A Yellow Springs police officer who resigned after drawing a firearm on a driver who left a crash scene had multiple complaints against him from citizens.
That’s according to a letter from Police Chief Brian Carlson to Village Manager Patti Bates this news organization obtained using Ohio’s public records laws.
The Oct. 1 letter was written and delivered on the Monday after the incident in which Officer Richard Neel followed an older resident who failed to stop after crashing into another vehicle.
In addition, a second letter dated Oct. 1 from Village Manager Patti Bates to Officer Neel states his “probationary employment … is hereby terminated.”
Neel offered his resignation that same day. According to a recording Neel shared with the Dayton Daily News of his meeting with Carlson, his choices were either resign or be terminated.
“After giving much attention and effort through counseling and example … I have concluded that Officer Richard Neel is not fit for the village of Yellow Springs Police Department,” Carlson’s letter to Bates reads.
Carlson listed several reasons why he had decided to fire Neel — multiple complaints about Neel’s demeanor; multiple complaints about Neel in his vehicle; and multiple citizens expressing that they feel uncomfortable in his presence because of his disposition.
Carlson says in the letter that Neel had four use-of-force incidents since he had been hired in March.
“I have been working with Officer Neel for the past several months regarding verbal techniques and the approach the YSPD desires when interacting with the citizens we encounter, and I do not see him employing my advice while in uniform as a patrol officer,” Carlson’s letter reads.
In the letter, Carlson says he was concerned about certain comments Neel had made, such as “I can throw most of them,” referring to bar patrons. Instead of saying, as Carlson suggests, “I’m sorry you feel that way” when dealing with negative or harsh language from citizens, Neel replied, “I’m not gonna lie,” according to the letter.
In talking to this news organization about Neel’s resignation, Carlson said initially but later retracted the statement that Neel’s actions on Sept. 29 when he drew the firearm on a resident were not within department policy.
After retracting the statement, Carlson said without an internal investigation into the incident, it’s not known whether Neel violated policy.
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Neel said he plans to file a lawsuit based on discrimination and has retained attorney David Duwel.
In a phone interview, Duwel said he is in talks with Neel and the village law director. He said he’s looking into the details of what happened in the Sept. 29 traffic stop in which Neel drew his firearm.
“I’m thinking this whole thing is motivated by another reason,” Duwel said of Neel’s sudden resignation. “He needs to have his reputation restored.”
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