Organization says video shows improper police conduct

Richard Jones said the Kent City Police acted unprofessionally in the May 17 booking of Sly E. Parham, 24, of Kent.

Jones, president of the Cleveland chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, made public a police surveillance tape from that day, which he received from Parham’s mother at the beginning of the week. He said the tape doesn’t necessarily display brutality, but severe unprofessionalism.

According to police incident reports, Parham, who was arrested for menacing by stalking, was ordered several times to remove his property from his pockets. After insisting the officer empty his pockets for him, officers ordered Parham to place his hands on the wall. He initially complied, and then pulled away. Officer Tim Cole observed he was still resisting, so he used a Taser on Parham’s upper back. Parham dropped to the floor, and officers held him there until he became compliant.

At that point, in the video, an officer yells at Parham, asking him, “Do you understand who runs this place? It’s not you, is it?” Parham says, “You.” “You, sir,” the officer responds.

“I know what hazing is, and that was, in fact, hazing,” Jones said. “They didn’t have to take it any further than where it was, and they need to respond to that.”

Jones said phone calls to the city manager and safety director made Monday were not returned. He’s waiting for a call back from the two officials to confirm an open investigation into the incident before filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.

City Manager Dave Ruller was unavailable for comment. Kent Safety Director William Lillich said he didn’t receive any phone calls from Jones, but a federal agency has investigated the incident.

He said the department has no reservations about participating in another review.

“We feel that there was nothing unlawful done,” he said. “I know the chief felt that there was some behaviors demonstrated during that incident that were less than satisfactory, and he has taken some action in that regard.”

Parham and his mother were unavailable for comment as of 2 p.m. today.

To watch the surveillance video, visit

Contact public affairs reporters Leslie Arntz at [email protected], Lisa Moore [email protected] and Morgan Day at [email protected].