Chief Isaac: Cincinnati Police Officer Accidentally Shot Man in the Back During Arrest

An officer unintentionally discharged his weapon during a scuffle with a suspect at a gas station in Colerain Township Tuesday, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said

Cincinnati Police Headquarters - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati Police Headquarters

A Cincinnati Police officer accidentally shot an unarmed man in Colerain Township during an arrest attempt, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said during a news conference yesterday.

Officer John Brown admitted to police officials that he unintentionally discharged his weapon while participating in the arrest of Andre Thomas Tuesday. Brown and other CPD officers were in plainclothes when they and a Colerain Township police officer boxed-in Thomas' car at a gas station on Compton Road to arrest him for suspected drug dealing in Cincinnati's Mount Airy neighborhood. A scuffle ensued when Thomas tried to flee the scene on foot, according to Isaac, who also said officers tried to use a Taser to subdue Thomas to "minimal effect." Brown's weapon went off while officers and Thomas scuffled.

The officers immediately called for medical help, Isaac said.

"Based on eyewitness accounts and statements from the officers, this appears to be an unintentional discharge on the part of Officer Brown," Isaac said.

Isaac said Brown had drawn his weapon earlier in the incident and tried to reholster it during the scuffle but failed. The chief said the shooting was "definitely not an appropriate use of force."

"Our officers are expected to meet resistance with a reasonable amount of force," Isaac said. "There was no weapon introduced by Mr. Thomas. That is definitely something that we will take a deep look at."

CPD officers were not wearing body cameras because they were in plainclothes, Isaac said, and security footage at the gas station did not capture the incident. Body camera footage from the Colerain Township officer captured the aftermath, but does not show the incident itself.

Thomas is in stable condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he underwent surgery after the incident. He is charged with resisting arrest and felony drug possession of crack cocaine. Brown is on administrative leave while an internal investigation and another by the Citizen Complaint Authority are underway. The Hamilton County Prosecutor's office is also looking into the incident.

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