Man hits CPD officer with metal pipe

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Body camera footage was released by Cincinnati Police on Tuesday that showed the minutes-long encounter between officers and a man who eventually struck Officer Johnny Harris in the face with a metal pipe, leaving him with extensive injuries.

Harris was hospitalized Friday after he took a metal pipe to his face. The full 17-minute body cam video shows officers being as cordial as possible and using their Tasers multiple times to no avail.

Harris’ body cam footage shows him responding to Fifth and Main streets. Police arrived after receiving a 911 call about the alleged robbery.

The footage shows another officer already having engaged the man. Harris walks up as the other officer shoots the man with a stun gun. The man does not flinch and instead continues walking on Sixth Street toward Walnut Street. At Sixth and Walnut, Harris uses a stun gun on the man, who responds by hitting him once with a metal pipe.

The man then strikes the back window of a parked car with the pipe. Moments later, he strikes another car parked several spots up Sixth before continuing his walk across the city. The man and the two pursuing officers meet up with other CPD officers, and one of the new officers fires a stun gun at the man, but again, it has almost no effect. The man is hit with a stun gun for the fourth and fifth times entering the intersection of Sixth and Vine streets. Several times the officers tell him to stop and put his hands up, but he does not listen, instead screaming.

At Elm Street, the man abruptly changes course and begins running north. He runs right into a group of squad cars with their lights flashing, and at least six officers have the man on the ground, and it appears all of them are needed to keep him restrained as one officer places him in handcuffs.

The president of the Fraternal Order of Police says deadly force was warranted in this case, and it makes him angry that officers are afraid to use it.

“It’s a metal pipe. It bashed somebody’s brains in. It was an inch or maybe two from doing that. That is a deadly weapon. We don’t get paid -- he doesn’t get paid to get his brains bashed in. That’s not our job,” said Dan Hils.

Hils said deadly force would have been authorized in this scenario, but the scrutiny from the public is affecting how officers do their job.

“I do wonder are policeman hesitating because of the way people are reacting when deadly force is used?” said Hils.

Harris will have to undergo reconstructive surgery for his face, a price that, Hils says, no officer should have to pay. Still, even he admits the brave, calm and ingenious work of these officers may be the reason everyone walked away alive.

“It was creative. It was patient. It was wonderful. It was a wonderful piece of police work,” said Hils.

Charlando Peoples, the 34-year-old suspect in that video, also punched another officer during this debacle. Peoples is still in custody. He's being held on $365,000 bail and will be back in court on July 18.

Harris is a 16-year veteran assigned to the Central Business District.

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