Howland police allow deadly force in defense of life - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Howland police allow deadly force in defense of life

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HOWLAND, Ohio -

The investigation into the murder of a Weathersfield man and the death of his alleged killer by the hands of 2 Howland police officers now shifts to the action of those officers.  

 Every police department in Ohio has what's called a "Use of Force Policy" that will play a key role in the investigation into whether the officer-involved shooting was justified.  

We don't know the exact details of what led to two officers shooting 34 year-old Richard Latimer in the Howland Giant Eagle parking lot.  That police report was not made available to the media and that incident is now being investigated by BCI.  

21 News was told by Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe that the officers feared for their lives before firing at the suspect who was carrying a 9 millimeter handgun.

According to Howland Township's Use of Force Policy, which is 17 pages long, the use of deadly force in defense of a human life is clear.

"Deadly force may be used by employees when they reasonably believe that the action is in defense of human life, including the employee's own life, or in the defense of any other person in imminent danger or serious physical harm."

The policy also tells officers to use verbal warning when possible first and then "shoot to stop, not to kill." 
Officers should "For maximum stopping effectiveness and minimal danger to innocent bystanders, shoot at the "center body mass." 

21 News asked to interview police chief Nick Roberts about the policy but was told he was on leave because of the shooting.

21 News then called the township administrator to ask if Roberts was involved in the shooting but she did not return the call.

The Weathersfield police chief told 21 News "no comment" when we asked him about it.

The acting Police Chief in Howland now is Jennifer Carr, according to the police secretary.

The BCI investigation could take several months to complete.

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