AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A Summit Metro Parks ranger has been fired after he reportedly handcuffed an elderly couple and filed multiple charges against them for honking at him on Sept. 27.
The Executive Director of Summit Metro Parks Lisa King said Jeffrey Axner violated park ranger procedures.
Full Statement from King:
Summit Metro Parks has terminated the employment of Jeffrey Axner, a park ranger
responsible for a serious off-park-property incident that occurred September 27 and
involved a senior couple near Goodyear Heights Metro Park in Akron. The termination
became effective October 25.
The incident began at the Newton Street entrance of the park when the couple honked
at the ranger, who was making a turn into the park. The ranger changed course and
pursued the couple's vehicle to a residence on Darrow Road, and handcuffed both
individuals after an altercation.
The park district immediately placed the ranger on paid administrative leave and
launched an investigation.
The district determined that Mr. Axner violated park ranger procedures, exceeded his
authority resulting in a series of poor decisions, and used excessive force. These are
unacceptable violations of our employee conduct standards, and in keeping with district
polices and our contract with the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (OPBA),
Mr. Axner's employment with Summit Metro Parks was terminated.
"He had me handcuffed for an hour and a half. It's ridiculous. For nothing," Carl Wilson said.
The ranger pursued Carl and Margaret Wilson, both in their 70s, from Goodyear Heights Metro Park and confronted them in a driveway along Darrow Road in Summit County, according King.
"He kept telling me to get on the ground. I didn't do anything wrong, why should I get on the ground? I also had asbestos in both lungs and it was hard to breathe and I can't lay on my chest, so I rolled over onto my side after he handcuffed me," said Carl.
The 72-year-old said the ranger also kicked Margaret during the incident.
"This guy is completely crazy. After he kicked my wife, he proved to me he wasn't a man, just a smart alleck punk," Carl said.
Margaret went to the hospital for injuries to her right elbow, lower back and head.
"She's been using ice packs and taking Tylenol. A lot of back pain and soreness through the lower part of her body," Carl said.
Carl was also hurt. His wrist was bruised from the handcuffs and his knee is sore from being on the ground.
He also said he was wearing a chest vest to protect his heart following surgery.