Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Ex-Lawrence Police Officer Charged with Battery, Accused of Hitting Man during Investigation

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Ex-Lawrence Police Officer Charged with Battery, Accused of Hitting Man during Investigation

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- A Lawrence police officer beat a man in the face during a domestic disturbance investigation last month and now faces a battery charge, according to authorities.

Frank McClelland resigned Aug. 24 in the midst of an investigation into whether he used excessive force during a 911 call Aug. 16. Another Lawrence police officer reported the incident to supervisors, Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Friday.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said a misdemeanor battery charge was filed Thursday.

"I'm disappointed, very angry and embarrassed that I'm here to report that we have failed to meet the expectations of the community," Khatib said.

Branson and Khatib held separate news conferences about the investigation two hours apart Friday.

Khatib wouldn't take questions from the news media during his briefing and didn't name McClelland. Branson told reporters he was limited in how much he could say about the investigation and expressed disappointment.

"The action of one officer can tarnish the actions of many officers," Branson said.

On the evening of Aug. 16, officers were called to the 1900 block of E. 19th, where two men were fighting. The first officer on scene used pepper spray on both men and separated them.

McClelland arrived later as backup. When Keith Hill refused to sit on the sidewalk, McClelland swept Hill's legs out from him, tossing him to the ground, Branson said. He then hit Hill as many as four times in the face with a closed fist, Branson said.

McClelland arrested the 26-year-old man, but charges won't be filed against him or the other man involved in the fight.

That same day, another officer reported to his supervisor that McClelland may have violated the department's use of force policy. An internal investigation began the next day, and LKPD asked the sheriff's office to examine the situation. McClelland was placed on administrative leave.

"I commend the officer who brought this to the attention of supervision and encourage officers to continue to feel free to tell us what they've seen their fellow officer do," Khatib said. …

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