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Village of Yellow Springs disciplines police officer for misconduct

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This week Yellow Springs Police Sergeant Naomi Penrod was disciplined internally for failing to follow proper police procedure when she forcibly grabbed a video camera from a local resident on a peace officer call in November. Part of the incident was captured on video.

According to a letter to Penrod signed by Village Manager Patti Bates on Dec. 16, Penrod is mandated to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination, serve a minimum 180-day performance improvement period, and serve a three-day unpaid suspension (with one suspension day held in abeyance contingent on satisfactory completion of the performance improvement program.) The improvement program includes training “designed to specifically enhance your ability to perform your duties in a proper manner,” monthly meetings with Interim Police Interim Chief David Hale and bimonthly evaluations by Hale and Bates.

The letter discusses the detailed reasons for the discipline, including the unnecessary force Penrod used against a disabled citizen who was exercising her right to record the police.

“Your conduct on November 5, 2014 was unacceptable and will not be tolerated within the Village of Yellow Springs…In this situation your duty mandated that you diffuse the conflict. Instead, you incited the conflict…”

The incident involved a call about an eviction notice served to tenant Athena Fannin at an Allen Street address on Nov. 5. When police arrived Fannin began video recording the officers, capturing a segment of Penrod approaching her and grabbing the device from her.

After an initial investigation of the complaint lodged by Fannin, in late November Interim Chief Hale found that Penrod had violated two counts of proper conduct, including forcibly taking Fannin’s camera and exhibiting hostility without cause. This week’s disciplinary action followed a series of predisciplinary hearings using impartial outside moderators.

Fannin is currently seeking criminal charges against Sergeant Penrod regarding the incident.

More on the Village’s disciplinary action will be reported in next week’s News.

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