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Video shows Ohio cop repeatedly punch Black woman over an incident involving slice of cheese

Incident has triggered outrage in community

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 19 January 2023 00:27 GMT
Officer has been placed on administrative leave
Officer has been placed on administrative leave (Facebook)

An investigation has been launched by an Ohio police force after video emerged of an officer repeatedly punching an unarmed Black woman following a row over an order at McDonald’s.

The video, captured by a bystander, apparently showed Butler Township Police Sgt Todd Stanley grapple with the woman and punch her at least three times in the face.

Mr Stanley and a colleague then detain the woman, later identified as Latinka Hancock.

A lawyer for Ms Hancock said the woman suffered a bloody face and concussion, and had to be taken to hospital for treatment.

As outcry about the Monday incident grew, it emerged that the incident involving Ms Hancock followed an altercation at a McDonald’s.

Reports said she was angry about an order that was wrong, and had gone back to remonstrate with the staff.

“She’s mad over a $.30 piece of cheese,” the caller told dispatchers, according to WHIO-TV.

At some point they called the police, who could initially be seen talking to Ms Hancock, who tries to push them away. It is at that point, that the officer appears to punch her in the face.

“We are aware of the video recorded by a bystander that is circulating on Facebook concerning an incident that occurred on January 16, 2023, involving two of our officers,” the department wrote on Facebook.

“This incident is currently under investigation in accordance with departmental policies and procedures, as is the case whenever force is used in an arrest.”

On Wednesday, John Porter, chief of the Butler Township Police force, located in the northern suburbs of Dayton, held a press conference where he vowed that a fair investigation would be carried out.

He said the officer, a 22-year veteran of the force, had been placed on administrative leave. The other officer involved was identified as Tim Zellers

Mr Porter claimed the officers had been trying to book Ms Hancock for trespassing but that she did did not cooperate.

“We take these incidents very seriously and we are looking into them and we are going to conduct a thorough investigation,” he said, vowing that he planned to make available all police body camera footage.

“We’re going to go as deep as we can into this. Like I said, if there’s indications of wrongdoing and against our policy, then we will definitely take formal action.”

Yet there is mounting consternation over what many claim was another example of the police using unnecesary force against a person of colour.

“Abusing a Black woman is unacceptable. I will be calling and expressing my concerns for the safety of all Black women,” wrote Michelle Campbell, one of many posters who wrote on the police’s Facebook page.

“They both should be fired. They totally abused that woman. I am appalled. Why? Was it because she was Black?”

Another user, Jeff Conley, wrote: “As a township resident I expect more from our employees. What I saw on the news was not the type of behavior we want in Butler Township.”

And yet another, Karen Houston, wrote: “Shameless....This is not acceptable in any investigation is needed to suspend and take this officer off the street....We are not safe with him on the street or on any one force....#ACT NOW DO NOT WAIT!”

The Independent confirmed that Ms Hancock is being represented by attorney Michael Wright, of the Dayton-based firm Wright and Schulte.

Mr Wright told one local media station: “I have been hired to represent her. I am now investigating. I want to know why this happened and the video I saw was disturbing. I want to know why the officer used excessive force.”

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