City officials held a press conference Monday at noon addressing a video posted on Twitter showing an altercation between Athens Police Department officers and a man during an arrest.
APD Chief Tom Pyle, Mayor Steve Patterson and Safety Service Director Andy Stone explained the use of force and motivation for the arrest, which took place early Sunday morning.
Pyle said he believed using three officers to make the arrest was reasonable and within policy.
“I can tell you that the video that we have seen that’s been posted on Twitter...catches only the very tail end of the incident,” Pyle said. “There is significant more to the altercation, and the incident that we have amassed in our investigation, which is ongoing.”
Police responded to The J Bar, 41 N. Court St., after receiving a report about an unruly patron, who had returned after being ejected from the bar and was causing issues with the staff at the front door.
APD officers conducting bar checks responded quickly to the bar. The J Bar staff was able to point out the man and officers approached him.
“This isn’t like this person was singled out of a group of people because of race,” Pyle said. “I think that’s just flatly false.”
Pyle said the man is Ty Bealer, 21, and a University of Cincinnati student. When Bealer was approached, he resisted the officers, which resulted in the altercation, Pyle said.
Bealer had put on a flannel shirt after leaving The J Bar. Even with the change of clothes, APD had the correct age, race and details along with a very specific description of Bealer’s clothing, Pyle said.
“We’re confident it’s the right person,” Pyle said. “We have video recording the activities that occurred in front of the bar as well.”
Bealer was arrested Sunday at about 1:15 a.m. by APD officers for resisting arrest and obstructing official business, according to the police report.
Pyle said the use of force by officers was necessary for safety as evidenced due to the lack of injuries to the individual.
The arrest also justified the use of three officers since Court Street is busy with the crowd that gathered during the time of the incident, Stone said.
“In many cases alcohol is involved, and as those crowds grow, it's extremely important to get the person and remove them from the situation,” Stone said. “The crowd will just continue to be unruly.”
Pyle said Ohio University had nothing to do with the incident. The university police only responded to help with crowd control.
The APD officers involved in the incident are Ethan Doerr, Andrew Jacob Spear and Dustin Wesselhoeft.
Bealer was offered ACEMS treatment for an abrasion to his right hand and a TASER barb wound, which Pyle said is the standard operating procedure when a TASER is deployed.
Bealer entered his court pleas Monday and plead not guilty to both charges.
Pyle said the department has several videos for evidence but will not release it due to the investigation and until the public trial is over. He asked anyone with more video to send it to the department.
The department has no video from police body cameras. APD was supposed to receive body cameras in early September, but the shipment was pushed back by the manufacturer due to back-ordering. The cameras were received last week and training is scheduled for the end of November.
“This is a perfect type of incident that I would have loved (having body cameras for),” Pyle said. “My officers...would have loved that, to have body cameras because that would have provided additional footage and additional perspective.”
Pyle said APD’s policies for use of force change about every month based on the most recent court rulings. The department receives training for policy changes and distributes training bulletins to its staff on a monthly basis.
“I have made the statement and I will continue to make the statement: I don’t want to employ racist cops,” Pyle said. “I said, however, that I did not want to train away racist police officers, I want to terminate the racist police officers. Now whether I can or not is another story.”
The use of force report is anticipated to be fully reviewed by the middle of the week.