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Middletown police chief responds to mother’s allegation of officer misconduct

A mother’s post on Facebook that her son feared for his life during an arrest by Middletown police was “blown out of proportion,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said.

In a Facebook post attributed to LaShandra R. Tatum, Isaiah Elliott’s son, she wrote: “Middletown police did this to my son after he was in handcuffs begging for his life. He said he thought he was going to die and he kept saying yes sir to the officers. The officer touched his gun and told my son I will smoke you!!!! The prayers of the righteous availeth much! Thank you Jesus. Now direct me to a lawyer please!!!!”

But in another post, Elliott, wrote, in part: “My mama over did it…not once did I beg for my life or tell her I thought I was (going to) die…”

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When contacted by this news outlet, Elliott said: “Nothing happened.” Then he hung up the phone.

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His girlfriend, who was with Elliott, also refused to comment on the phone.

Later, Elliott contacted this news outlet, at the urging of his mother, he said.

He said the officer was “very forceful” during the arrest.

Tatum said she wished she never posted anything on social media about the incident. Still, she’s seeking a lawyer because she wants to see if there’s a video available of the arrest.

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During the alleged incident, Tatum said her son asked his girlfriend to “record” what the police were doing. Instead, the girlfriend called Tatum, crying and saying police were “abusing” her son.

“He’s not some angel,” she said. “He’s a 19-year-old black boy who has issues. Thank God he’s alive.”

Tatum said she has talked to her son and told him to obey commands from police. He should have left the apartment complex as he was instructed by officers, his mother said.

Muterspaw said Tatum, or anyone who has an issue with alleged officer misconduct, should meet with him, and if they don’t trust police, they are welcome to bring a lawyer or pastor to the meeting. He said his department is “open and transparent.” Muterspaw also contacted the NAACP, Citizens Advisory Board, and the Black Ministerial Alliance to make them aware of the investigation.

He said Tatum left out “10 times the facts” in her social media post that was shared more than 1,000 times.

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Muterspaw said that around 2 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Holly Owens was dispatched to a disturbance at Trinity Place Apartments. A woman who lived there told police that she didn’t want to file charges but she wanted Elliott, 19, of Cincinnati, to leave the complex.

Officers stood by while Elliott left the complex, according to Muterspaw.

Later that same day, police were called after the woman said Elliott had returned and started a fight with her before she escaped the apartment and went to the clubhouse and called the police.

She told the officers Elliott was pushing her around, Muterspaw said, but didn’t want to file charges.

The apartment management also told police they wanted Elliott trespassed off the property.

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Police then responded to the apartment for a third disturbance. This time, Officer Jordan Wagers was talking to the complainant and she went back inside the apartment to get a few things. That’s when the officer heard her scream, according to a police report.

Wagers said the woman ran outside, crying and screaming that Elliott was chasing her. Wagers stopped Elliott and told him to leave the property but he refused, according to the police report.

At that time, Wagers told Elliott he was under arrest and to put his hands behind his back, but Elliott refused, according to police. He was told several times to comply but he refused, police said.

Wagers then took Elliott to the ground and got him handcuffed, police said.

During the take down, Elliot received scrapes on his face, but declined treatment by medics and the hospital, Muterspaw said.

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Elliott was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

On Friday, Elliott was found guilty of resisting arrest and ordered to stay away from the woman’s apartment, according to court documents.

Muterspaw said Elliott has a history of the following arrests: physical harm to a law enforcement officer (2017), criminal trespass (2017) and two counts of obstructing official business (2017).

Sgt. Earl Nelson and Sgt. Raqib Ahmed both reviewed and signed off on the incident investigation. Maj. David Birk also has approved the use of force by officers during the incident, the chief said.

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