Cop in Taser Probe Fired for MySpace Pics

An Ohio police officer whose decision to Taser a pregnant woman last month in the lobby of a police station triggered FBI and internal probes is out of a job before those investigations are even complete.

Michael Wilmer, a 29-year-old probationary officer with the Trotwood Police Department, was fired from the department for posting photos of evidence from police investigations on the Internet, according to Michael Etter, the town's head of public safety.

During the investigation into the Taser incident, officials discovered "items that are not consistent" with the standards of the local police department. Specifically, Wilmer had posted photos on his personal page on the social networking site MySpace that showed behavior the department considered unbecoming of an officer.

"He had a picture of evidence that was seized in a drug bust that involved some marijuana and some money," Etter told ABC News. "There was a picture of a cruiser's speedometer going 100 mph."

Etter said MySpace and Facebook accounts will now be a part of background checks during the department's hiring process. "The whole police profession is based on public trust," Etter said. "You can't have integrity in your investigation if you're posting photos of the evidence on the Internet."

Wilmer could not be reached by ABC News for comment. There is no number in public directories listed for anyone of that name and age in Ohio.

Investigators have not concluded the Taser probe, Etter said, because all of the parties have not been interviewed yet. The department hopes to complete that review by the end of the year.

After the Taser incident, Etter's department faced outside pressure that sparked the look into Wilmer's conduct. Richard Jones, president of the Ohio chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, called in a complaint to Etter about the Taser incident, which occurred Nov. 18 and was caught on surveillance tape.

The footage shows a woman identified in a police incident report as Valreca Redden, 33, in the lobby of the suburban Dayton police station with her 1-year-old son.

Redden had come to the police station to ask police to take custody of the child. When Wilmer asked why, the woman reportedly would only say that "she's tired of playing games" with the baby's father.

"At this point, they had a little more discussion that went nowhere," Etter told ABC News at the time. "She says, 'I'm leaving.'"

Etter, who repeatedly emphasized that Wilmer had no idea that Redden was pregnant, said his former officer told Redden that she could not leave the station without further explanation. He took hold of the child with one arm, Etter said, and pushed the woman down with the other.

A second officer arrived and Wilmer handed over the 1-year-old and attempted to handcuff Redden. She began to resist, Etter said, at which point Wilmer "employed what is called a 'drive stun'" on the back of her neck.

According to a copy of Trotwood Police Department General Orders, police officers are encouraged to "greatly evaluate each situation with discretion" before using a Taser on a child, elderly person or pregnant woman.

Redden was charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest. It was not until the woman, wearing a heavy coat, was being checked out by jail staff that officers learned she was pregnant, Etter said. At that point, she was transported directly to the hospital.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...