Lima FOP: Tasing was justified in Taco Bell incident

By Sam Shriver -

LIMA — The president of Lima’s Fraternal Order of Police says an officer followed procedures when he used a Taser on a young man at the Allentown Road Taco Bell in the early morning hours of April 11.

Darrell M. Ball, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lima Lodge No. 21 issued a news release Sunday to shed some light on what they know so far.

“Several law enforcement agencies encourage the use of Tasers as an alternative to using physical force with non-compliant subjects, as the use of a taser results in less physical injuries to both officers and citizens. It appears after review of Lima Police reports and viewing the (Chase) Diamond video that the use of a taser by Lima Police Department officers was justified and appropriate given the circumstances,” Ball wrote in his statement.

Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin said Sunday his department’s investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“We still have a fact-finding investigation being conducted because there’s a lot of people for the investigating officer to interview and looking at other potential evidence that might be out there,” Martin said Sunday afternoon in a phone interview.

He’s calling for the public to help them in their investigation.

“If there’s other people that have their own cell phone video of that that they’ve taken, that haven’t provided us with a copy, we’d really appreciate a copy of that,” Martin said.

Ball is calling on parents to educate their children on how to interact with law enforcement officers.

“Remaining calm and cooperating with officers will avoid most, if not all use of force incidents,” Ball wrote in his news release.

The Lima chapter of the NAACP had scheduled a news conference last for noon last Wednesday to address their concerns, but that news conference was canceled a little more than an hour before it was scheduled for undisclosed reasons.

The Rev. Ronald Fails, president of the local NAACP chapter, declined to comment Sunday. He issued this written statement through a spokesperson: “We’re in the process now of reviewing the Lima Police Department reports. Until we complete our investigations of the review of the body cameras, the reports, we are unprepared to make a statement at this time.”

Police were called to the restaurant at 12:20 a.m., after complaints about loud music coming from a group’s vehicle, parked in the back of the lot, near the drive-thru. The noise was so loud, Taco Bell employees had trouble hearing people’s orders for food.

“On the date in question, a Lima Police Officer observed the violation of the music ordinance himself and requested that the party (parties) responsible turn the volume down. His request was ignored and instead was met with a loud profane response,” according to the statement issued by Ball.

The FOP stated that “the officer intended to issue a citation for the loud music, however, the situation escalated when those responsible refused to comply with the officer’s legal requests and instead began to loudly challenge the officer using profanity and racial slurs. Due to the persistent disorderly conduct of several individuals, the decision to make arrests was made by responding officers,” the statement said.

One of the persons arrested was underage. The others were adults.

During the incident, Jose Manuel Maldonado was tased by an officer, which was captured on video by an individual identified as Chase Diamond.

“In the Diamond video, it is clear that the subject in question was actively resisting a lawful arrest when he was tased,” according to the news release from the FOP’s Ball.

In a since-deleted Facebook video, Maldonado contended he was just trying to comply with the officer.

“All I was doing is trying to do is give them my I.D., folks,” Maldonado said in the video.

The FOP contends the use of the taser was proper in this incident.

Ball noted his organization hadn’t received video from the police department nor have they reviewed any other video footage.

By Sam Shriver

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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