Yellow Springs police officer probe underway

Published: Thursday, June 30, 2016 @ 9:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 30, 2016 @ 9:09 PM

An internal investigation to determine whether Yellow Springs Village police Officer John Whittemore had probable cause to make an arrest is expected to conclude July 11, Police Chief David Hale said.

The police department conducts a routine investigation any time an officer uses force, Hale said Thursday.

“It’s not really the use of force under investigation,” he said. “It’s whether there’s sufficient probable cause to detain the person.”

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The night of May 30, Whittemore saw Leonid Alexander Clark walking near a hotel on Xenia Avenue. The officer noted in his incident report that Clark appeared “agitated,” under the influence of alcohol and failed to obey commands to stop walking.

Whittemore, in the report, said he put his hand on Clark’s wrist to keep him from walking away. The officer wrote that Clark tried to break free and turned toward him in “an aggressive manner.”

Chief Hale said once the investigation concludes, he will review the information and make a recommendation for discipline if necessary. Village Manager Patti Bates will make a final decision on discipline.

Meantime, Whittemore is working with a field training officer, according to village documents, which also show he began as a full-time officer with the village in March.

FIRST REPORT (June 29)

A village officer is under investigation in connection with two use of force incidents over Memorial Day weekend, according to information obtained by this news organization today.

Yellow Springs Village Officer John Whittemore is working with a field training officer while the incidents are under review, said Patti Bates, the village manager.

“Those incidents are currently under internal review and no action will be taken until those reviews are complete,” Bates said in an email. “Officer Whittemore has not resigned and, as these investigations are ongoing, neither the Chief nor I will have any comment until the review is complete.”

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