Attorney for man accusing officer calls chief’s version skewed

The attorney for a man who accuses a Riverside police officer of assault said the police chief’s version of the incident involves “skewed facts.” FILE PHOTO
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The attorney for a man who accuses a Riverside police officer of assault said the police chief’s version of the incident involves “skewed facts.” FILE PHOTO

The attorney for a man who claims he was assaulted by a Riverside officer is questioning the police chief’s version of an incident that led to the officer’s suspension.

The issue surrounds the Nov. 25, 2016 traffic accident involving Jisaka Shawhan, as well as the actions of Officer Ron Reardon. The officer was on paid leave during a four-month state investigation of his actions that night and later served a three-day suspension for “policy violations during the incident,” according to a statement issued Friday by Riverside Police Chief Frank Robinson.

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“The media has reported that Mr. Shawhan sustained injury as a direct result of Officer Reardon’s actions during the incident,” according to the statement. “This is inaccurate.”

But Robinson’s statement seeking “the distribution of accurate information” includes what Shawhan attorney Bill Daly calls “more inaccurate information and skewed facts.”

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Reardon responded as backup after Shawhan was involved in an accident. The initial responding officer “pulled” an unresponsive Shawhan out of his car, unaware — Daly said — that his client couldn’t communicate because he suffered an epileptic seizure that led to the wreck.

After seeing Shawhan carrying a holster, the officer subdued him and put him on the ground face first, Daly said. Reardon then arrived and “grabs (Shawhan) by the hair — while he’s on the ground — twists his head and pushes it into the concrete,” he added.

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Shawhan is charged with failure to maintain assured clear distance regarding the wreck and failure to tell officers of his conceal carry weapons permit, Daly said. But because of his seizure, Shawhan was unable to communicate, he added.

Robinson did not mention the CCW issue in his statement and Daly said he doesn’t claim his client suffered any injuries as a result what he called an “assault” by Reardon.

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“A police officer should not walk up to a subdued individual and assault them,” he said. “You gotta understand. He couldn’t speak. He had an epileptic seizure.”

Reardon’s actions were reviewed internally and then referred to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to Robinson’s statement.

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During the BCI investigation, Reardon was put on paid administrative leave from Nov. 30, 2016 through March 28. After the BCI probe, Reardon was not charged, but on April 25 was given a three-day suspension, the police chief stated.

“The city does not condone the actions of the officer and acknowledges that policy violations occurred during the incident,” according to Robinson’s statement. “However; it is important to understand that this is an isolated incident for both the police department and Officer Reardon.”

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