Officer Conduct In Osagie Shooting Deemed ‘Consistent With Department Policies’
State College Police Chief John Gardner announced that an internal review of the March 2019 shooting death of Osaze Osagie found that the actions of State College Police Officers involved in Osagie’s death were “consistent with department policies and procedures and were consistent with trainings and established practices.”
Gardner said that the review assessed policies on use of force, medical aid after use of force, bias-based policing, tactical and training considerations, supervision, post-shooting investigative process, and post-shooting personnel services.
Assistant Chief of Police Matthew Wilson was assigned to conduct the review, and the review’s findings were presented to a conduct procedures and review board composed of a lieutenant, a sergeant, and two police officers, according to Gardner.
“Upon reading the internal review, I concur with the board’s findings,” Gardner said, speaking at the State College Borough Council’s Monday meeting.
Osagie died after police officers serving a “302” mental health warrant shot him at his home on Old Boalsburg Road.
“The involved officers were following procedures for serving 302 mental health warrants in regard to both department policy and state law,” he said, citing the reasoning behind his support for the review’s findings. “Osaze Osagie charged officers with a deadly weapon in an attempted assault. This prompted the use of deadly force due to the immediate threat of bodily injury or death to the officers.”
Gardner also said that the use of a taser was “ineffective in stopping the assault.”
Borough Manager Tom Fountaine added that the officer involved in Osagie’s death was “now cleared for duty” but “remained on administrative leave pending medical clearance to return to active duty.”
The result of the internal review comes several months after District Attorney Bernie Cantorna released a report that ruled that State College police officers’ use of force that resulted in Osagie’s death was justified.
Community members have led several protests calling for increased accountability in the review of Osagie’s death, including lie-ins at a May Borough Council meeting and on the sidewalk in front of the municipal building during Arts Fest.
Gardner’s announcement came after Council unanimously approved $200,000 in supplemental funding for a series of initiatives related to mental health and racial equity issues as well as an external review of police department procedure.
Gardner and Fountaine said that they would be available to meet with community members regarding the report in Council Chambers tomorrow, August 20, at 3:00 p.m. The State College Police Department’s entire report on the results of the internal review of the incident can be accessed here.
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