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Man sentenced for brutally attacking Cincinnati police officer

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 9:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A man accused of brutally attacking a Cincinnati police officer in 2019 was sentenced on Monday to six years in prison, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Durrell Nichols, 27, assaulted CPD Officer Doug Utecht as police tried to take Nichols into custody at the Westwood YMCA in June of that year.

Following a bench trial, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway last month convicted Nichols of felony assault and obstruction.

FOP President Dan Hils said in a Facebook post on Monday Nichols will be eligible for parole in 12 months. An HCPO spokesperson counters they do not believe that to be true.

Utecht and several other officers responded to the Y on June 6, 2019 on staff reports of a man refusing to leave the gym.

Police found Nichols acting in a disorderly fashion and repeatedly tried to get him to leave before arresting him. Utecht attempted to de-escalate the situation and calm down Nichols, but the 300-lb. man responded violently to the officer and his partner.

The assault on the officer continued even after he was unconscious, causing serious injuries including lacerations to his face and broken facial bones, police said at the time.

Nichols was initially determined to be incompetent to stand trial, but that competency status was reversed in January 2020 following mental health treatment.

Durrell Nichols
Durrell Nichols(Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

The resolution of the criminal case opens the door for a civil case filed by Utecht to proceed.

Utecht in February 2020 sued Nichols and his mother, Lakisha McMillan, who acts as his primary caretaker ensuring Nichols regularly takes his anti-psychotic medications.

The suit also names “John Does #1-10” who are named as third parties unknown at that point to Officer Utecht despite “reasonable efforts to determine their identity (who) may be liable in whole or part” for his injuries.

As a direct result of the attack, Officer Utecht suffered “extreme pain and suffering and will have permanent scarring and disfigurement from the injuries,” the lawsuit alleges.

The officer also incurred “economic damages including lost wages, past medical expenses and will incur future medical expenses in an amount that cannot yet be determined.”

The lawsuit is on hold at Utecht’s request pending the resolution of the the criminal case, court records show.

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