CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police said the two officers involved in the shooting death of 20-year-old Ali Coulter in Covington have been involved in prior police shootings.
Cincinnati Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge held a press conference Tuesday morning, in accordance with the collaborative agreement made more than 20 years ago. CPD agreed to update the public within 24 hours of an officer shooting someone.
Theetge said officer Charles Knapp and police specialist Mark Longworth are the two officers who fired their guns in the Coulter case.
"We do not know who fired the fatal round," Theetge said.
Theetge said both officers have been involved in shootings before.
Longworth joined CPD in July 1998. Records show Longworth fired nine shots at Donta Williams in 2005. Police said Williams pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him and officer Rick Hoskins while they were on bike patrol on East McMillan Street. Williams was hit twice. He did not die.
Knapp joined CPD in March 2004. Police said Knapp shot 18-year-old Addison Alexander in 2009 after Alexander reportedly pointed a loaded revolver at him. Police said officers approached Alexander as he matched the description of a robbery suspect from earlier that night. Addison was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
In August 2011, police said Knapp shot 23-year-old Christopher Foster seven times in the chest, leg and head. CPD said Foster pulled out a handgun and began shooting at Knapp when the officer confronted him. Knapp, who was on a bicycle, returned fire. The shooting sparked multiple investigations. James Craig, the police chief at the time, said initial reports showed Knapp was acting in accordance with police policy. Foster recovered from the shooting.
In November 2006, a bystander sued Longworth and the City of Cincinnati.
“This case is about the reckless and grossly negligent shooting of an innocent bystander by Cincinnati Police Officer, and the failure of the City to properly monitor, supervise or train the Officer,” reads the lawsuit. The suit claims a woman was working on East McMillan St. when she heard gunfire. The document said she turned the lights off in her salon and ordered everyone to hide. The document said when the shots stopped, the woman realized she had been shot in the leg.
The lawsuit claims Longworth fired nine shots, and five of them entered the salon. It says Longworth should have known innocent bystanders were directly in his line of fire.
A court document from 2009 stated a trial court ruled in favor of the city and concluded the city was immune from liability. The document states Longworth is also entitled to immunity. In the document, Judge J. Painter concurred, writing, “What else was Officer Longworth to do? A guy points a shotgun right at you at 2:00 a.m. You shoot.”
In the case that unfolded Monday, Longworth and Knapp were both members of CPD's Fugitive Apprehension Squad. Theetge said they were two of several officers in Covington to talk to Coulter's mother because her son was wanted for the death of Christian Jones in Cincinnati April 6. Jones was found shot to death inside his vehicle in East Price Hill last week.
CPD said Coulter ran outside with a loaded gun when officers arrived at a family member's home. Police said officers were "forced to utilize their training to stop a threat" when Coulter continued forward and ignored commands to drop his gun.
WCPO asked if it was obvious police were the ones at the door.
"Several of the Covington officers there were uniformed officers," Theetge said. "One of our officers there was a uniformed officer, and our other officers that were in civilian attire had on their big black vest that says police across it."
Kentucky State Police, the agency investigating the shooting, has not responded to our requests for body camera footage.
At the press conference Tuesday, Cincinnati Interim City Manager John Curp said, "Bodycam video will be available as soon as we're permitted to release it."
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said the Citizen Complaint Authority and Cincinnati Police Department will both run their own investigations parallel to KSP.
"We are working very hard to make sure this process falls in line with the procedures as required by the collaborative agreement, by CPD policies and by the law," Pureval said.
Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders will decide if the shooting was justified, or he will show the evidence to a grand jury to see if a trial is warranted.