LIMA — An internal investigation by the Lima Police Department into a September incident during which a Lima woman who was nine months pregnant was wrestled to the ground by city police officers remains under review, Police Chief Kevin Martin said Wednesday.
Martin, however, seemed confident that the internal probe into whether the actions of the two city police officers involved in the incident constituted excessive force will be wrapped up in the near future.
“The investigation is under review; it’s not officially closed yet,” Martin said Wednesday. “I’m in consultation with the [city] law department and we will have more information to release to the public at a later date. At this point it would be improper for me to release more information, but this is something we don’t want to sit on for too long,” the chief said.
City Law Director Anthony Geiger confirmed Wednesday afternoon that his office is currently “reviewing issues” for Martin related to the Secession incident but declined further comment.
Kenyatta Secession, 32, was approached on Sept. 28 by two Lima Police Department officers at the intersection of Broadway and Vine streets after being recognized for having three outstanding failure-to-appear warrants. Police officials said Secession was charged with obstructing official business, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A video of the incident was posted to Facebook later that evening and appeared to show Lima Police Department Patrolmen Matt Boss and Brandon Stephenson wrestling the pregnant Secession to the ground. The video shows Secession being handcuffed by the officers with at least one of them appearing to put his knee on her back.
Local NAACP officials came to the defense of the Lima woman after the incident and demanded that an independent investigator, and not the Lima Police Department, lead a probe into the episode. Martin declined that request.
In late October, Martin said that investigators leading the department’s internal probe were attempting to reach out to Secession because “we want her side of the story.”
The chief on Wednesday said efforts to get Secession to provide information surrounding the incident failed to materialize. “She did not make herself available to us,” said Martin.
Secession gave birth to a girl on Oct. 10, less than two weeks after the incident in question.
Lima Mayor David Berger issued a statement in September, shortly after the controversial video was posted on Facebook.
“As a father, grandfather and mayor of this city, I find the video disturbing, and my heart goes out to all those involved,” the mayor said. “I have spoken with Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin, who has pledged an objective, thorough and fair investigation,” Berger said. “Further, I have asked Chief Martin to review departmental policies and practices regarding the arrest of pregnant women.”
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