YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Yellow Springs Village Council voted to release from employment the police officer who was in charge the night of the controversial New Year’s Eve ball drop.
According to the resolution, council voted 4-0, with councilmember Marianne MacQueen abstaining, to end the employment of Officer Randall Hawley Junior (Officer RJ Hawley). The Village and Hawley agreed this was in both parties’ best interest.
The termination is effective May 4. Hawley will receive health insurance benefits through May 31.
The Yellow Springs Police Department has been under scrutiny over how officers handled the crowd at the village’s annual “Ball Drop” event held on December 31, 2016. According to a report that reviewed that incident, Officer Hawley was the senior patrol officer for the event. He took responsibility for deciding to try to disperse the crowd as early as 12:08 a.m.
According to the report, police officers began driving their cruisers slowly through the crowd, using their lights and sirens in an attempt to clear the roadway. The crowd became confused because police did not warn the people attending they would do this and did not communicate with people while it was happening. Many people thought there was a medical emergency or other problem happening and began to feel unsafe.
Former Chief of Police David Hale resigned his post on January 3, saying he could not justify why his officers broke up the New Year’s Eve party early.