An Akron officer involved in a Nov. 27 shooting in the city’s Kenmore neighborhood has a history of complaints from more than a dozen residents, some alleging disrespect, according to a personnel file obtained by newsnet5.com.
Ronald Kennedy is a 16-year veteran of the police department. He was placed on paid administrative leave following an incident in which police said Kennedy shot a 22-year-old suspect fleeing from police.
According to an incident report, the suspect, David Duffield, was charged with felonious assault and failure to comply with the order of a police officer.
Akron police said Duffield, who was wanted on a Portage County warrant, led officers on a foot chase.
As they were searching backyards on Ivor Avenue, he climbed into a police cruiser and attempted to flee, authorities said.
When the two responding officers gave chase, police said Duffield put the car in reverse, accelerated and attempted to drive over one of the officers.
That’s when Kennedy opened fire on the suspect, striking him in the upper shoulder. Duffield continued in reverse and then drove over a curb and into a fence, where he finally stopped near 900 Ivor Avenue, when the car hit a fire hydrant.
Former officer and police procedure expert Timothy Dimoff told newsnet5.com that Kennedy was justified in his decision to shoot because the vehicle was accelerating towards him.
“That’s considered deadly force,” Dimoff said. “It would be just like someone running towards you with a knife.”
But Dimoff said Kennedy’s history of complaints raises some questions.
After examining the officer’s personnel record, Dimoff said the number of complaints against Kennedy are “not typical.”
According to the documents, 18 complainants lodged 31 separate complaints against Kennedy or against a group of officers Kennedy was in between 2000 and 2013.
Some of the complaints alleged “harassment,” “disrespect,” “vulgar language” or “profane language.”
All but three complaints were exonerated or unfounded. A 2010 Summit County Court case determined that a complainant’s allegations were unsubstantiated.
Dimoff said the allegations are very minor, but the volume is notable.
“These are not major instances but there’s enough of them that there probably needs to be some type of corrective training,” he suggested.
According to the file, Kennedy was disciplined twice for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” for his use of the police radio.
In his “shots fired” history, Kennedy shot at three dogs listed as either “vicious” or “aggressive.” According to the file, the action did not violate any rule or regulation of the Akron Police Department.
Akron Police told newsnet5.com Tuesday that Kennedy was placed on paid administrative leave but has since returned to work. The shooting is still under investigation.
The city’s legal department did not respond to newsnet5.com’s request for comment.
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