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A police car parked outside of Athens Police Department on Sept. 4, 2019. 

APD officer involved in viral arrest has alleged history of using excessive force

The Athens Police Department officer who arrested Ty Bealer early Sunday morning has been accused twice in federal court of using excessive force.

Ethan Doerr, the officer who arrested Bealer, was sued in 2016 and again in April by two different men who claimed he had used excessive force, including an Ohio University student

The student, Jacob Francis, filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Doerr and the city of Athens after Doerr attempted to arrest him using “excessive, gratuitous and unreasonable force,” according to the complaint. 

Andrew Jacob Spear, another APD officer involved in the arrest of Bealer, was also named as a defendant but was dropped from the case in June.

Francis, who has demanded a jury trial, encountered Doerr on April 27, 2018, when he was allegedly having a loud conversation with his friends. After getting upset, Francis threw his phone into the bushes, which he then retrieved. Doerr then approached Francis aggressively, according to the complaint.

Doerr asked Francis what he was doing, and Francis said he was walking home. Doerr attempted to grab Francis’ arms “very suddenly and violently,” according to the complaint. Francis attempted to quickly walk back to his dorm, but Doerr drew his stun gun and stunned Francis. 

Francis “mysteriously traveled 15-20 feet away” from where he was stunned, fell down a flight of stairs and fell head-first into a brick wall, according to the complaint. He was eventually taken to Grant Medical Center in Columbus where he was put through surgery for several head injuries and had his jaw wired shut.

Francis filed a lawsuit against Doerr and the city in April, which is still ongoing. It has not yet gone to trial, and both parties must file all final motions by May 2020, Sara Gedeon, Francis’ lawyer, said.

It was not the first time that Doerr has been accused of using excessive force. 

In 2016, Michael Moe sued the city of Logan and Doerr, then employed by the Logan Police Department, for using “unreasonable force,” according to the complaint. 

The suit alleged that Doerr grabbed him in a “vicious manner, injuring (Moe) and cursing and swearing at (Moe),” and “destroying ... personal property within and on his motor vehicle,” according to the complaint. 

Moe voluntarily dropped the case, so the suit never made it to trial, and the matter was settled out of court in 2017. 


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