Officer who ran over woman will not face felony charges

Joann Burton
Joann Burton

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters says felony charges will not be filed against a Cincinnati Police Officer who ran over a homeless woman in Washington Park, killing her.

Officer Marty Polk ran over Joann Burton in July while she was laying under some blankets.

Polk's attorney, Mike Allen, told FOX19 that the county prosecutor's office will refer the case to the city prosecutor's office for consideration of misdemeanor charges.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, which handled the investigation, found that Polk, a veteran officer, was not reckless in the accident. According to the patrol's report, witnesses said it was impossible to tell someone was under the blankets. Polk was tested for drugs and alcohol, and the tests came back negative.

The Hamilton County Coroner's Office ruled Burton's death from blunt force trauma as accidental.

Deters is meeting with Burton's family to explain the findings.

"This is a tragic case," said Deters. "However, after carefully reviewing the detailed report from Sgt. Hamilton at the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there is no basis for a felony charge."

The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless is upset with the decision.

"Joann Burton is dead because a Cincinnati Police Officer recklessly drove through the grass in a park," said Josh Spring, Executive Director of GCCH. "There was no emergency, the officer simply decided to drive through an area where people are known to lay in the grass. Then he knowingly drove over a blanket."

Spring went on to say that the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless believes that if the act had been committed by any other citizen, it would have been deemed reckless and felony charges would be pressed.

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