TPD finds officers violated department policy during arrest

The Toledo Police officer accused of punching Olympic boxer Oshae Jones is under internal investigation again along with another officer.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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Editor’s note: the attached video aired April 28, 2023.

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Two officers who were under Toledo Police internal investigation for their conduct during a traffic stop earlier this year have been disciplined by the department.

Officers Ashlyn Pluff and Adam Hobbs both received suspension days for their conduct, according to Toledo Police documentation. The TPD investigation determined that Pluff violated the department’s policy on demeanor and Hobbs violated policy on demeanor and unnecessary use of physical techniques.

“I want to ensure our community that as Chief, I take these types of incidents seriously, and will continue to hold our officers accountable,” said Toledo Police Chief Mike Troendle in a statement. “I can also assure you that the actions of these officers do not represent the values and principles of our department as a whole, or the dedicated men and women who serve with honor and distinction every day.”

A hearing on May 9 determined Pluff would receive one workday suspension and Hobbs would receive a 20 workday suspension with 10 of those days without pay, in addition to a verbal reprimand.

The investigation isn’t the first time Pluff’s conduct was the subject of internal review. She was accused of punching Olympic boxer Oshae Jones during her arrest last year.

In January, the officers pulled over two women for driving by an accident scene and almost hit a tow truck. Dash camera and body camera footage obtained by 13abc shows the officers’ interactions with the women. You can watch the full-length footage in the videos at the end of the story here.

The officers are seen wrestling with the women, including a moment in which Pluff pulls a woman to the ground and punches her five times while she’s still in handcuffs. The officers said in police documentation they were using joint manipulation to get the women under control. Pluff claimed one of the women pulled away, pushing and kicking Pluff and throwing her had back to strike her. Hobbs said the passenger of the vehicle bit him.

The women were indicted on multiple misdemeanor charges but not for assault on an officer.

Chief Mike Troendle said the incident came to light “in the truest form of transparency,” because of internal audits and not from a citizen complaint.

“When I became Chief of Police, I assured the men and women of the Toledo Police Department that as long as they did their job the right way, I would support them fully,” Troendle said in the statement. “However, I also made it clear that those officers who fail to meet the high expectations set by both our department, and the residents of this city, would be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, the actions of two officers who conducted a traffic stop on January 1, 2023 failed to meet those high expectations.”

Local law enforcement expert Dr. Whitefield reviewed the footage from the traffic stop.

“I can tell you, as a person of color, you get tiresome of incidents such as this here take place. As law enforcement, it makes us all look bad,” Dr, Whitefield told 13abc earlier this month. “Based on what I seen from the video provided to me, it was kind of concerning the approach. It was as if the tone was already set.”

The Toledo NAACP branch said Monday the organization is “extremely concerned” by the outcome of the investigation, saying its representatives asked for the officers to be fired.

“In our review of the (viral) video, we witnessed two officers out of control,” the NAACP said in a statement. “They escalated the incident at the onset, then claimed resisting on the part of the citizens. No more will we tolerate inappropriate initial actions on the part of police officers, leading to claims of resisting and other charges against citizens. This incident could have been avoided had the officers followed the proper training for stopping a vehicle and taking a person into custody.”

The organization went on to say it intends on establishing its own task force to examine TPD practices.

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