An ex-Warren cop is sentenced to several months in prison for falsely reporting he was the target of gunfire by a black male suspect in January of 2020.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan ordered Noah Linnen to serve nine months in prison and pay $10,000 in restitution during his sentencing Tuesday.

"There could have been people really severely hurt," Judge Andrew Logan said. "Both law enforcement were running all over the county, because one of their own was under attack and people in the African American community that were being targeted."

Linnen said he was dealing with stress at the time and made a series of bad decisions.

"I am deeply ashamed of my action on that day," Linnen said, during his apology in court.

Linnen's phony story of an officer involved shooting with the description of a black male suspect launched a massive search by area law enforcement agencies.

Howland Police Detective Jeff Edmundson says Linnen's actions cast local law enforcement in a negative light.

"He tarnished the badge for a lot of officers in Trumbull County and at a time when we're trying to bridge that gap nationwide, he just drove a wedge between it," Edmundson said.

Edmundson says Linnen's phony story also put lives in danger.

"When he said it's a black male in an SUV, there were multiple, multiple traffic stops, people met at gunpoint," he said.

A local pastor believes Linnen's prison time is not enough.

"We had a chance to send a strong message to those in law enforcement and to the public that misuse and abuse of power will not be tolerated, and he honestly, in my view, got a slap on the wrist," Rev. Todd Johnson said, of Second Baptist Church.

Johnson says he was in the area with his two young black sons while the search was underway. He believes the impact of that night merits a stiffer punishment.

"I feel the nine month sentence for the former Warren office is a disgrace," Johnson said. "Given the severity of the panic and pain that he caused the black community for going and violating his sworn oath to serve and to protect."

Linnen was convicted of three felony charges including inducing panic, tampering with evidence and disrupting public services.

The Trumbull County Prosecutor's office says Linnen could have faced up to 6 years in prison in connection to those charges.