August 5, 2015 3:15PM

Police Misconduct — The Worst Case in July

Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web site, we have selected the worst case for the month of July. It was the case involving Officer Eric Paull.

Paull worked as a sergeant for the Akron Police Department. He also taught a course on criminal justice at the University of Akron. One of his students was a single mom. According to news reports, the woman (name withheld) says they started a romantic relationship. But after a year or so, that relationship turned ugly and violent. After he beat her up on a Thanksgiving holiday, Paull told her that he was legally “untouchable.”

She believed him–so she did not file a complaint right after the beating. Instead, she just tried to avoid him. But Paull stalked her and her boyfriends, using police databases to discover addresses, phone numbers, and vehicle information. Paull would also text pictures of himself holding his gun and leave bullets on their automobiles. There were threats to kill the woman and her boyfriend. The woman did lodge complaints with the police and would later obtain a protective order, but the police department seemed indifferent. Paull would not stop.

Finally, after months of harassment, Paull was charged with stalking, aggravated menacing, felonious assault, and burglary, among other charges. His trial is expected to begin in a few weeks.

Paul Hlynsky, the police union leader, says he will try to have Paull back on the police force if he can avoid a felony conviction.