Friday, November 03, 2000

Police weapon fired by mistake

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The city's assistant police chief accidentally fired his gun in the police station late last month, according to a report released Thursday.

        The bullet lodged in a file cabinet, and no one was injured.

        The discharge occurred when Assistant Chief Robert Hawley drew his Glock semiautomatic pistol out of its holster while he sat at his desk, says the report by Sgt. Frank Jacobs. The report was released in response to an Enquirer public-records request.

        The assistant chief was getting ready to go to the target-shooting range, documents show.

        Subsequent tests indicated the gun was working properly, Sgt. Jacobs concluded, but the gun's tight fit in a nearly new holster might have caused Assistant Chief Hawley's hand to slip.

        Police Chief Ken Burns and City Manager James Patrick could not be reached Thursday to discuss whether disciplinary action would be taken.

        City Councilmen Mark Flick and James Reinhard said they continue to have full confidence in the police department. Mr. Reinhard even made light of the accidental shooting.

        “I'm glad the file cabinet did not escape,” he said. “We can laugh at it because nobody was hurt.”

        The accidental shooting comes as Lebanon police face scrutiny on another issue. The Warren County Sheriff's Department is investigating a complaint by resident Chad Everitt that two Lebanon officers used excessive force against him Oct. 22.

        The city released new reports Thursday in which the officers say they resorted to force only after Mr. Everitt was uncooperative and resisted arrest during a party at his house on Camargo Court.

        Police had been called to Mr. Everitt's house for noise and parking complaints more than a half-dozen times since he bought the house in August 1999, according to police documents. The Oct. 22 call in which Mr. Everitt and roommate Mark Morton were arrested was the second visit by police that night.

        According to reports from Patrolmen Bruce Bowerman, Chris Brock and Robert Buchanan, they went to the house shortly after 2 a.m. in response to calls from three neighbors, including the city manager.

        Mr. Everitt first refused to step outside to talk to officers and then refused to show identification, the three officers said. They tried to arrest him and he struggled as a hostile crowd of party-goers looked on, according to their reports.

        Patrolman Brock said he first used an arm bar restraint and then a baton to subdue Mr. Everitt.

        Mr. Everitt declined to comment on the reports Thursday, and his attorney could not be reached.



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