Akron police officer resigns during use of force investigation

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – A veteran Akron police officer has resigned during an ongoing investigation involving the use of force during a February call.

Police were summoned to a home on Vernon Odom Boulevard on Feb. 7 where they encountered Charles Hicks II on the front porch.

An incident report released late Wednesday to Fox 8 News reads: “Hicks was extremely intoxicated and yelling at officers to shoot him. Hicks refused to cooperate with officers and declined to step down from the porch. Hicks was eventually taken to the ground and placed under arrest.”

WJW photo

Speaking with Fox 8 News on Wednesday, Hicks would not discuss the incident for which police were called but he remembers being approached by officers who he said put him in handcuffs and became physical with him.

“They approach me, we are gong back and forth, they throw me on the side of my porch. I’m already slammed to the ground. I felt a knee to my neck, a hand on my face being pushed to the ground and someone stuffing snow or something in my nose and my throat and I kept telling them I couldn’t breathe.”

The police report released to Fox 8 makes no reference to any tactics that were used to get Hicks to comply.

In a release, Akron police say during an internal review APD discovered a tactic employed by an officer during the arrest that required further investigation.

It was during that investigation that an internal directive was released to the department saying effective Wednesday, March 31, the officer John Turnure has resigned as a member of the Akron Police Department.

John Turnure. Photo courtesy Akron Police Department

“He should have been charged with either attempted murder or felonious assault something along those lines but yet the city of Akron allowed him to resign,” said Hicks attorney Eddie Sipplin, convinced that the officer chose to resign as an alternative to facing charges.

Speaking confidentially with FOX 8 News on Wednesday, sources within the department insist Turnure’s decision was not based on any possible discipline.

Turnure, who has been with the Akron Police Department for more than ten years, has been involved in several past use of force incidents, including one in October 2017 in which two men were shot outside of a local nightclub.

In that incident Turnure’s body-worn camera was not turned on until after the shooting.

An investigation of that incident by Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh concluded with her determination that the shooting was justified.

Sipplin said the case is still being litigated in federal court.

The city says the incident on February 7 is still being investigated.

Turnure’s resignation letter to the city, which was also released to Fox 8 late Wednesday, does not state a reason for his decision.

But Sipplin is demanding an impartial review.

“We want this officer charged. We want charges. We want an independent investigation and let them determine whether or not this officer has charges, not the city of Akron, not the Summit County Prosecutors Office,” said Sipplin.

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