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    Columbus officer fired after forcing teen’s face into concrete during arrest on video

    By David ReesMark FeuerbornAnna Hoffman,


    COLUMBUS, Ohio ( WCMH ) — A Columbus police officer is out of a job thanks to his actions caught on bodycam during a 14-year-old boy’s arrest.

    In a document dated for Tuesday, the Columbus police chief and director of public safety decided to terminate Officer Donovan Bever. They charged him with violating the division’s rule of conduct, noting abusive or violent behavior and violating its policy on use of force.

    The document details multiple examples of Bever’s conduct during a Feb. 19 arrest of a 14-year-old boy as the reasoning behind his termination:

    • While arresting the teen, Bever grabbed him by his dreadlocks and “forcefully caused his head/face to strike a concrete walkway.” The facts of the case did not justify the use of force as “objectively reasonable,” according to the document.
    • Bever “forcefully pushed” the teen’s face into the concrete walkway.
    • Bever removed a phone charger and another unidentified object from the teen’s pockets during a search, then threw them at him and struck him in the face.
    • After placing the teen in handcuffs, Bever told the teen “you move, I will break your face.”
    • Making the teen stand up, Bever then escorted him by his dreadlocks to a police van.
    • While conducting another search of the teen, Bever “aggressively struck him in the groin” with his hand.

    The officer was one of two to be fired within a week. In a separate case, Chief Elaine Bryant decided to terminate Officer Robert Spann after saying he engaged in “excessive” sex acts with a store employee while working special duty at an area Kroger.

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    Bryant sat down with NBC4 after the firings, describing her emotions after reviewing Bever’s bodycam video.

    “It angers me. I’m disappointed. I’m angry. I’m frustrated because this is not what we stand for and there was absolutely no reason or justification for treating a 14-year-old or anyone like that,” Bryant said.

    Director of Public Safety Kate Pishotti also released a statement Friday afternoon, saying the 14-year-old “deserved better.”

    “Officer Bever’s actions were unacceptable, and as it pertains to his employment,
    indefensible,” Pishotti wrote. “What I saw on that video and read in this investigation was wholly
    incompatible with the values of the Columbus Division of Police.”
    Donovan Bever. (Courtesy Photo/Columbus Division of Police)

    The video from the same Feb. 19 arrest showed Bever was conducting a traffic stop with another officer for a pedestrian in the roadway while patrolling in Linden. At about 4 p.m., they rolled up on two 14-year-old boys they had seen earlier. When the officers approached the pair of teens, they took off running.

    “They were walking in the street, doing what kids do,” Bryant said.

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    The second officer got out of the police car within the apartment complex and ran toward the boys, while Bever drove the car around to a different area. When the second officer spotted the two teens across the lawn, he pulled out and aimed his firearm in the boys’ direction and shouted “Drop to the ground right now.”

    Continuing to advance on the pair, the second officer yelled “Get on the f***ing ground or I’ll shoot you.” He then strained his voice to shout “On the ground” several times. The teens followed the officer’s instructions. He then approached and began to place one of the boys into handcuffs while he was face down on the ground.

    While the second officer began to arrest the first teen, Bever caught up to the group. Bever’s bodycam recorded him running over to the other teen, grabbing the boy’s dreadlocks and shoving him face down into the sidewalk. Bever continued to pull on the teen’s dreadlocks to steer him, as Bever used his other hand to place the boy into handcuffs.
    A still from terminated Officer Donovan Bever’s bodycam shows him holding a teen by his dreadlocks and forcing his head into a sidewalk. (Courtesy Photo/Columbus Division of Police)

    The footage showed Bever continuously pushing the boy’s face into the ground, while the teen is heard repeating “I’m sorry” several times. One of the teens can also be heard repeating “I’m complying, I’m complying.”

    Bryant watched the bodycam video with NBC4 after deciding to fire Bever, describing these actions as the ones leading to Bever’s firing.

    “At that point the excessive use of force, there was a head shove into the ground,” Bryant said. “There was some objects being thrown into the young man’s face and then you will see him stand up and escort him to the wagon by his hair.”

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    When Bever then rolled the teen onto his back, he could be heard saying, “You move, I will break your face.” While searching the teen’s pockets, he pulled out a phone charger and another unidentified object and threw them in the 14-year-old’s face. After forcefully rolling the teen around to his other side, the teen was visibly bleeding from his mouth.

    Bever then took the teen to a police van for another search, holding him by his dreadlocks. Once there, Bever could be heard asking the teen “you got AIDS?”

    Bever was relieved from duty the day after the arrest, but wasn’t fired until months later. Bryant said the division spoke with the 14-year-old’s grandmother, his legal guardian, after the incident.

    “They were disappointed about the actions of the officers, but they were relieved and happy with the swift action that the department and the director of public safety took in addressing this issue,” Bryant said.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to NBC4 WCMH-TV.

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