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Morning Headlines: Censure Vote on Akron Councilman Fails; Feds Sue Columbus Police

Akron City Flag
Tim Rudell

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, September 19th:

  • Coroner finds Kent State football player died of heat stroke;
  • Akron man accidentally shoots daughter;
  • Ballot proposal regulating dog breeders moves ahead;
  • Ohio House will hear resolution to award Medal of Honor to John and Annie Glenn;
  • Feds sue Columbus police, citing excessive force against black residents;
  • Civil rights groups continue challenge to voter purges;
  • State judges cite public safety concerns in program to reduce prison overcrowding;
  • Vote to censure Akron councilman ends in tie;
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District gets $1m grant for recruitment and development;
  • Akron landlord and estates of four tenants who died in house fire reach settlement;

Coroner finds Kent State football player died of heat stroke
A coroner has ruled exertional heat stroke caused the death of a Kent State University football player after an offseason morning workout. The Portage County coroner's office released the findings of an autopsy of Tyler Heintz on Monday. Heintz died June 13 after being hospitalized following conditioning drills at Dix Stadium. Kent State fired a strength and conditioning coach who was at the workout. It says he gave false information about his certification. The coach says he was upfront about his credentials and was working toward certification. Heintz was an incoming freshman. He was recruited from Kenton High School as an offensive lineman.

Akron man accidentally shoots daughter
Police say an Akron man has been arrested after he shot his 2-year-old daughter in the head while trying to unload his handgun. Akron police say that the 27-year-old is being held in the Summit County jail on a charge of felony child endangering. His daughter remains hospitalized in critical condition after being shot on Saturday at their Akron home. Investigators say the man mistakenly fired the gun, believing it was empty, and a bullet traveled through a staircase into a bathroom, where it hit the girl.

Ballot proposal regulating dog breeders moves ahead
Animal rights advocates wanting some dog breeders in Ohio to meet additional animal care standards have won approval to move forward in their efforts. State Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified the advocates' petition summary for a ballot proposal requiring dog breeders with eight or more unspayed females and annual sales of more than 15 dogs to meet certain standards. He also certified the petition to amend Ohio's Constitution as including the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered voters. The next step is for the state ballot board to determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. Petitioners must collect the required number of signatures for each issue.

Ohio House will hear resolution to award Medal of Honor to John and Annie Glenn
Some state lawmakers in their native Ohio want to see John and Annie Glenn awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A resolution getting its first airing in the Ohio House today urges Congress to honor the late astronaut and his widow with the special recognition. It makes the case that the pair deserve the medal because they inspired a generation of Americans through their trials and accomplishments, gave back to the country through public service and "made our nation a better place." John Glenn died Dec. 8 at 95.

Feds sue Columbus police, citing excessive force against black residents
A federal lawsuit alleges Columbus police used excessive force when they arrested a man earlier this month in an incident in which cellphone video showed officers kicking and punching the man. The lawsuit filed Sunday in federal court in Columbus also accuses the police department of continuing a pattern of excessive force against civilians and in particular black residents. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Timothy Davis says the department also fails to properly supervise, monitor and discipline officers who use excessive force. At issue was the Sept. 1 arrest of Davis inside a Columbus convenience store where officers tried to arrest him on a warrant alleging he assaulted an officer last year. The Columbus police department declined comment Monday morning.

Civil rights groups continue challenge to voter purges
Groups challenging Ohio's system for removing inactive voters from rolls are disagreeing with the state elections chief's arguments and the Trump administration's contention that the purges are legal. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York-based public advocacy group Demos said in their latest U.S. Supreme Court filing that targeting registered voters who fail to vote in a two-year period for eventual removal from the registration rolls, even if they haven't moved and remain eligible, is a tool for voter suppression. The court agreed in May to accept Ohio's appeal over whether its procedures violate the National Voter Registration Act. The Justice Department under Democratic President Barack Obama sided with the plaintiffs. The Trump administration reversed the government's position last month and said the system is within the law.

State judges cite public safety concerns in program to reduce prison overcrowding
State judges continue to criticize a program allowing low-level felony offenders to remain in their communities under supervision without going to prison. At issue are efforts to ensure public safety while reducing the number of people sent to prison. Counties have said the state isn't providing enough money to communities required to carry out the program. Cuyahoga County last week joined Stark County in deciding not to implement the program until next summer. Judge Kristin Farmer of Stark County Common Pleas Court likened the money offered by the state as a bribe to judges. Franklin County judges meet Tuesday to decide whether to participate before a mandatory 2018 mandate kicks in for the state's 10 biggest counties. To date, 48 Ohio counties have agreed to participate.

Vote to censure Akron councilman ends in tie
A vote in Akron City Council to censure a councilman for racist behavior has ended in a tie. Councilman Bob Hoch, who is white, told two black female councilmembers to shut up and sit down at a meeting last week. The Beacon Journal reports the proposed disciplinary action is a culmination of past incidents in which Hoch prevented black councilmembers from speaking. Hoch is known for having a strained relationship with former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, and pled guilty to conflict of interest charges earlier this year. The censure vote fell in a six to six vote, with Councilman Hoch abstaining.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District gets $1m grant for recruitment and development
Cleveland schools are getting a financial boost to recruit and keep good teachers. A $1 million dollar grant from the Mid-American Conference will fund programs for veteran teachers to mentor new ones. A Cleveland Metro Schools official tells News Channel 5 that new teachers need to see examples of high quality teaching. The grant will be distributed over a five year period.

Akron landlord and estates of four tenants who died in house fire reach settlement
A settlement has been reached between an Akron landlord and the estates of four tenants who died in a house fire last winter. The lawsuit filed against the house’s owner said the four tenants died because there were no smoke detectors installed in the house. The landlord will pay $72,000 each to the estates of Omar Riley, Shirley Wallis, and their two daughters. There is also a pending suit against General Electric, alleging the gas kitchen stove that started the blaze was defective. The Akron Fire Department says the stove was left unattended.