Marshall man accuses off-duty CPD officer of using excessive force

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MARSHALL - A Columbia Police Department spokeswoman said Tuesday the department is not investigating allegations that an off-duty CPD officer used excessive force on an elderly man.

On Sunday, James Miller, 70, drove his truck into a house in Saline County, according to Marshall Police Department documents.

Miller told police he was going to Walmart and missed a turn. He told the responding officer he was going to turn around and turned onto a driveway, but he was not aware it was a driveway. Miller told police he then yawned and started to feel as if he was passing out. Miller told the officer he thought he saw a white vehicle in front of him backing up. He then ran into the house. 

That house belonged to Steven Hartwig, who called 911. CPD's Sergeant Scott Hedrick was at Hartwig's home at the time and decided to act, according to Marshall police documents.    

"I observed a white male subject laying on the ground with another white male subject on top of him, holding his hands behind his back," the responding Marshall officer stated in police documents. 

The man on top of Miller ended up being Hedrick, who is a Columbia police officer. He was off-duty at the time. 

Miller said Hedrick threw him out of his truck onto the ground, put his knee on Miller's neck and held his arm behind his back. Miller said Hedrick threatened to break his arm. 

"That man could have killed my dad," Miller's daughter, Robin Miller said.

Miller showed KOMU 8 News documents stating he has carotid artery disease. He said the hospital told him he was having a mini stroke the time of the accident. 

"I told him [Hedrick] I'm having medical problems, and he said he didn't care," Miller said. "They've got a job to do. They go through a lot, and they don't get paid enough for what they do. But this guy stepped over the line."

Marshall police gave Miller a sobriety test and verified he was sober.

Miller said the off-duty officer assumed he was drunk and treated him like a criminal. 

CPD Spokeswoman Bryana Larimer sent KOMU 8 News an email that said: "As with most police departments, all of our officers go through basic first responder training. Officers also receive some specific training on conditions such as excited delirium, mental health, and basic impairment (DWI, etc.). Per Columbia Police Department policy Scott notified his supervisor that he had contact with law enforcement after a vehicle collided into a family member's home at a family gathering over the weekend. In reference to how often we respond to medical problems, that is difficult to assess. However, officers make decisions [often very rapidly] based on the circumstances at hand."

No charges have been filed against the off-duty Columbia officer.