AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Akron police released body cam footage, responding to a man’s claim that an officer put his knee on his neck while arresting him. The officer, John Turnure, resigned during an internal investigation, but the acting police chief said the video proves that didn’t happen.
Acting Chief Mike Caprez described the video of the arrest as “textbook,” saying officers did everything right until Officer John Turnure appears to shove snow into the suspect’s mouth.
On Wednesday, the suspect and his attorney told FOX 8 police used excessive force, but Akron police said they released the video to avoid the community jumping to conclusions based on bad information.
On Thursday afternoon, police played unedited body cam video from February when they arrested 26-year old Charles Hicks. Officers were responding to a 911 call from Hicks’ girlfriend, which was also played in full. She claimed Hicks was hitting people and threatening them with knives and guns. She was afraid for her children left inside the home after she said he ordered everyone outside.
The bodycam video shows Hicks on the porch. Caprez said Hicks appeared to be an, “Altered state of mind.” The video shows officers struggling to arrest Hicks, who they describe as very muscular.
Hicks claims an officer put his knee on his neck, but the acting chief said from what he saw in the video, officers pinned him down as they were trained. Police officials said Officer Turnure was out of line when he could be seen putting snow in Hicks’ face.
“The officers proceeded to roll him on his stomach, at some point as you will see, snow is gathered and placed onto Mr. Hicks’ face three different times… This tactic was not supported by the circumstances and is not trained by the Akron Police Department… We moved to hold the officer accountable for this act,” Caprez told reporters.
Turnure resigned before the internal investigation was complete. Police did not give more details about his resignation.
The Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7 released a lengthy statement, which said Officer Turnure’s resignation was not an admission of wrongdoing, but that he left the job for personal and professional reasons. It added the officer used a distracting technique of cold snow to shock the resisting suspect out of his criminal resistance.
“Officer Turnure showed restraint when by policy, the officers present could have used: pressure points to cause pain, joint locks to force compliance through the pain response, punched or given knee strikes, administered Taser, drive stuns, or fired the Taser probes, or even used baton strikes.
The officer used a distracting technique of cold snow to shock the resisting suspect out of his criminal resistance. The APD use of force procedure states in certain circumstances, an officer may use any item or object as a weapon of opportunity or convenience. Weapons include but are not limited to items such as a portable radio, flashlight, rock, or stick. The technique was successful, and the suspect was handcuffed and sent to jail without injury.”Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7