Court’s actions threaten community safety

I don’t mean to beat the same drum over and over, however, it seems that the same things keep happening in the Darke County Common Pleas Court which are making our community and other communities unsafe.

Here’s the backstory: On Aug. 4, 2021, one of our officers at the Union City Police Department was dispatched to a local convenience store in reference to a male who kept coming into the store and stealing items. The male would walk in, grab items, and scream to the clerk that he wasn’t paying for anything and to “call the police if you don’t like it.” Upon arrival, the officer came into contact with Abdoulaye Kane. The officer gave several commands to Kane with which he failed to comply. Finally, unprovoked, Kane punched the officer in the forehead. The officer then deployed his taser and was able to take Kane into custody.

Now don’t get me wrong, law enforcement officers do train to deal with agitated people and at times during the course of their duties, an officer is assaulted.

After arresting Kane, it was found that he had an active warrant in Sidney, Ohio, for theft. Kane was transported to the Darke/Shelby County line, where he was turned over to the custody of the Sidney Police Department. Sidney officers then took Kane to the Shelby County Jail where he was placed into custody until released on Oct. 4, 2021. That same day, Darke County deputies picked Kane up and brought him to the Darke County Jail, where he was arraigned in the Darke County Common Pleas Court on Oct. 5, 2021, for the charge of Assault on a Peace Officer, a felony of the fourth degree. Initially, Kane was given a bond of $10,000. Just three days later, on Oct. 8, 2021, Kane was brought in front of the court where he was given an own recognizance (OR) bond (he didn’t have to post bond, was just released by the judge). He was instructed to report the next day to the Darke County Common Pleas Court Probation Department.

I know this may be hard to believe, but Mr. Kane failed to show or call, which prompted a request for a warrant to be issued on Oct. 19, 2021. Judge Hein finally signed the warrant request on Oct. 22, 2021. You read that correctly — Kane was non-compliant and failed to show or call the probation department for two whole weeks before any actions were taken to bring Kane back before the court.

Fast forward to Oct. 25, 2021. One of my officers and I received a copy of the warrant that was issued on Kane. The warrant had an address for Kane in Piqua, Ohio, an address Kane provided to the court as his residence. We were able to contact the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, which sent deputies with us to the address. We came in contact with the family of Kane. His family was very nice and after speaking with them it was determined that Kane did not live with them and he hadn’t been to their house since before his arrest in August. Union City Police officers then went to the Sidney Police (who are very familiar with Mr. Kane, due to his past involvements with law enforcement, including resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer) and asked for their assistance in locating Kane. Several addresses were checked including an address to a business which Kane gave to the court, where he said he was “employed.” This may be hard to believe, but Kane was not at the address and was not employed there either. During the course of investigating Kane’s whereabouts, information was gathered on where he was employed. Later in the evening of Oct. 25, Kane was taken into custody by Sidney Police officers and taken back to the Darke/Shelby County line, where a Darke County deputy took him back to the Darke County Jail, where he belongs.

So you ask yourself, “Why is Chief Ater Upset?” The reason I am upset is that one of the police officers from our agency was assaulted by Mr. Kane, he ended up in the Darke County Sheriff’s Jail, where three days later he was released without having to post any sort of bond. The judge on several occasions has placed into a judgment entry, that several factors go into deciding whether or not someone should be released from jail — they include, Recovery & Wellness treatment, housing, and employment. The judgment entry pertaining to Kane, which was signed by Judge Hein, found that Kane’s mental health, housing and employment was appropriate enough and he would be unlikely to fail to appear to his court dates and probation appointments. I don’t know the exact details on how Kane was found to be an appropriate candidate to be released without having to post some sort of bond.

Unfortunately, multiple law enforcement agencies had to waste manpower/man-hours to locate Kane after he failed to comply with orders from the court. If the court would have done its due diligence, I believe they would have concluded he needed to remain in jail, not only for the sake of having to track him down, but for the community’s safety. It is time to take a stand, it is time to protect our communities from the nonsense that is happening in Judge Hein’s courtroom.

Mark S. Ater Jr.

Chief of Police

Union City Ohio Police Department

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