Former Butler Twp. officer found guilty of assault in woman’s arrest outside McDonald’s

A former Butler Twp. police sergeant was found guilty of assault in connection to an incident in January in which he reportedly hit a woman in the face during an arrest.

Todd Stanley, 53, was convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor assault charge, according to a Vandalia Municipal Court representative. The case has been referred for a pre-sentence investigation, and a sentencing date has not been scheduled.

“While Todd and I are disappointed with the outcome of the trial, we respect Judge (James) Brogan’s decision,” said Stew Matthews, Stanley’s defense attorney.

A statement from Butler Twp. said Stanley has not been with the police department as of April. He was a member of the police department for more than 22 years.

On Jan. 16, Stanley and another officer responded to the McDonald’s at 3411 York Commons Blvd. on a report of a disorderly customer.

Stanley and officer Tim Zellers spoke to Laticka Hancock, who said there had been an argument between her and the restaurant’s employees over a charge for extra cheese on a Big Mac.

Police body camera footage showed the officers explain they were asked to trespass Hancock from the McDonald’s and ask for her identification, then Hancock’s refusal to provide it.

As the incident grew more heated, Zellers decided to arrest Hancock.

In the body camera footage, Hancock can be heard saying “no” and “I don’t want to” initially after police tell her she’s under arrest and to put her hands behind her back. The footage also shows police and Hancock struggling for a few seconds before she says, “OK, I’m saying OK.”

Zeller then tells Hancock to put her hands behind her back or they will use a Taser. Stanley is then seen on body camera footage hitting Hancock on the right side of her face.

In an arrest report, Stanley described the action as an “open palm strike.”

Hancock was bleeding from the mouth, and a medic who cleaned the wound said it was superficial, according to the report.

Police discovered that Hancock did not have a valid driver’s license and reportedly found an open alcohol container in the front seat of the vehicle Hancock was driving.

She was charged with driving under suspension, open container in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and failure to disclose personal information in Vandalia Municipal Court.

Butler Twp. police Chief John Porter held a press conference following the incident and said Stanley was put on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Porter previously said officers are taught de-escalation tactics and noted officers did attempt to calm Hancock down.

“Sometimes in certain instances, you cannot de-escalate, and I’m not talking about this incident, but in some cases, you can’t de-escalate and an arrest has to be made,” he said earlier this year.

Hancock also held a press conference with attorney Michael Wright, of Wright & Schulte LLC, and Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward following the incident.

“I came with everything; I brought back the sandwich, the fries and the receipt … I want(ed) either the sandwich or my money back,” she said.

Wright condemned the McDonald’s for calling the police, saying the incident should never have occurred.

“McDonald’s should be ashamed for resorting to calling the police over a disagreement over an order they got wrong,” Wright said earlier this year. “If they can’t manage basic customer service, opting to potentially put a person’s life in jeopardy over a mishandled Big Mac, it doesn’t seem safe for Black people to eat at McDonald’s anymore.”

Staff writer Daniel Susco contributed to this report.

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