(SEYMOUR) - Seymour Rev. Ron L. Norris, of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church has filed a complaint in connection with the injury of a man Nov. 21 when a police officer tried to stop him for questioning about running a stop sign.
Norris writes that he wants the city's review board to determine whether excessive force was used by police against Robert Q. Edmonds Jr., 63, of Seymour and whether "this use of excessive force could have been racially motivated."
His letter asks that Police Chief Bill Abbott remove himself from the Complaint Review Board process in this case because Abbott was one of four officers to arrive on the scene when Edmonds was injured by Officer Craig Owens.
"Because of your personal involvement in the incident, I would like you to consider delegating your duties under the policy concerning the complaint procedure to another individual of authority," Norris wrote. He suggested Seymour Common Council President Mike Jordan as an appropriate substitute.
Abbott said Thursday he plans to speak with Mayor Craig Luedeman and city attorney Rodney Farrow to discuss the complaint and Norris' request that Abbott not be part of the review process.
Abbott said he's afraid the review board will not be able to receive all of the facts in the matter. Abbot said police are not allowed to share all the facts because of a pending lawsuit.
Under the Complaint Review Board policy, the five-member board is charged with reviewing civilian and departmental complaints filed against SPD employees and determining the validity of those complaints.
Responsibilities of the police chief outlined in the policy include appointing two officers to the board, reviewing complaints filed by citizens, determining whether such complaints are valid and should be forwarded to the board, deciding whether to appoint a detective to investigate the complaints, receiving findings of the board and determining whether disciplinary action is in order.
Current members of the Complaint Review Board are Assistant Chief Craig Hayes and Sgt. Jack Hauer of the police department, Mike Williams, Sonnie Hardwick and Councilman Lloyd Hudson.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice have started an investigation into the matter last week. Federal investigations target whether a citizen's civil rights were violated.
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