As so many cops have done in the past, Yellow Springs Police Sergeant Naomi Penrod snatched a camera from a woman’s hands who was recording her in public, figuring she would get away with it.
But now the Ohio cop is facing three misdemeanor charges.
All for a two-second video where she tried to prevent a woman in a wheelchair from recording her.
But those two seconds revealed a woman who was not afraid of abusing her authority.
In fact, thanks to the department’s new police chief, David Hale, we now know this was hardly an isolated incident.
It just so happens that the prior chief, John Grote, never required that complaints against her be placed in her personnel file, which as a result, were filled with glowing commendations.
But when Hale took over in December after serving four months as interim chief, he revealed to the media that there had been complaints against her in the past that never made it into her personnel file.
Penrod was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with civil rights, an ironic set of charges considering interference is a very common charge used by cops against citizens who record them.
The criminal charges filed came two months after the Yellow Springs Village Police Department requested, in a letter dated Nov. 24, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office conduct a criminal investigation into the incident with Penrod and Fannin.
The law enforcement department made the request after Fannin reported Penrod twisted her wrists and took the camera from her hands outside Fannin’s Allen Street home on Nov. 5. Fanning was taping police activity at the time of the incident.
Yellow Springs Police Chief David Hale immediately conducted a two-week investigation after Fannin reported the incident. He determined that Penrod committed three violations: taking the camera “in a situation clearly not called for,” being discourteous to the public and escalating a situation.
At that time, Hale said Penrod was not placed on administrative leave because there was nothing derogatory in her personnel file. However, the village manager later acknowledge other complaints had been made against Penrod but were not included in her personnel record.
“The fact that the previous incidents noted herein are not in your file is problematic of a system that will change during my tenure,” Bates wrote in a three-page letter disciplining Penrod dated Dec. 16.
In the same letter, Bates also wrote she would have imposed “more stringent sanctions” if it were within her authority to do so.
“… Your inability to control your actions seems to be a recurring and unacceptable pattern.”
The incident took place in November but the charges were filed Monday.
Her arraignment is Wednesday morning and we can imagine she will plead not guilty, counting on the court to take its usual kid gloves approach to cops facing criminal charges.
Having served her two day unpaid suspension, Penrod was placed on paid administrative leave until the criminal case sorts itself out.