Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware is expected to announce his finding in a case involving one of his officers and a firefighter at an apparent fight scene over the weekend.
A video went viral causing some news outlets to report the story though the internal investigation was not complete.
The video appears to show a Portsmouth police officer with his hand around the throat area of a firefighter, prompting some news outlets to cover the event with limited information.
The Daily Times talked with Ware on Monday and chose to wait for the investigation to be completed before reporting the story. The Daily Times learned that much of the investigation was conducted by Operations Captain Lynn Brewer, and it was presented to Ware on Tuesday for him to continue with the investigation.
“The video that went viral, there are claims that the officer either choked the EMT or had his hand around his throat,” Ware said. “We have been conducting an internal review as we do with all ‘use of force’ incidents. We have seen the video that was on line and we have seen additional video footage. We expect to be done with the review later today (Wednesday).”
Ware said his investigation is nearly complete.
“I’m waiting on one more statement from the firefighter, and then I’m done,” Ware told the Daily Times Wednesday. “I want to spend as much time on it as necessary.”
Ware said he appreciated the Daily Times waiting for the complete review of the case before reporting the story.
“I certainly appreciate that,” Ware said. “The portrayal that is out there and what we’re finding are different and that’s usually the case. People are so quick to jump on something and form an opinion without having a clear understanding of what took place.”
Ware said because of the conclusions drawn by people with limited information, it makes his officers look bad though those conclusions are, according to Ware, not accurate.
“I have to be objective and I have to gather all the information to come to a solid conclusion based on facts,” Ware said. “I have an obligation both to the public and the employee to find out the truth. Then the truth leads me to whether or not I defend an employee or I take some other action with the employee.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
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