Downtown Athens

The downtown historic district of Athens, Ohio, where police held down and arrested Ty Bealer, a UC student, Sept. 29.

Numerous Twitter users as well as UC student leaders are criticizing Athens, Ohio, police for holding an African American UC student down to the ground in a video that went viral Sunday evening.

Ty Patrick Bealer, a 21-year-old chemical engineering student, was arrested Sept. 29 by the City of Athens Police Department (APD) outside a bar in Athens, Ohio, according to a police report.

According to Athens Municipal Court records, Bealer pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and obstructing official business, both misdemeanors. He has since been released on an $800 bond.

At 12:53 a.m., APD received a 911 call of an unruly and belligerent patron at The J Bar fighting with staff and trying to force his way into the bar, according to a news release provided by the department’s chief of police, Tom Pyle.

Bealer and The J Bar’s staff could not be reached at the time of writing.

Responding officers received a height, weight, age, race and clothing description of the person and were advised this person may have assaulted other patrons in the bar, according to Pyle. 

According to The Post’s report, the video only lasted about 30 seconds, but Brooks said the entire altercation lasted about five to seven minutes while a crowd amassed on the sidewalk.

After Bealer was taken into custody, he was treated by EMS personnel for a small abrasion to his right and a TASER barb puncture before he was transported to Regional Jail pending arraignment, according to Pyle. 

In a news conference held Sept. 30, Pyle identified the three officers involved as Ethan Doerr, Andrew Jacob Spear and Dustin Wesselhoeft. 

Doerr and Spear have a pending case regarding excessive force violations, resulting from an April 2018 arrest of another OU student, Jacob Francis, according to court documents. Several other APD officers were also named in the lawsuit.

Pyle denied any relation between Francis’ lawsuit and Bealer’s arrest during the news conference, despite Spear and Doerr’s involvement in both altercations.

After public outcry regarding the incident on Twitter, Pyle refuted the use of excessive force during Bealer’s arrest.

“I have reviewed this incident including the available AVI footage to-date and I find our officers’ actions reasonable, restrained and within policy guidelines,” Pyle said. “The notion that the use of three officers to arrest this person was excessive lacks proper context. The notion that this arrest was based solely on race is without merit as evidenced by the complaint and positive identification by bar staff.”

During the news conference, Pyle said the office is conducting an internal investigation into the use of force. Investigations are a routine protocol in the department after officers use force during an arrest, according to Pyle. 

Tweets surrounding the incident also claim APD arrested the wrong person — a claim that Pyle also denies.

“The video that I have seen posted on social media of the end of this incident does not depict the prior actions of the officers or the subject,” Pyle said. “Social media rumors that the wrong person was arrested are wholly inaccurate.” 

Chandler Rankin and Abbie Smith, president and vice president of UC’s Undergraduate Student Government (SG), have spoken out regarding Bealer’s arrest through a news release posted to SG’s official Twitter account Sept. 30.

“On behalf of University of Cincinnati’s Student Government, we would like to stand in solidarity with Ohio University’s Student Senate in condemnation of this discriminatory and brutal behavior,” read the news release. “We support the University of Cincinnati student involved, and his family in this difficult time. We will be working diligently with our Student Affair administrators and other Ohio University student leaders to see that this issue is addressed with the attention it deserves.”