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Toledo news, weather, traffic and sports | Toledo, Ohio, | wtol.com

2 TPD officers at heart of protest investigations have history of disciplinary actions

Melvin Russell and Jeffrey Breeze have been investigated a total of 18 times and have amassed 43 days' worth of suspensions.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Two Toledo police officers being investigated for possible misconduct during the May 30 protests have been disciplined multiple times during their time with the department, 11 Investigates has learned.

Officer Melvin Russell is seen on videos sent to 11 Investigates swinging his helmet at a protester. In his disciplinary file, it says he is being investigated for unnecessary use of physical control techniques, a major violation of department policies. He has been placed on desk duty.

However, Russell, 42, who was hired on Nov. 1, 2010, has faced departmental review 11 times. He was suspended for five days for a conduct unbecoming violation in 2018. There is also a verbal reprimand in his file for discourteous treatment of a man investigated for disorderly conduct. During the interaction, Russell intentionally dropped the man's ID on the ground while returning it and then intentionally dropped on the ground a receipt for a baseball bat the man was carrying.

On Wednesday, 11 Investigates learned that Russell was sued last year by Frank Prude, the brother of Toledo Councilman Larry Sykes. Prude alleged that Russell racially profiled him, cutting him off while driving a black truck then following him to his home, where two other officers joined him. Prude says he was terrorized during the incident and was given a ticket. His traffic citation was dismissed by the prosecutor. Prude's lawsuit was dismissed, in part, because it was filed past the two-year statute of limitations.

Prude sent in a detailed complaint to the department, but an investigation was not initiated because Prude never came into the station to sign his complaint. On Wednesday, he said he did not want to be interviewed, that he was still angry, but that he wanted to get on with his life.

FULL COMPLAINT

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Breeze, 39, who was hired in 2015, has been suspended on two occasions for a total of 38 days. He has been investigated for seven violations. A 28-day suspension resulted from abuse of authority, neglect of duty, demeanor violations. He was suspended 10 days for a detainee safety violation.

His file shows that there is an open investigation for unnessecary use of physical control techniques. No details of the incident have been made available. He is also currently on desk duty.