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2 Put-In-Bay officers resign, chief on leave after golf cart arrests

Put-In-Bay golf cart arrest
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-14 17:28:36-04

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio — The police chief on a Lake Erie resort island has been placed on leave and two officers have resigned following the arrests of a group of black tourists riding on a golf cart, the mayor said.

Police body cameras showed Put-in-Bay officers used stun guns on at least two people during the stop last weekend that began when two white officers said the golf cart’s operator was driving recklessly.

In all, nine people were arrested on charges including assault, aggravated rioting and resisting arrest.

A county prosecutor dismissed the charges against six and told the Sandusky Register that charges against the others also would likely be dropped.

Eight of the nine arrested were black, the newspaper said. Some of their family members said the arrests were racially motivated.

Village Mayor Jessica Dress said Thursday there will be a thorough review of what happened, and that Police Chief Steve Riddle was being placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Two officers also resigned, Dress said, without explaining why. Several other officers were involved in the arrests.

“As a community, we hold our police department accountable for any and all of its decisions,” the mayor said in a statement.

The trouble started during the stop when one of the officers accused a woman of hiding drugs and arrested her. A man then approached the officers and was arrested, sparking a brief scuffle, the body cameras showed,

The others in the group were yelling at the officers and filming them while the officers were screaming at them to get on the ground.

At one point, an officer shouted “Do you want to get shot?” A woman could be heard saying “nobody is armed.”

Later, one of the officers said he feared for his life. “They tried to fight us as soon as we tried to arrest her,” the officer said.

But those who were handcuffed said they were not threatening the officers and repeatedly asked why they were being arrested, the video showed.

Warning, the video below may contain strong language.