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David Carlson receives reduced sentence for New Year’s Eve charges

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David Carlson appeared in the Xenia Municipal Court Friday, April 14, for sentencing for the charges stemming from his involvement in the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop incident in Yellow Springs. He was accompanied by attorneys Laura Curliss and John Paul Rion, who had earlier negotiated a plea deal with prosecutors.

Carlson was originally charged with obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony. A plea deal with the Greene County Prosecutor’s office dropped his charge down to three counts of disorderly conduct, all fourth-degree misdemeanors. Carlson was scheduled to plead guilty to all three misdemeanor charges.

The misdemeanor charges each carried the possibility of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. In court, Judge Michael K. Murry asked Carlson if he understood the implications of a guilty plea, and advised him of the other plea options available to him, including a jury trial. Carlson, hands clasped in front of him and clad in a dress shirt and slacks, said he understood.

Murry then read the charges. The first count was disorderly conduct outside of a police cruiser, the second was disorderly conduct in front of the Little Art Theater, and the third count was disorderly conduct outside of the Gulch.

Carlson, who is African American, plead guilty the charges. He was fined $150 and court costs for each count, which, according to a press release provided afterward by Curliss, totaled $710. Carlson was also required to successfully complete a “term of probation not to exceed two years,” during which he will be subject to drug and alcohol testing.

Carlson was initially asked to pay restitution to the department for a taser “lost or damaged” in the incident. However, a letter from the Yellow Springs Village Council to the prosecutor stated that Council would not be asking for restitution; as such, Murry said the “Court will not make restitution a part of sentencing in this matter.”

Following the sentencing, Carlson said he accepts responsibility for his actions on New Year’s Eve and is “truly sorry for his role in the events and for his actions” with regards to the officers involved. He then apologized to Yellow Springs officer RJ Hawley and to the citizens of Yellow Springs.

The charges stemmed from a controversial incident during the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in which Yellow Springs police officers drove their vehicles through the crowd to disperse revelers shortly after midnight in a manner many villagers found aggressive threatening. Carlson and Village Council member Marianne MacQueen attempted to engage one of the officers, RJ Hawley, regarding the police actions. MacQueen was charged with a misdemeanor for her involvement. The charges were later dropped.

An independent investigation of the New Year’s Eve incident, faulted Hawley for aiming a taser at Carlson, who Hawley considered to be behaving in a threatening manner, although the investigation did not find witnesses to corroborate that impression. Hawley has been on paid administrative leave since January.

A more detailed story will appear in next week’s News.



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