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Prosecutor pledges justice after man accused of attempting to kill cop deemed unfit for trial

Brandon Claiborne was accused of attempting to kill a Cincinnati police officer at Sawyer Point Park in July
Brandon Claiborne
Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 07, 2023

CINCINNATI — The man accused of attempting to kill a Cincinnati police officer in July will not face a jury any time soon after a judge ruled him incompetent to stand trial in connection with the attempted murder of a police officer in July.

Prosecutor Melissa Powers pledged to continue pursuing Brandon Claiborne's conviction, however, saying he was too dangerous to be in the general population.

Powers said Claiborne was so dangerous only one mental health facility in Ohio, Twin Valley Behavioral Health Forensic Center near Columbus, would accept him after the judge ordered him held for treatment.

"He doesn't deserve to be on the streets after what he did to this officer," she said.

Cincinnati police said Claiborne attacked Officer Terry McGuffey as he was responding to a call about a man exposing himself at Sawyer Point Park in late July. Investigators said he beat McGuffey with a baton, hit him multiple times with his own taser, and attempted to gouge the officer's eyes out.

RELATED | Judge sets $1 million bond for man who allegedly attacked CPD officer with Taser, baton at Sawyer Point Park

"At the time it was very frightening, not knowing if he was going to have his eyesight or not after the thumbs were inserted into his eye sockets," Powers said. "Very gruesome, very brutal."

Powers said the ruling that Claiborne wasn't fit for trial halted all legal proceedings against him. She said his mental health facility would attempt to "restore" him to the point where he could understand the criminal proceedings with proper treatment and medication.

"There are times where someone is not restorable, but, in this case, I'm pretty confident he will be able to be restored once he takes his medication," she said.

Powers acknowledged, however, that there are cases where a patient can't be "restored."

"Then the case can be dismissed," she said.

Dan Hils, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Local 69, said the chance charges could be dropped against Claiborne pointed to a glaring issue within the court system.

"He cannot be released into the streets," Hils said. "He is a dangerous and violent man. This was not his first time showing society how dangerous he is. ... He tried to kill a fellow Cincinnati policeman, and he tried to kill my friend."

RELATED | Claiborne attack 'racially motivated,' had criminal history

Powers said defendants are constitutionally protected from standing trial if they're incapable of understanding the process, but she promised to do everything within her power to see justice done.

Hils said Officer McGuffey had recovered from his injuries and was able to return to his duties on the force until a planned retirement in 2024.

Claiborne's next hearing to determine competency was scheduled for Feb. 27, 2024.

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