'Officer Turnure showed restraint... .' Akron Fraternal Order of Police backs actions

Beacon Journal

On Thursday, the following statement was issued on behalf of former Akron Police Officer John Turnure regarding his actions during a Feb. 7 incident that is now the subject of a use of force investigation by the department. The Akron Police Department released 11 body camera videos Thursday of the Feb. 7 arrest of Charles Hicks during a domestic violence call. This statement has not been edited.

"The Fraternal Order of Police, Akron Lodge 7 takes issue with some in the media who have portrayed former Officer John Turnure’s resignation was an admission of wrongdoing and not following the Akron Police Department use of force procedure. Nothing could be further from the truth. When Officer Turnure made the decision to resign it was for various personal and professional reasons. Some of the same reasons police officers including police chiefs across the country are taking early retirement. The same reasons police departments across the country are having difficulty hiring and retaining officers.

"The use of force by Officer Turnure, must be judged using an objective reasonableness standard. Objective versus subjective – examining the officer’s intent. Reasonableness – is incapable of precise definition and is a range of reasonableness. The question is, would a reasonably prudent and well-trained officer have done what Officer Turnure did in those exact same circumstances. The use of force must be judged at the moment, based on whether perceptions were reasonable, and the totality of the circumstances faced by Officer Turnure – the suspect was 6 foot tall and 200 lbs., was muscular, under the influence of alcohol, he had been involved in a domestic violence incident wherein he had threatened his girlfriend with a knife, he made threats that officers would have to kill him, and resisted arrest until such time he was forcibly taken down to the snow covered ground, and later handcuffed. According to case law and APD policy, force is not to be judged in the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Further, Officer Turnure’s need not use the least intrusive option available.

"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.

"Experienced supervisors investigated and came to the conclusion, that Officer Turnure’s use of force was within the policy of the Akron Police Department and within the law. They did not rely on one video from a Body Worn Camera, but rather, examined all the relevant videos and officer statements. This professional investigation conflicts with the “predetermined” political conclusion based strictly on one video. This investigation and its conclusion that Officer Turnure’s actions were within policy and the law, cannot be discounted or ignored based on another supervisor’s opinion.

"The FOP requested the opinion of Retired Akron Police Officer Kevin Davis, a nationally recognized use of force expert, and author of the book, Use of Forces Investigations: A manual for Law Enforcement, who, concurred with the supervisory investigation that the force used was Objectively Reasonable, at the moment force was used, based on the totality of the circumstances, and Officer Turnure’s reasonable perceptions. Further, Officer Turnure’s minor application of force, deescalated the situation and eliminated the need to use more injurious forms of force."

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