Sep. 16—LIMA — Allen County Sheriff's Deputy Izak Ackerman will return to duty Monday after an internal review determined he did not violate departmental policies in the fatal shooting of Quincy J. Pritchett.
The mandatory internal review, which considered departmental firearms training, drug-free workplace, use-of-force and post-shooting incident policies, was conducted after a special grand jury determined Ackerman was justified in using lethal force against Pritchett.
Ackerman has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting occurred on June 21, awaiting results from the grand jury and internal review. But he has fully recovered from his injuries and is ready to return to duty, according to Sheriff Matthew Treglia.
"I do feel sorry for the family," Treglia said during a press conference on Friday.
"However, the facts remain that Mr. Pritchett made every one of these decisions that night that put him in the place that he is at. Deputy Ackerman, in my opinion and in this office's opinion, should be considered a hero in this community; fighting for his life and being able to survive."
An independent investigation conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation concluded that Pritchett likely fired at least one shot that struck Ackerman in the face.
The findings were provided to special Prosecutor Maurice Murray, who presented the case to a grand jury last Friday.
"I don't know how you can get any more independent, any more transparent than we are with this investigation," Treglia said, noting that he never discussed the case with BCI agents while their investigation was underway.
Similarly, Treglia said he could not discuss the case publicly until the investigation was complete.
Pritchett family questions traffic stop
Still, members of the Pritchett family questioned the legality of the traffic stop that led to Pritchett's death.
"Being a Black male is not a reason to pull Quincy over," family members said in a statement provided to The Lima News Friday. "They admit there's no traffic violation, then there is no other reason besides him being a Black male and that is why he's not here today. Why is this not a violation of human rights?
"We will be seeking legal representation. We want justice and we want reform."
Ackerman told BCI agents in July that he initiated the traffic stop after he noticed a vehicle ahead making a lot of left turns.
He had been patrolling a high-crime area early in the morning of June 21 and suspected the driver, later identified as Pritchett, was trying to evade him after Pritchett made a fourth left turn, according to a summary of his interview with BCI.
"He didn't break a traffic law until we turned on our lights and sirens, and then he broke every traffic law," Treglia told reporters Friday, noting that Ackerman had "reasonable suspicion" to initiate the stop.
The NAACP has pushed the sheriff's office to equip its deputies with body-worn cameras in the aftermath of Pritchett's death as well. But Treglia told reporters Friday that his opinion has not changed, citing privacy concerns for people captured on video.
"We've expressed our concerns multiple times that if the legislation can be changed and people could be secure in their homes, in their residences from being viewed on body cameras and not being used against them on YouTube," Treglia said, "I would be more than willing—and we've talked about it several times—to put the body cameras on."