Mount Sterling police chief to resign
Taser incident wasn’t reason, he says
By Holly Zachariah
MOUNT STERLING, Ohio – Embattled police Chief Mike McCoy announced last night that he will soon resign from his village post, though he insisted it has nothing to do with the fact that one of his officers shocked a 9-year-old boy twice with a Taser last week.
McCoy, who was placed on paid leave late last week after he did not tell Mount Sterling Mayor Charlie Neff of the incident, said he wasn’t pressured to resign.
Instead, after an hour-long, closed-door meeting between his personal attorney and village officials, McCoy read a statement that said the village’s declining budget keeps him from doing his job.
He said he did nothing wrong by not immediately telling Neff what had happened because, as chief, he felt he needed to check into the incident himself first.
“I did what I was supposed to do to maintain the integrity of the incident,” McCoy said.
Neff said McCoy wasn’t asked to quit, but he added that the past few days “have been tough.” He said that lawyers are drafting a separation agreement and the council is expected to accept McCoy’s formal resignation at its meeting in two weeks. McCoy will not be reporting back to his $49,900-a-year job, though.
In the meantime, the entire part-time police force remains disbanded and the Madison County sheriff’s office will patrol the village. There was no discussion of hiring a new chief or bringing back officers, and last week’s incident is being reviewed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Among the 70 or so people at the meeting was Michelle Perry, whose son Jared was shocked by Mount Sterling police Officer Scott O’Neil last Tuesday morning.
Mrs. Perry didn’t comment, but her attorney, Tracy Comisford, said after the meeting that when O’Neil came to arrest her son for truancy, Mrs. Perry never expected that he would be subdued with a Taser. “She certainly never wanted this to happen,” Comisford said.
Village officials released the police report yesterday. According to O’Neil’s written account:
He went to the boy’s S. Market Street home about 8:30 a.m. to serve a complaint filed against Jared for truancy.
Jared — listed on the report as between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8 inches tall and between 200 and 250 pounds — refused to cooperate. He begged his mother to let him go to school rather than with the officer, but Perry told her son it was too late.
O’Neil wrote that after repeated warnings, he pulled Jared from the couch, but he “dropped to the floor and became dead weight … flailing around,” and the boy lay on his hands to prevent being handcuffed.
O’Neil demonstrated the electrical current from the Taser into the air “as a show of force.” Then, he wrote, Perry told her son to do as O’Neil said or he would be shocked.
The report indicates that after being shocked once, Jared still didn’t cooperate and was shocked a second time. An ambulance was called, but Jared had no sign of injury; Perry signed a waiver for medical treatment. Jared was taken to the sheriff’s office, and a delinquency count of resisting arrest was added to his truancy charge.
As people left the meeting last night, many offered McCoy support and said they stand behind the police department. Resident Heather Rice said all the facts about what happened last week aren’t yet known, and McCoy has simply become a scapegoat.
“This isn’t about a Taser,” she said. “This is about forcing this village to lose its police force.”