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CPD: Officer mistakenly fired lethal ammo at 'mentally disturbed' man

Man was not struck; incident under investigation
Posted at 11:59 PM, Jun 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-28 23:16:37-04

CINCINNATI — UPDATE: The Cincinnati Police Department is investigating after one of its officers mistakenly fired lethal ammunition at a "mentally disturbed" man during Saturday's SWAT standoff in the West End.

In a Sunday news conference, Police Chief Eliot Isaac said Sgt. Daniel Carder loaded his beanbag weapon with a lethal shotgun slug when he meant to reload beanbags to subdue the suicidal man brandishing a knife. The man was not struck.

Isaac, who said the rounds look "very different," said the department would look into the incident.

"Our beanbag slugs are translucent," he said. "You can almost see through them. It’s very evident. The other shotgun rounds are either red or gray in color.”

Isaac said Carder fired his weapon, missed the man and immediately realized his weapon was not loaded correctly based on the sound of the shot.

“I think we have a situation of inattention on the part of Sgt. Carder in this reload. Something that we will certainly be looking at," Isaac said.

Police Lt. Steve Saunders told WCPO that Carder notified a command officer shortly after he realized his error while the scene was still active.

"We are confident that it was accidental due to Sgt. Carder's reaction and the steps he took after he recognized what transpired. That is evident on the body camera as well," Saunders said.

Officers on scene took several attempts to disarm the man using "less-than-lethal force," including beanbag rounds, Tasers and pepper spray, but all were unsuccessful. The standoff lasted more than four hours before police and SWAT members took the man into custody with minor injuries.

“We did have crisis intervention help and an MD on scene here," Isaac said. "However, we are still dealing with an individual armed with a knife. I think other than what happened here with Sgt. Carder, I think our officers showed amazing patience.”

The incident is being investigated by CPD and the Citizen Complaint Authority, the city’s civilian police oversight board.

"This is still an active internal investigation, so it is too soon to speculate on the outcome & any recommendations for disciplinary action or training," Saunders told WCPO.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor's office will also investigate the incident as a police shooting because a lethal round was used. Prosecutor Joe Deters told WCPO Sunday that he expects his office will have a conclusion on the matter this week.

“Our officers engage with people that are suffering from mental health crises at times and they come into custody very peacefully, very uneventfully. It is actually rare that these things turn violent. In this particular case, it did," Isaac said.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A tense situation ended with a man in custody after close to four and a half hours Saturday night.

Cincinnati Police shut down parts of Freeman Avenue in the West End and blocked off sidewalks for what law enforcement called an "emotionally disturbed" person armed with a knife.

Authorities eventually used a non-lethal weapon to subdue the individual and the man was transported to University Hospital for treatment.

According to police, the man sustained minor injuries as a result of the less-than-lethal method of arrest.

A police spokesperson said all officers are trained for mental health situations and SWAT negotiators go through even more extensive training on the topic.

Cincinnati Police said the investigation is still ongoing.