Yellow Springs police are seen early New Year's Day after an apparent clash with revelers on Short Street following an annual ball drop event in the village. MARGARET KINNER FISCHER / CONTRIBUTED

Yellow Springs retains attorney to investigate New Year’s Eve police-citizen clash

UPDATE@12:57 p.m. (Jan. 6): The Village of Yellow Springs has retained an attorney to investigate the events that occurred New Year’s Eve at the village’s annual ball drop. Attorney David Williamson of the law firm Bieser Greer & Landis LLP will lead the investigation to begin immediately. According to the Village of Yellow Springs, the investigation is expected to take approximately 30 days.

UPDATE@4:22 p.m.(Jan. 4): The Yellow Springs police officer who “deviated” from orders while overseeing the New Year’s Eve events that led to an altercation with citizens and the abrupt resignation of the police chief has been identified.

Officer R.J. Hawley has worked two years as a member of the Village of Yellow Springs Police Depart., according to Village Manager Patti Bates. Hawley is on medical leave, stemming from Sunday’s events, and has not been able to answer any questions in the pending investigation, Bates said.

UPDATE @ 10:08 p.m. (Jan. 3): Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates, during the council meeting, read a statement from Police Chief David Hale regarding his resignation. Hale was not in attendance at the meeting, which drew about 130 to the gym at the Bryan Center.

“It appears that the officer in charge deviated from his instructions, we don’t yet know why or what his reason was for doing that because he was on injury leave and he cannot answer those questions until he returns,” Bates said, reading from Hale’s statement. 

“I also want to point out that in previous incidents, when warranted, there has been action taken once the investigation was concluded,” Hale wrote.

After calling the actions of the officers involved “unacceptable,” Hale announced his resignation by proxy of Bates. The announcement was met with a standing ovation.

The session was supposed to be a regularly scheduled council meeting. Instead, the agenda was tabled and the venue was changed to the gymnasium in anticipation of the large crowd.

In an email from police Sgt. Joshua Knapp to officers who would be working the event, Knapp suggested that revelers would likely clear the streets on their own. But he wrote, “I leave it up to you on when you want to clear the streets, but I suggest that it does not go past 12:45 a.m.”

One by one, residents walked to two separate podiums, alternating, to address the council on what they witnessed, how they were fearful and what they thought should happen with the police force and the council.

After nearly two hours of comments, the council addressed the residents without answering questions, advising they needed to gather more information to reduce any more misinformation, according to Council member Karen Wintrow.

“As a council member, I feel like I’ve let you down,” Council member Gerald Simms said. “Once we do a full investigation and the facts come out, those responsible will receive what’s allowed by the law in our charter.”

The council will meet again this month to continue gathering community input on the New Year’s Eve events.

Hale, a former Montgomery County sheriff’s major, joined the Yellow Springs police department as interim chief on Oct. 2, 2014. He was named chief on Jan. 5, 2015.

UPDATE @ 7:19 p.m. (Jan. 3): Yellow Springs Police Chief David Hale has resigned as a result of the events that occurred on New Year’s Eve.

The announcement came during a meeting tonight that is being attended by well more than 100 people at a local gym.

UPDATE @ 3:31 p.m. (Jan. 3):

A special meeting of Yellow Springs village council will be held tonight at 7 to address the events that occurred on New Year’s Eve that included an altercation between police and a suspect.

RELATED: Community frustrated with handling of Yellow Springs NYE event

According to village clerk of council Judy Kintner, the meeting will address no regular agenda topics and will be focused entirely on citizens speaking to council on their concerns surrounding the events from New Year’s Eve. Residents who would like to speak may sign up at 6:30 p.m.

The location for the meeting has changed from to the Bryan Center gym in anticipation for a large crowd

UPDATE @ 4:07 p.m. (Jan. 2):

Officers on routine patrol during a New Year’s Eve event in downtown Yellow Springs were involved in an altercation with a male suspect after the suspect refused to follow a police officer’s commands, according to the village’s police chief.

“During this event this year, David Carlson, 29 years of age, appeared intoxicated and began leaning into the occupied cruiser of a Yellow Springs Police Officer. Carlson was told several times to move away from the door and Carlson failed to do so,” Yellow Springs Police Chief Dave Hale said in a prepared statement.

The chief said his officer was able to eventually force open the door and the officer had his Taser in his hand.

According to Hale, Carlson then grabbed the Taser from the hand of the officer and fled on foot into the crowd of several hundred spectators attending the year-end event.

Officers chased after Carlson and were able to stop him briefly and when another officer deployed their Taser unsuccessfully, the 29-year-old was able to get up a flee into the crowd again, Hale said.

Officers eventually able to arrest Carlson when they responded to the Gulch, 128 Dayton Street following a possible physical altercation there, Hale said.

The Taser Carlson was accused of stealing from the officer has not been recovered.


More than 50 community members gathered in preparation Monday afternoon for a Tuesday village meeting, where they are expected to express their frustration with how police handled the end of the New Year’s event.

<<RELATED: On the scene in Yellow Springs

Videos shared with News Center 7 showed police clearing the streets and spectators shouting “police go home.”

UPDATE @ 9:55 a.m. (Jan. 2):

David Yon Noel Carlson, 29, was arrested during the clash between revelers and police in Yellow Springs shortly after midnight on New Year's Day, according to Chief Dave Hale.

Carlson is being held in the Greene County Jail on suspicion of obstructing officials business and assault.


We’re working to learn more about a clash Sunday morning between Yellow Springs police and New Year’s Eve revelers after an annual ball drop event on Short Street in the village.

In videos posted on Facebook, attendees can be heard chanting “Police go home!” and cruisers with lights on are seen in the street.

The Yellow Springs News reported that the night started peaceful but turned chaotic after Yellow Springs police officers drove cruisers through the crowd with sirens.

Yellow Springs police, holiday revelers clash on New Year's Eve

There also were reports at least one person was hit with a police Taser, and that a police-issued Taser went missing during the incident.

Police dispatchers would not confirm a Taser was used or that one was missing. They referred all calls to Chief Dave Hale, who was not available and did not return an email request seeking comment.

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