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Butler County prosecutor says Oxford officer did not use excessive force

Officers responded to a disturbance call for an assault of a staff member at Brick Street Bar on Nov. 18.
Officers responded to a disturbance call for an assault of a staff member at Brick Street Bar on Nov. 18.

An external investigation by the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office found that Oxford Police Department (OPD) officer Matthew Blauvelt did not use excessive force in an incident outside Brick Street Bar involving Miami University student Devin Johnson.

In a video recorded by security cameras outside Brick Street Bar on Nov. 18, Blauvelt is seen restraining Johnson on the ground, punching him three times in the face and kneeing him twice in the side. In his official statement, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gmoser found no evidence of excessive use of force against Johnson.

“In this case, the officer correctly and appropriately chose not to use his Asp, chemical spray or service pistol,” Gmoser wrote. “He did, however, seek control by physically striking the struggling patron three times with his closed fist to gain compliance by consequential pain to stop resistance … I am therefore of the opinion that the arrest of Devin Ryan Johnson was lawful and absent [of] excess force.”

Butler County Prosecutor's Office |
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser released his opinion on Thursday that the arrest of a Miami student was absent of excessive force.

Following the completion of the external investigation, OPD will move forward with an internal investigation to determine if any department policies were violated during Johnson’s arrest. According to a statement from OPD, Chief of Police John Jones will delegate the internal investigation to be led by an outside agency because of his position within the department and proximity to the incident. 

“I want it to be a clean, external view [that is] unbiased [and] independent,” Jones said. “If human error occurred, I want to know. We basically want to improve moving forward.”

OPD is in contact with an external organization to conduct this investigation, but no official name can be released at this time. 

“The Oxford Division of Police remains committed to transparency, accountability and to improving our policies, procedures and performance moving forward,” the statement said. “While social media moves at lightning speed, investigations take time. We will keep the public updated as we are able to.”

Oxford Police Department |
The Oxford Police Department will conduct an internal investigation on department policies following the conclusion of the investigation by the Butler County Prosecutor.

No further timeline for the investigation was provided by OPD.

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“This internal policy investigation is still ongoing and will take some time,” Jones said. “I know that people want answers now, but we need to make sure that we do this right and that everybody's due process rights are upheld. If this investigation reveals policy violations occurred, we will hold those officers accountable and take corrective actions to make sure that this does not happen again.”