Elyria police officer’s use of force deemed reasonable

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 8:40 PM EDT
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ELYRIA, Ohio (WOIO) - The Lorain County prosecutor said an Elyria police officer’s actions made during a September arrest were reasonable.

Officer Michael Walker was placed on paid administrative leave after a video surfaced online, showing Walker using what some called “excessive force” on a suspect.

The arrest in question took place on Sept. 21 at a home in the 1000 block of Melvyn Lane.

Walker and another officer responded to a domestic call involving a 22-year-old woman and her 18-year-old brother, according to a report from Elyria police.

The woman told police her brother attacked her, pushed her, punched her, and eventually threatened to hit her over the head with a heavy car part.

The woman said she was able to reach for the phone to call police, prompting her brother, Markese White, to take off running.

Officers found White a short distance away, near the corner of Melvyn Lane and Allen Street.

The report said White did not cooperate and was pulled to the ground by the officers.

A video shared on Facebook captured one view of what happened next.

Click here to view the video. Editor’s note: The video is graphic; foul language and racial slurs can be heard.

The video shows Officer Walker sitting on top of the White, as a small crowd gathered around them.

The officer is seen in the video grabbing the 18-year-old by the neck and slamming his head into the ground.

The man and his younger brother were both arrested.

White is facing charges of assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, intimidation, domestic violence, and felonious assault, according to the report.

The arrest prompted Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely to call upon the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate.

Meanwhile, just days after the arrest, several community members protested in front of the police department calling for change.

In a letter to 19 News on Wednesday, Lorain County Prosecutor J.D. Tomlinson said he deemed Officer Walker’s actions justified.

“In coming to the conclusion I’ve reached today, I did not do so hastily,” said Tomlinson, in the letter.

Tomlinson said he reviewed three video recordings of the arrest, along with police reports made by the officers involved in the arrest, and the report prepared by the medical staff that examined White at the jail.

He said he also asked for help from an investigator, along with his chief of staff, and a police chief in Lorain County who has expertise in use of force investigations.

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