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New Meister investigation launched

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The Village of Yellow Springs initiated a new investigation into Officer Dave Meister last month, the News learned this week. An allegation of misconduct centers on Officer Meister’s actions the night of a shooting that left one villager dead.

The Village is looking into whether Meister — who had gone off duty but was still at the station — should have accompanied Officer Paul Raffoul on the call, which occurred late in the evening on Dec. 13, 2018. When Raffoul arrived on the scene, he found that Kenneth Livingston had died of a gunshot wound to the head. According to several sources, witnesses stated that the shooting was self-inflicted and accidental, but an official cause of death has yet to be determined.

Last year, Meister was disciplined after an internal investigation concluded he violated department policy in two incidents by not ensuring public safety. Numerous villagers spoke out in support of Meister during that investigation, which resulted in a demotion and the start of a six-month performance improvement plan.

According to an internal report from the Village initiated Dec. 14, 2018, Meister had gone off duty but was still in uniform when local dispatch received a 911 call reporting an accidental shooting. Meister then told dispatcher Ruth Peterson, “he was going home and she was to call a supervisor,” the report states.

The report continues, “Officer Raffoul, an officer with the Department for 8 months, was the only other officer on duty at the time. Officer Meister then left the building.”

An investigation is being launched because Meister’s actions may have violated Yellow Springs Police Department and Village of Yellow Springs Personnel policies, and also raised “safety concerns for the welfare of the involved parties and the general public,” the report states. The report was completed and signed by Village Manager Patti Bates on Dec. 18, 2018.

Detective Brian Melchi of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office started the investigation on Dec. 18, and its findings were submitted to Bates on Monday, the Clark County Sheriff confirmed this week. By press time, Bates had yet to act on the recommendations.

Although the shooting, which took place on the balcony of a Corry Street apartment, is believed to have been accidental, police are still investigating the incident as a possible crime, according to the Village last week. Police are waiting for a ruling on Livingston’s cause of death as well as toxicology results from the Greene County Coroner. The coroner’s office confirmed this week that its report is pending, and may not be complete for another four to eight weeks.

Neither Bates nor Police Chief Brian Carlson would comment on the investigation of Meister, citing the ongoing nature of the disciplinary matter. Meister also declined to comment.

Livingston grew up in the village and was the son of the late Hugh “Huey” Livingston, a former YSPD officer.


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