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Officer resigns amid controversy

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On Monday, Oct. 1, Officer Richard Neel resigned from the Yellow Springs Police Department after seven months on the force.

Village Manager Patti Bates announced Neel’s resignation at Council’s Oct. 1 meeting. Later, in response to a question, Bates said that Neel would not be receiving additional pay or a letter of recommendation.

“There is no package. Officer Neel resigned on his own accord,” Bates said.

A small crowd that had come to the meeting to address a recent incident involving Neel erupted in applause at Bates’ announcement.

Officer Neel had been under scrutiny after residents made complaints to the YSPD, and on social media, that Neel had acted overly-aggressive towards citizens during stops and tended to escalate situations.

In an incident Saturday that some villagers found particularly troubling, Neel pulled his gun on a 92-year-old retired physician. Neel stopped longtime local resident Dr. Jim Agna on suspicion of a hit-skip, for not stopping when the officer tried to pull him over, and other charges.

YSPD Chief Brian Carlson said this week that after an initial review of the incident, Neel chose to resign rather than face an investigation into whether or not he violated police policy.

“Due to Ofc. Neel’s resignation an Internal Investigation cannot be properly completed as Ofc. Neel no longer has a duty to participate in the proceedings,” Carlson wrote in an email.

Including the recent incident, Neel was involved in three use-of-force incidents in his brief time with the department, according to Carlson.

Carlson also investigated several informal citizen complaints against Neel, finding concerns with “tone and demeanor” but no policy violations. After working with Neel to improve his de-escalation tactics and “understand the working environment in Yellow Springs,” in the end, the YSPD and Neel decided to part ways, Carlson said.

“He resigned and we wish him the best of luck,” Carlson said.

Neel was hired as a part-time officer in March in his first law enforcement job after receiving his peace officer certificate last year, according to his personnel file.

Read the Oct. 4 issue of the News for the full story.


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