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Ashland Police wrongfully arrest African-American man

KTVL

The Ashland Police Department has released a statement acknowledging they mistakenly arrested and jailed a man on Monday this week.

A 20-year-old African American man of the Ashland community was arrested after officers responded to a call about physical harassment at a store on Siskiyou Blvd. "The complainant described the suspect as an African American male wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt," reads the statement from APD Chief Tighe O’Meara. "A few minutes later, police officers stopped a person matching that general description a short distance away from the incident, arrested him, and took him to Jackson County Jail."

The reported incident - and subsequent arrest - happened around 8 p.m. Monday. The man was not released from custody until 8 a.m. the next morning.

A follow-up investigation into the incident conducted on Tuesday proved that the man arrested was not involved. Later on that same Tuesday, O’Meara spoke with the man and his father at their home, and acknowledged and apologized for the department’s wrongful arrest.

The APD is conducting a secondary investigation into "the causes of this misidentification and deficient follow through. At this time, it appears that the officers involved did not take crucial investigatory steps, subsequent to detaining the man, to verify that he was, in fact, the person wanted for the harassment."

While O'Meara's statement says there is no evidence of intentional neglect in the officers' arrest, the department and the City of Ashland "recognize this as a police department failure."

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