Man who accuses Dayton police of misconduct asks city leaders to act

Debra Southard speaks for Jack Runser at Wednesday's Dayton City Commission meeting. Runser has sued the city claiming he was mistreated by police. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Debra Southard speaks for Jack Runser at Wednesday's Dayton City Commission meeting. Runser has sued the city claiming he was mistreated by police. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A man who has alleged he was mistreated by Dayton police accused city leaders Wednesday of not punishing the officers involved in his case or taking other corrective actions.

Jack Runser, 50, of Dayton, recently sued the city, alleging he was mistreated, injured and his rights were violated by police officers during an incident in November. Rusner is deaf, mute and has cerebral palsy.

Police officials have said the officers’ actions were reasonable and justified, and an internal police investigation exonerated the officers of misconduct.

A citizens’ board later did not concur with the findings of the police investigation. The board recommended discipline for the officers, as well as additional training and other actions, including a probe into claims of policy violations during the investigation.

During the public comment portion of Wednesday’s city commission meeting, Debra Southard, Rusner’s advocate, said it is “shameful” the mayor and city leaders will not hold police accountable for police abuse and many violations of policy.

Jack Runser at Miami Valley Hospital in handcuffs. CONTRIBUTED
Jack Runser at Miami Valley Hospital in handcuffs. CONTRIBUTED

“To my knowledge, you have not done one thing,” she said. “If you have, can you have the courtesy to share it.”

After the meeting, Mayor Nan Whaley said she is unable to comment because of Runser’s lawsuit against the city. The city’s general policy is not to comment on ongoing or pending litigation.

Whaley last month sent a letter in response to the Dayton Citizens’ Appeal Board’s decision, saying the city commission agrees with many of their recommendations in this case but the board has no authority to recommend discipline for officers.

Board members this week sent a letter to the mayor that says her response was misguided and fails to address systemic issues that hamper investigations into police misconduct.

Police officials during Runser’s hearing were accused of creating false police reports to ensure officers were exonerated of wrongdoing, and the city should seek answers to find out if this is true, the board wrote.

Last month, the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 44, the police union, accused the appeal board of making “meritless allegations” against officers.

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