‘I can’t breathe’: Former Akron officer seen shoving snow into suspect’s face during arrest (video)

‘I can’t breathe’: Former Akron officer seen shoving snow into suspect’s face during arrest

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Newly-released bodycam video shows a controversial arrest tactic used by an Akron police officer, who has now resigned.

‘I can’t breathe’: Former Akron officer seen shoving snow into suspect’s face during arrest (video)K

Acting Police Chief Mike Caprez showed the footage during a press conference Thursday.

Chief Caprez says back on February 7 officers went to a home on Vernon Odom Boulevard, on the city’s west side. Caprez says the officers were responding to a domestic violence report.

The female caller told the 911 dispatcher that her boyfriend, 26-year-old Charles Hicks, was threatening her and others with a knife, and was not allowing her children to seek safety by leaving the home.

“I don’t feel safe with my kids inside” the caller tells the dispatcher.

Akron police officers arrived and confronted Hicks, who Caprez says appeared to be in an altered state of mind. In a bodycam video, Hicks tells an officer he hadn’t consumed any alcohol, when questioned how much he had to drink.

“Are you gonna arrest me? Arrest me then, bro” you hear Hicks tell police. An officer responds " Calm down, we just want to talk.”

Use of force was eventually applied by the officers after Hicks refused repeated verbal commands. Police pulled Hicks to the snow-covered ground and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam video shows that while Hicks was being pinned down, Officer John Turnure placed one hand on Hicks’ head and used the other hand to shove snow into his face several times.

**WARNING: Some may find this video disturbing**

“This tactic was not supported by the circumstances and is not trained by the Akron Police Department” Caprez said during the press conference.

A letter of resignation shows Turnure voluntarily resigned at the end of March during an investigation into the use of force.

On Thursday, Chief Caprez disputed claims from Hicks’ attorney that Turnure put his leg on Hicks’ neck, similar to how Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground at the time of his death.

In one bodycam video you can hear Hicks say “I can’t breathe.”

“I don’t believe based on what I know that any part of his body came in contact with Mr. Hicks’ neck.

“Had his knee been on the neck, it would have been directly on his trachea. We would have seen a significant reaction at that time from Mr. Hicks” Caprez says.

Hicks reported having a few cuts and scrapes at the time of the incident.

Court documents filed with Akron Municipal Court show Hicks recently withdrew his guilty plea on charges of domestic violence and resisting arrest stemming from the incident.

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