Officer cleared of felony charges in homeless woman's death

Office Marty Polk
Office Marty Polk

By Brad Underwood – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) – The Cincinnati police officer who ran over and killed a homeless woman will not face felony charges. Today, the Ohio State Highway Patrol's investigation ruled that officer Marty Polk was not reckless when his cruiser ran over a sleeping Joann Burton in Washington Park on July 27th.  Today the greater Cincinnati coalition for the homeless says Polk is getting special treatment.

"This is equivalent to one of us leaving a street and driving on the sidewalk and running somebody over," said Josh Spring. "He left the path created for them, and that put him in line with the rest of us."

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters says there is an audience who believes there are two different sets of laws for different people, but that's just not true.

"A police officer on patrol is different than a citizen," said Deters. "For this to be a felony, Officer Polk actions had to be reckless, and this report is very clear that they were not."

Although Polk has been cleared of felony charges, the city of Cincinnati will now determine if misdemeanor charges will be filed against the officer.

Officer Polk's police cruiser ran over Burton while she was sleeping underneath a blanket on the grass in the park. The park has cement paths that the officers are supposed to drive on, however police protocol states that it is often necessary for police to drive off the path in order to properly survey the park.

Officer Polk has returned to duty since the accident five weeks ago.

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