Embattled police officer disciplined, suspended for 28 days, surrenders gun, badge

By Will Sanders

January 11, 2014

Will E Sanders

Staff Writer

PIQUA — Embattled police officer Brett Marrs acted without authority and displayed conduct unbecoming of an officer last April when he tackled a female teen vandalizing his property and caused her serious physical harm, according to the Piqua Police Department.

Those findings, based on an internal investigation and released over the weekend by the police department in a notice of discipline and last chance agreement signed by the officer, also stated that Marrs will be suspended from the department for a combined total of 28 days (at eight hours, a total of 224 total hours), effective Monday.

Marrs surrendered his department-issued weapons and badges Friday to police officials in accordance with the reprimands outlined in the findings. Furthermore, during the suspension Marrs is not allowed at the police department unless it is with the “express permission” of department officials.

The disciplinary report released by the department over the weekend by Police Chief Bruce Jamison outlined Marrs’ actions on the night of April 27 when a group of teenagers trespassed on Marrs’ property and vandalized it, including by toilet-papering his yard. The teens were later charged with misdemeanors for their conduct.

Marrs chased the teens and later threw a female teen “to the ground upon catching up to her,” and after she escaped Marrs “had a second opportunity to detain her.”

“He had no authority nor privilege for these restraints of the citizen,” the notice issued by the department stated.

The teen was later transported to the hospital with a shattered ankle that required an operation.

The notice of discipline also outlined several infractions committed by Marrs, and they include:

* Marrs “chose to ignore an officer’s direction to go to his house when he returned to the injured citizen” on the night in question, which placed “a fellow officer in a very difficult position.”

* Marrs “treated a member of the public and another member of the department discourteously and disrespectfully. The video of this conduct, which continued until physically interrupted by (another) officer, speaks for itself.”

* His actions were “contrary to good order, efficiency and morale and which reflected unfavorably upon the department and its members.”

* Marrs “intentionally disregarded the department’s well-trained policy to observe and report in most off-duty incidents rather than to take action” and that Marrs “intentionally disregarded his training on department policy to refrain from handling incidents of personal interest.”

Marrs will undergo a performance improvement plan to “guide” him in the future and Marrs will face “intensive monitoring” at “multiple command levels” once his suspension ends.

As a condition of his discipline, Marrs signed a last chance agreement with the department, which stated a number of infractions Marrs would be terminated for if he transgresses in the next two years.

The following actions will result in Marrs’ termination in the future if he violates the last chance agreement: use of obscene or derogatory language while on-duty; any act that brings discredit to the department, on-duty or off-duty; discourteous, disrespectful or discriminatory treatment of any member of the public or the city; disobedience of insubordination; wrongful or unlawful exercise of authority for malicious purpose, personal gain, willful deceit or any other improper purpose; and disparaging remarks or conduct that disrupts the efficiency of the department; in addition to several others.

The notice of discipline and last chance agreement was in response to a predisciplinary hearing that was held Dec. 7 when Marrs “humbly admitted the violations” and “indicated a willingness to repair the in-house relationships necessary to function within the department.”

The police department’s findings followed a Miami County grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer last month on criminal wrongdoing.

Marrs, who has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, is no stranger to being investigated and reprimanded by the department he has served for the last decade.

In May 2008, Marrs struck a bicyclist while on-duty — one of several on-duty collisions he was involved in since he was hired — and ultimately was dubbed a “liability” by the city and was fired. Marrs went on to sue the city and won his job back, along with two years of back pay, in May 2010.