Officer’s actions ‘not an appropriate use of force’, CPD chief says

Cincinnati police chief: Shooting of suspect 'not appropriate use of force'
Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) - An officer’s actions during an incident that left a man with a gunshot wound were “not an appropriate use of force,” Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said on Wednesday.

The shooting happened Tuesday around 3 p.m. in a parking lot of a Shell Gas Station at 2455 Compton Road in Colerain Township.

Andre Thomas, 27, was shot in the back during a struggle with Officer John Brown, the chief explained.

Leading up to the shooting, Isaac said Thomas was seen by District 5 officers making several hand-to-hand drug transactions.

Officers, who were in civilian clothes, followed Thomas into Colerain Township and the 27-year-old pulled into the Shell gas station, according to the chief.

Colerain Township police officers and CPD officers boxed-in Thomas’ vehicle in the parking lot so he couldn’t drive away, Isaac explained.

As the officers approached the vehicle, the chief said Thomas exited the vehicle and tried to run but was grabbed by an officer.

A struggle between Thomas, who was unarmed the chief said, and the officers ensued.

Isaac said a taser was discharged and almost simultaneously the officer’s gun was fired.

Based on witness and officers’ statements, the chief said they concluded this was an “unintentional discharge.” He added this was “not an appropriate use of force.”

Tyonna Seay says she witnessed the incident as she was walking from the Shell station to the LaRosa’s location next door.

“I seen the gentleman jump our his SUV to try to run,” she told FOX19 NOW. “He did try to run, but I didn’t see no weapons. They were scuffling. He was trying to run. They were scuffling. They were jumping between pumps.

“And the tasers came out first, so I don’t know what happened in between when I heard the gunshot, but they already had him subdued.”

FOX19 NOW reached out to CPD about Seay’s allegation. Police replied they can’t comment but are hoping to speak with Seay.

Thomas was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is in stable condition, according to Isaac.

Thomas is facing resisting arrest and felony drug possession charges, Chief Isaac said.

Records from the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts show past charges against Thomas going back to 2001 including theft, drug possession, trafficking in cocaine and felonious assault.

Because the officers were in plainclothes and not in uniform they were not wearing body cameras, the chief said.

Additionally, he said the gas station’s security cameras did not capture the incident.

All officers are okay, a CPD release stated.

Per CPD protocol, the Cincinnati police officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office will also review the incident, as will the Citizen Complaint Authority, which was present at the scene as Isaac spoke to the media.

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