Group seeks indictment in Dontae Martin’s death

The deputy-involved fatal shooting of Dontae Martin is one step closer to being heard by a grand jury, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.

The sheriff’s office recently received the county coroner’s report, which was needed in order for the case to be presented to a grand jury, Plummer said.

“Once the grand jury reports back, then the internal investigation starts. It’s all standard protocol,” Plummer said.

News of the report came on Tuesday, the same day a group nearly 40 of Dontae Martin’s family members, friends and community leaders gathered at the county administration building on West Third Street to rally for justice. The group also attended the county commission meeting.

“We are here to let the county commission know that we don’t want them to continue to ignore the fact that the sheriff’s (deputies) allegedly killed Dontae Martin, and we’re still angry about it,” said Bishop Richard Cox of the Dayton area Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

He said the group was asking for county commissioners to look into what the group feels is systemic racism in the sheriff’s office.

The shooting occurred after deputies Gust Teague and Joshua Haas responded to a single-car crash on Springbrook Boulevard in Harrison Township on July 23.

A woman called 911 to report that a vehicle drove off the side of Springbrook Boulevard and into another car that was parked in a driveway.

The two deputies approached the Martin’s vehicle with a flashlight and said Martin, 34, pointed a gun at them, according to Plummer. He added that Teague and Haas ordered Martin several times to drop the weapon.

“Dontae Martin died from multiple gunshot wounds originating from opposite sides of his vehicle,” said Ken Betz, director of the county coroner’s office.

Michael Wright, the attorney representing the Martin family, said in August that Martin was shot in the head and from behind. He added that none of the witnesses said they saw Martin with a gun, but deputies found one at the scene.

Martin, a fiancé and father of six children, was pronounced dead at 1:34 a.m. at Grandview Medical Center.

No audio or video exists of the incident because “it’s not protocol” to use lights and sirens in response to a one-vehicle crash, according to Plummer. The use of lights and sirens activates audio and visual recording.

Teague and Haas have been on paid leave since the incident happened. They will remain on leave until they have been medically cleared for duty, Plummer said Tuesday.

Donald Domineck, an area leader for Dayton’s New Black Panther Party, said he doesn’t believe the sheriff’s office is telling the truth about what occurred when Martin was shot.

“We’re not at odds with Sheriff Plummer. We think Sheriff Plummer is a good guy. He’s a personal friend of mine. But we do believe that there are people in his department that need to be scrutinized even more,” Domineck said.

About the Author