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Police

Attorneys for David Carlson finish case review

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Attorneys for David Carlson, charged with a felony following the aftermath of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, recently stated that they have completed their investigation into the case and the investigation shows that Carlson is not guilty. 

“Under any interpretation of the law, he is innocent,” defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said in a phone interview last week. Also in the interview was Laura Curliss, who is also representing Carlson.

Carlson was charged by Officer RJ Hawley with obstructing official business at the event, a fifth-degree felony. According to Hawley’s incident report, Carlson kicked and hit his cruiser and attempted to pin him into the car.

Rion and Curliss said they have spoken to about 15 eyewitnesses to the New Year’s Eve event, when police attempted to disperse a crowd of downtown revelers by driving their cars into the crowd, after which the crowd became agitated. The tension escalated after Officer RJ Hawley chased and tackled Carlson, 29, and another officer attempted to shoot him with a taser. Carlson is also charged with petty theft, a misdemeanor, tied to what Hawley said was Carlson grabbing his taser and running with it into the crowd.

However, the eyewitnesses, some of whom were “feet or inches” from the incident, did not corroborate the officer’s story, nor did about a dozen videos of the event viewed by the attorneys.

“These were witnesses standing right by the cruiser. The allegations were not supported,” Rion said. “Our position is that the charges should be dismissed.”

According to Rion, the videos show that Carlson was trying to explain something to the officer rather than to make trouble.

“He was trying to be helpful,” Rion said. “He was not trying to obstruct.”

And no witness has come forward to say she or he saw Carlson grabbing the taser and running with it, as Hawley charged, according to Curliss.

“We can’t find a witness who corroborates that,” she said.

In response, Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt, who is prosecuting the case, said recently she hasn’t reviewed all the information.

“I haven’t seen what they’re referring to,” she said last Tuesday. “I’m still looking at the case and haven’t come to a conclusion.”

According to Curliss, Schmidt has said she will wait to see the results of the investigation into the incident currently being conducted by Village government, before finishing her investigation. The Village investigation was expected to take about 30 days, and began two weeks ago.

Hawley asserts that Carlson’s actions could have caused physical harm, Schmidt said. While the felony charge could result in six months to a year in jail for someone with prior offenses, it’s likely that the punishment would be probation for a first-time offender, which Carlson would be if convicted.

The prosecutor has 60 days from the day of arraignment, which was Jan. 4, to either decide to take the case to a grand jury, offer a plea bargain or drop the charges, according to Schmidt. During this time, the attorneys will continue to share information. 

In a second case related to the New Year’s Eve incident, Village Council member Marianne MacQueen is scheduled to appear at a pre-trial meeting in Xenia Municipal Court on Monday, Jan. 30. She is represented by Fairborn attorney and village resident Mark Babb. 

MacQueen is charged with a misdemeanor level of obstructing official business, also brought by Hawley. The officer stated in his incident report that MacQueen obstructed his work by arguing with him about the police actions, and that she also attempted to pin him inside his cruiser.

In a recent interview, Xenia Law Director Ron Lewis said that he hadn’t yet reviewed the case. MacQueen stated recently that she can’t talk about the specific charges at this time.

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Attorneys for David Carlson finish case review

by Diane Chiddister