PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (WOIO) - The mayor of Put-In-Bay says the city’s acting police chief acted appropriately outside of the Roundhouse Bar when he responded to the scene of a fight in September of last year.
The mayor wrote a letter to the chief saying he would not be disciplined as a result of a complaint filed against him last fall after the incident.
The man who made the complaint has since written back to the mayor and called every council member because he is disappointed with the outcome of the city’s review.
Patrick McCann says he was one of a few victims hit by an unruly intoxicated man arrested outside the bar.
While officers struggle with the suspect, Acting Chief of Police James Kimble comes into frame, shouting “back up!”
Kimble is wearing plain clothes as he begins to shove McCann, ultimately knocking him to the ground.
“Some huge dude was coming after me and started pushing me backwards,” said McCann. “It’s not a fun thing to have happen to you, and then you find out it was a police officer later — just makes it really disappointing.”
There’s no mention of McCann or the acting chief’s use of force in the police report from that night.
“I had to go in the next day to report I was a victim in the original crime,” McCann said.
19 Investigates obtained the letter from Mayor Jessica Dress in response to McCann’s complaint about what happened.
The fact McCann was left out of the report is the only thing she has an issue with from that night.
She says she “did not find that discipline is warranted” for Kimble because he identified himself before pushing McCann.
In the body camera footage, you can hear Kimble say, “I am the Chief of Police. I don’t want to have to tell you one more damn time, back up!”
Though he appears to comply begins to walk backward, McCann says he did not hear the chief identify himself.
“I didn’t hear that. There was no visual cue for me to know that he was a police officer,” McCann said.
Mayor Dress goes on to write, however, that Kimble’s actions were a “measured approach to address McCann’s failure to comply with orders.”
“It’s completely not true. I may have hesitated at first because I didn’t know who he was. You saw me try to explain myself, but then I put my hands on my head and backed up,” McCann said.
For that reason, McCann sent a letter back to the city, putting it on the record that he disagrees with the mayor’s review.
“I’ve made it clear that I didn’t want to sue anybody,” he said. “I didn’t think it was anything that he could get arrested for or lose his job for. But I think there could have been a review with some disciplinary action. Like I said with the plain clothes.”
Kimble is currently the acting chief because the former police chief was put on leave then resigned after a different use of force incident last summer.
At least one councilmember has spoken in favor of giving Kimble the chief job.
The city is currently in the process of deciding whether Kimble should fill the chief position permanently.
The mayor has yet to make a public recommendation of who she wants to have the job.
McCann says he does not want Kimble to be chief because of the incident but says it really wouldn’t have taken much to change his opinion.
“If he would have apologized to me and helped me up and explained himself, I’m sure I would have a different opinion,” McCann said. “But, that didn’t happen. It’s been doubled down on — ‘no it’s perfectly ok that I threw you to the ground.’”
Mayor Dress did not respond to the multiple emails and calls from 19 Investigates.
We’ll keep you updated on what happens at the next council meeting.