cedric Holt Jr., was dead.

Suspicious death

The death is considered suspicious, the Clark County Coroner’s Office said. The cause and manner of death were not yet determined.

A Springfield police report describes the death as unspecified.

EXTRA: What we know: Virgil Mabra Park in Springfield

No arrests

A news release from the city of Springfield on Tuesday evening says no arrests have been made in the incident, and anyone with information is asked to call 937-324-7685.

Taylor said Wednesday that detectives are still working the case.

“As far as our home invasion we are still looking into everything,” he said.

Anyone with information about the home break-in can call the Huber Heights Police Division at 937-233-1565.

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Reward offered in Warren County gun store break-in

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 3:14 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 3:53 AM

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(Getty Images)

UPDATE @ 4:20 p.m.

A $2,500 reward is offered after 15 firearms were stolen during an early morning break-in at Firepower Arms & Supply.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry, announced the reward  up to $2,500 Wednesday afternoon for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burglary at the gun shop, 723 Reading Road.

>> Ohio step closer to having ‘Stand your ground’ gun law

The ATF is working with the Mason Police Department to investigate the incident.

Anyone with information about this burglary is urged to contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867). Individuals also may email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips. Tips also may be submitted to ATF using the ReportIt® app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com. Tipsters may remain anonymous. 

FIRST REPORT

Several guns were stolen when a firearms store was broken into early Wednesday morning.

The break-in happened just after 2 a.m. at Firepower Arms & Supply in the 700 block of Reading Road. Mason police responded after an alarm activated and found a front window broken out. 

Three males were able to remove an unknown number of firearms, police said. Detectives are on scene working to determine the type and number of firearms stolen. 

>> Warren County man arraigned for alleged sex acts with children

Police are looking for one male suspect wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, another wearing blue and white basketball shorts with a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, and a third suspect wearing tight black jeans with a grey hooded sweatshirt with black on the sleeves. One of the suspects had neon green gloves.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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Carlisle man arraigned for alleged sex acts with children

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 3:58 PM


            Ronald Rowland
Ronald Rowland

Young alleged victims and their family members filled a Warren County courtroom Wednesday for the arraignment of a 68-year-old man accused of having sexual contact with three young girls.

The courtroom was filled on one side with alleged victims and their family members as Ronald Rowland, who was initially charged in March after an investigation by Carlisle police, walked in alone.

Rowland, of Judy Drive in Carlisle, was indicted by a grand jury May 14 on 12 counts of rape and six counts of gross sexual imposition involving crimes that began when the children were 5, 9 and 12 years old, according to prosecutors.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2017 in both Carlisle and Franklin.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the crimes occurred at Rowland’s home, an alleged victim’s home, in a shed behind the Rowland’s home and in a swimming pool.

One alleged victim accused Rowland and others were found after interviews at the county’s child advocacy center, Fornshell said.

Carlisle police officers received a call from Dayton Children’s Hospital on March 19 about a “possible sexual assault,” according to a police report.

During his arraignment Wednesday, Rowland told Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II that he did not have money to hire the attorney who originally represented him.

Oda appointed attorney Tamara Sack as Rowland’s attorney and said a new court date would be set for next week.

Oda continued Rowland’s bond of $50,000, which was set in Franklin Municipal Court. He is free on bond.

In order to re-address bond, Oda said he needed more information after Rowland had met with his new attorney.

“Because if there was some agreement on your bail and what that bail should be set that was made at the lower court, I need to know a little bit more about it,” Oda said.

If convicted, Rowland “would spend the rest of his life in prison,” Fornshell said.

The victims’ families declined comment after the hearing.

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‘No, not this again’: Grandmother’s death in drive-by shooting reminds of 2006 incident just 3 doors away

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Michael Lark said his aunt, Louise Brooks, was an innocent bystander who was shot in her house at 856 N. Euclid Ave. in Dayton during a drive-by shooting in November 2006. Brooks died three months later. Lark said the death of Sherrell Wheatley, who was shot outside a house three doors down, brought back memories of his aunt. MONTGOMERY COUNTY AUDITOR’S WEBSITE PHOTO
Michael Lark said his aunt, Louise Brooks, was an innocent bystander who was shot in her house at 856 N. Euclid Ave. in Dayton during a drive-by shooting in November 2006. Brooks died three months later. Lark said the death of Sherrell Wheatley, who was shot outside a house three doors down, brought back memories of his aunt. MONTGOMERY COUNTY AUDITOR’S WEBSITE PHOTO

The May 19 fatal drive-by shooting of a 62-year-old grandmother — which has Dayton police asking for help before the trail goes cold — is similar to a 2006 incident that also happened on North Euclid Avenue.

The story is all too familiar to one area man’s memories of his aunt’s death.

Sherrell V. Wheatley died last Saturday at an area hospital after she was shot in the head while walking home after feeding a neighbor’s dogs. Police called Wheatley an innocent victim of an apparent drive-by shooting at 866 N. Euclid Ave.

Three doors down and 11.5 years ago, an 89-year-old woman was shot in both legs while watching television at 856 N. Euclid Ave.

EARLIER: Innocent bystander grandmother killed: ‘Hit by a bullet that has no eyes’

Louise T. Brooks was hit at about 10 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2006 by stray bullets in what police said at the time was a drive-by shooting that struck several homes and vehicles.

When Brooks’ nephew, Michael Lark, heard about Wheatley’s death last weekend, his mind raced back to 2006 and his “Aunt Lou.”

“My blood pressure went up, and I started steaming, and I’m like, ‘No, not this again,’” said Lark, 58, of Dayton. “What happened? And then they say she was an innocent bystander, just like my aunt, and it was hard to take again. It was like reliving my aunt’s (shooting) all over again.”

RELATED: Neighbor aids woman wounded in stabbing

Dayton officers said at the time that they found Brooks after no one answered her door. They said they forced their way in and found her with two gunshot wounds.

Brooks was taken to a hospital in critical condition and was later upgraded to stable condition. She died on Feb. 27, 2007 — on Lark’s mother’s birthday — at age 90, according to an online obituary.

Lark said his aunt virtually died from the shooting because she couldn’t fully recover. He said police detectives weren’t able to solve the crime.

RELATED: Woman shot twice in apparent drive-by shooting

“I’m a God-fearing person, and they say turn the other cheek,” Lark said. “But it’s kind of hard to turn the (other) cheek when nobody says anything and they kill somebody — elderly and babies. Uh-uh, something needs to be done with them.

“If I had my way … because I’ll never forgive them. They better hope God forgives them. Family, to this day, we have no answers.”

Efforts to get information on the 2006 case from Dayton police and the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office have not yet been successful. In Dayton police’s computer system, the case is listed as closed.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

Police are looking for a silver sedan in the Wheatley case, and the public has been asked to call (937) 222-STOP (7867) or Melissa Schloss, the case detective, at (937) 333-1078.

Police said they have no suspects and few solid leads in Wheatley’s death, which they termed a “heinous” and “sad” crime.

“What we are asking is anyone in the neighborhood that saw any of this or has any information on this, please contact the Dayton Police Department,” said Lt. Gregg Gaby.

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Lark said he knows what Wheatley’s family is going through.

“That just kept bringing it all up,” Lark said of Dayton’s most recent drive-by shooting.

“It’s heart-breaking. It keeps the family upset. … We believe that, before it’s all over with, somebody’s going to talk.”

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