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37-year YPD officer retires after probe into force he used on inmate

Published: Sat, March 17, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

Staff report


Rodney Lewis retired from the Youngstown Police Department this month after 37 years of service, but that retirement comes on the heels of an investigation into the allegation he beat a handcuffed prisoner in the city lockup.

The police department’s Lt. Brian Butler said Lewis was escorting Alexander Henderson, a prisoner in the Mahoning County jail who was appearing in Youngstown Municipal Court for a hearing, back to the city’s holding cells after Henderson became disruptive in court.

Butler said Lewis took Henderson to the elevator just outside the city courtrooms when Henderson turned and spit in the officer’s face.

Lewis, in a statement to the internal affairs department compiled by Butler, told what happened.

“He turned and spit at me, hitting me in the left face. At that time, I just started hitting the subject and pulled him out of the elevator when it got to the fifth floor,” Lewis said.

Police Chief Rod Foley said Lewis did more than just hit Henderson, however. Lewis pulled Henderson by his ankle shackles, causing the handcuffed man to fall face first to the floor. Lewis then dragged Henderson across the floor and into a holding cell by his feet.

Foley said he understands how Lewis could be upset after having been spit on, but his response to the situation went too far.

“We just don’t operate that way,” Foley said. “We cannot tolerate that type of excessive force. The community gives us the trust to behave ourselves out there.”

Henderson is facing a felony charge for spitting on Lewis. Foley does not know if Henderson has filed a civil complaint against the city or Lewis.

Foley said Lewis, who was planning to retire later this year, was given the option of facing disciplinary action or retiring early. The chief said Lewis could have been terminated or suspended had he chosen not to retire.

“In lieu of discipline, he was allowed to retire,” Foley added. “We found him at fault, and he is out of here. Now we just have to deal with the complaint.”

Lewis will not face any additional disciplinary action or criminal charges in relation to the incident, Foley said, who conferred with the city prosecutor’s office and law department.


1Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Some animal spit in my face I would do the same. Disgusting!

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2bareback1(41 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Looks like Lewis implemented a little poetic justice against that Henderson, who by the way is a scumbag. I say good job Lewis, as Henderson did it to himself. Oh, what the hell, get your pension and drop money and start enjoying life.

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3foxyglo(372 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The inmate was going to be charged anyway, but the officer did go a little far.The cop probably was a dirty one .ha ha ha

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4kensgirl(1036 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Foxyglo - again you are one ignorant person!!! Officer Lewis was a 37 year veteran of Y.P.D. That means he served 37 years of putting up with the scum of the earth. I know Rodney. He's a real cop. While most people go to work each day in their safe offices he puts his life on the line. I once asked him why he didn't ever want to get promoted by taking the test. He said that he was born on the street and wanted to remain on the street helping the people. He never once thought he was better than anyone else. I saw him in the most courageous acts one man can perform. He didn't care if you were black or white. He was fair to all. That man was the backbone of real police work. I've also seen him hold dying people in his arms while crying. He would hold babies and little children whose mothers were high on crack waiting for social services were called. Nothing frightened him, not even a gun battle.
To anyone reading this please remember Rodney as one of the good guys. One doesn't go out there and get their ass kicked every day for 37 years and not like the job. Oh, and about the Drop money comment. I think Rodney more than earned that money. It's not coming out of YOUR pocket so kindly keep quiet. He got it the old fashioned way - HE EARNED IT!!!!! Thank you for your service Rodney. God bless you for your service and it has been a pleasure being your friend.

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5clk1941(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

You can only take so much abuse before you strike back. Officer Lewis was wrong to act out but it was certainly understandable. After 37 years of service, Officer Lewis deserves to retire and enjoy the rewards of his service. As for Mr. Henderson, he got what he deserved and it's too bad his dirt rubbed off on a good cop.

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6Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

We need more cops like this ones that wont put up with the scum bags crap any more

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7Fred(131 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

There is no valid excuse for beating a prisoner in cuffs and leg shackles.

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8endthismess(461 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Quick solution...why not make all prisoners being taken into to court to wear cuffs, shackles and spit hoods as the outfit for court room appearances? This way, not a chance for spitting.

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9joebag09(340 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Rodney Lewis is a tuff police officer. A good police officer. Unfortunately society has evolved to the point where respect for a police officer is non existant by so many individuals. Frankly, I think if an officer cracks someones head on occasion, people would think twice. Spit in my face and see what happens! Just ignorant!

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10jmpt37(43 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The problem is that these scumbag pos inmates have more rights that anyone else which is rediculous. The dirtball breaks the law and gets treated like a poor little innocent person because he got what he deserved for spitting in an officers face. Screw him being dragged by the leg shackles seems to me like they took it easy on him. But now he will cry and moan about the way he was treated in jail and a big fiasco will begin just keep your schedules open cuz im sure Jesse Jackson will be coming to town soon to have a rally for that poor inmate. Another reason im reallyn starting to hate society.

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11redeye1(5506 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Officer lewis, I just want to know that I have great repsect for you. If this scumbag had spit in my face He would be eating through a straw for a long time. In this day and age you have no idea what kind of diseases he might have . So let me say again GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!!!

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12Education_Voter(1111 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The criminal who couldn't even behave in court deserved what he got.

I have to respect an officer, who after 37 years of work still has the strength and energy to drag the criminal.

Sometimes taking such action is just worth the reprimand you expect to get.

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13CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

After being disrespected and spit on by a inmate that was being unruly to begin with, would not make you happy by all means. But then again Officers are supposed to control there tempers and be able to handle situations as they arise accordingly. I wish Officer Lewis the best in his Retirement and God Bless him for all the 37 yrs on the Force !

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14Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Wish people would quit sticking up for these inmates. Cop or not, what right does this animal have to freaking SPIT in someones face! Humans have a code of conduct and when that is abused, then handcuffs, leg cuffs whatever is irrelevant. The POS crossed the boundaries and he deserves all the as@ kicking he got. And I'm sure Lewis would've been more then happy to take off the punks cuffs and give him a worse as@# whipping then he got.
Lewis been a Officer longer then this filthy 23 year old been on this planet.
Amazes me how idiots can stick up for these animals when they are clearly in the wrong! Would love to see how you react if someone spit in your face!
And the ones that put down Lewis, would love for you to be a cop for one day. You wouldn't last 15 minutes!
Great Job Lewis!

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15kensgirl(1036 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Thank you to everyone who supported Rodney. He is highly respected among both black and white officers. He is a no nonsense cop. He also has a heart of gold. I've also seen him counsel our youth about doing the right thing. I can't imagine a more fitting title for him than all around good guy. He should have a retirement party with the entire city in attendance to thank him for his service.

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16BenitaDrugs(42 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Good luck in retirement Rodney, enjoy your life brother you deserve it.

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17drpautot(70 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

i lived across the street from this man, and believe me hes a good guy. its a tragedy that he couldn't serve longer. he opted to retire years ago, just couldn't sit on the couch, so he opted to transport inmates, i was under custody of the man, and he showed me nothing but respect and dignity. this is an incident of one man who probably deserved to get dragged by the shackles. last time i spit on i cop, i got my beat too. that's the way it is.

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18hismother(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

For all of you who gives comments on situations that you really do not know the depth of the situation should be a shame of yourselves. Alexander was pulled over on the city's west side of town because his tags on the car that he was driving was two days past the birth date. The police pulled him over and badgered him because he was driving a BMW like a black man can not drive a decent car. After pulling him over as he tried to explain his self, the cops tasered him and addition to that they pounded his head on the car. Alexander was a student at Y.S.U. and an employee at Arby's on campus. He already had a suit against the YPD pending prior to going to court. The judge is supposed to work for the people but as we all know in the judicial field it is a secret society within it self. The judge gave my son contempt of court because of practicing his sovereignty. I know many of you may not understand my feelings as far as a forgiving spirit towards Officer Lewis. It is sad that his police force has put him in this position. If you guys had saw the news clip of the incident no where was Officer Lewis. It was two white officers who took my son on that elevator they had to go up to the fifth floor. If my son had spit blood on officer Lewis it was because the beating already had happen and when they reached the floor officer Lewis was on it had escalated even more by this time. If you were cuffed, shackled and beaten unable to defend your self I am sure that you would retaliate in such a manner. I know my son had to be scared and felt as though his rights were being violated once again. It is a shame how the police and the Irish Mob are handling this situation being that my son was abused but no one saw my son spit on the officer Lewis resulting to him to act in the manner that he had. The police force is very crook it as it is. My son is a victim to police brutality as I was years ago and no one would take the case because of conflict of interest (the mob ties) and there was a video camera on the suicide watch floor to prove me right. Now this is enough I am tired and I hope and pray that officer Lewis get off on this sad incident and I hope that JUSTICE comes for my son as well because he believed in a sorry system that failed him as a young man from the start.

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19Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


And so the conspiracy, mob, secret society, corrupted officers and judges and not to mention that they are all racist in the pursuit of doing "injustice" to you and your son, Alexander Henderson. Wow, what in the world are you smoking this evening?

Your theme song maybe?


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20Education_Voter(1111 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Info provided on the Court website.

Perhaps the young man, if honest, can save all the drama by simply identifying himself when stopped for a traffic offense...as the rest of us do.

Date: 12/27/2011 Time: 10:00 am Judge: JUDGE, ADMINISTRATIVE Location: ARRAIGNMENT COURTROOM Result: CAPIAS ISSUED 12/24/2011
01/04/2012 MAGISTRATE MULTIPLE ARRAIGNMENT JE: Defendant advised of the nature of the charge(s) and the potential penalties. Defendant advised of his/her constitutional rights. Defendant entered a Not Guilty plea. Defendant << DIDNOT >> waive their right to a speedy trial pursuant to O.R.C. 2945.71. Court inquired as to Defendant's ability to retain counsel. Court << WILL appoint counsel. Bond set at << $ OR>> on Count 1<< $ OR>> on Count 2<< $ AMOUNT >> on Count 3<< $ AMOUNT >> on Count 4 Additional conditions of bond: << W/D CAPIAS; WAIVE FEE>> X MAGISTRATE ANTHONY SERTICK

01/05/2012 ALERT CHANGED ALERT CHANGED FAILURE TO APPEAR issued on 12/27/2011 For: HENDERSON, ALEXANDER K was changed on 01/05/2012 09:19:18 by MICHAELD

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21CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@ Lifes2Short and TheDrone...Let me tell you something. Ive had Clients in the past spit on me, hit me etc..but as in my profession just like any others you are to maintain your temper and handle the situation. He could have used other means if he became combative. Which i did read that Mr. Henderson did. Im not saying Officer Lewis was a bad Officer in his 37 yrs or is not a good person. I dont know Officer Lewis at all. But if Mr Henderson was mistreated as reported it is not a good thing in my opinion. Mr. Lewis took that job knowing these things could happen. Its part of the job. Same as getting hurt. But you are not supposed to lose your temper and go off and do whatever you want !

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22walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

How much do they pay at Arby's for the accused to afford a BMW? Just enough to afford the vehicle but not enough to retain a lawyer! Too many drivers in Y-town without operator's licenses, insurance, and valid registrations. But, you have to question the intelligence of a person that, while shackled, spits on a police officer. You can't defend yourself so why do it unless you want to provoke a response? Justice delayed is justice denied. Officer Lewis administered swift and appropriate justice to the suspect because what we got here is a failure to communicate!

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23CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

This has nothing to do with his car ! You or anyone else has no idea where he got that car ! It could have been given to him ! And going back to what happend...No one has the right to pull someone out from under there feet by the shackles in this day in age ...they have other means they could have used. Tasers could have been used if they could not control him. There have been other officers spit in the face before but they have not went over the top as in this case. Why did Officer Lewis take the early retirement if he thought he did no wrong ? Because he was in the wrong and he knew it.....Lets go back and see what the article says.....

.Foley said Lewis, who was planning to retire later this year, was given the option of facing disciplinary action or retiring early. The chief said Lewis could have been terminated or suspended had he chosen not to retire.

“In lieu of discipline, he was allowed to retire,” Foley added. “We found him at fault, and he is out of here

So...he could have been terminated or suspended for his actions. Because it was the WRONG thing to do !!

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24Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


Who in the world made you judge and jury?? This young wanna be gangsta punk wanted just this to happen. So the crying bleeding hearts (like you) can stick up for these young wanna be gangsta punks! What is wrong with society? Why are the criminals always getting babied? I can't speak for Officer Lewis but I would venture to guess he would do it all over again if it happened again. He did what every Officer should do, set the little wanna be gangsta punk straight. But everything nowadays has to be so Politically correct and the Officers are always getting the wrong end of the deal. Not saying their is not bad cops all over this country but the good ones outweigh the bad ones. So quit the babying of criminals or one day you might be the victim or someone close to you and then what?

((( There have been other officers spit in the face before but they have not went over the top as in this case. )))

country, I can tell you from experience you have NO clue what goes on in jail and prison that the media don't see. If you think this little episode was something, HA you don't have a clue. I've been on the other side and how much I use to hate cops and correctional officers, they were 99.999% justified. And I deserved every bit of it.

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25hismother(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

My son and his girlfriend both purchased the car together out of their school money and work money. I got the mob info from Officer Lewis himself when I asked him Thursday evening why would he attack my son like that. His response was I had never seen the man before in my life and that He had spit on his left side of the face with blood mixed with his spit and lead him to believe that he was attacked before coming to his floor. Lewis stated that he was never on the elevator with my son till he reached the fifth floor. Lewis also stated that the police force was out to get and railroad him because he did not go along with a lot of things . Lewis encouraged me to call a news conference on the Y.P.D. Because of this Irish Mob that they have inside of the police force he was asked to retire early because of fear that an internal investigation was going to come about. He also stated how he had a child with a disability that has the mind of a six year old and he needed his money to care for him. I did not call a news conference because I wanted to hear my son's side of the story.Which was yesterday Monday March 19th 2012 and he said he never spit on Officer Lewis. Apologizes goes out. However I am not satisfied with how things are turning out. My son said Officer Lewis was on the elevator the video did not show that. There is so much corrupt in this system it makes you really wonder and if I have offended any member of the Irish Mob who ever you are I apologize blame Officer Lewis for that one. Officer Lewis also told me and my witness his attorney was Di Martino. I also gave him my telephone number because he was so convincing to us that he did not initiate the first beating on the elevator he said it was the two white cops and said if you see the video you don't even see me there. Now I am a single parent of four children and an only child. Now once again justice will not be served. This will be brushed under the rug like it was when Corporal Martian ordered Deputy Bricker to strike me down and she said no so some male Deputy did it and they started kicking and beating me my hands were behind my back as will, and I never said anything at all Look at the tape. If they still have it. Now this is coming from a parent that tried to teach her son correctly after having to be away from her children and fight so hard to obtain custody back because of my reaction very next day after this incident. I was scared and did not know if I was getting ready to be beat again I cannot even get a decent job to make a decent amount of money to help him. It is so sad and here we go again I DO NOT TRUST THE LAW WHAT SO EVER and no one can blame me. @ Walter you must be a police yourself. Now maybe Officer Lewis is not this great officer that everyone thinks that he is. Who can you trust.

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26Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


Irish Mob now.....wow....

Did you just watch "The Departed?'


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27hismother(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@Police officer Life2short apparently this is really bothering you just ask your boyee Officer Lewis who the Irish Mob is that is who told me thank you and now I really wish that you just leave it alone okay I am really fed up with your comments crook it cop.

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28Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


Not bothering me, actually I think it's pretty hilarious all your conspiracy theories. Keep on going.....I could use the laughs....

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29praxis95(51 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Officer Lewis sounds like an old school police office. You do not have to like him, but you'd better respected him.

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30esssie(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

How nice that an official can abuse a restrained person and the restrained gets another charge and the official gets early retirement. Police can do whatever they like with no repercussions!

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31Education_Voter(1111 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Well, Mama. Sounds like Officer Lewis knew how to get on your good side.

And yeah, maybe he was already under warning from superiors.

"Irish Mob" is just a way of name-calling Whites. You yourself were quite willing to buy into it. That explained it all to you. They were White so they were inappropriate.

None of the above means that your son can't act appropriately himself, and therefore not bring reaction upon himself. He was already inappropriate before he got on the elevator.

Also, you should probably not be saying that the college money was used for stuff like expensive cars. It makes a joke out of college loan and grant programs.

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32ReadTheNews(1 comment)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

He should get tested at a local hospital/clinic make sure the guy that spit on him didn't infect him with anything!

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33hismother(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Maybe all of you need to pull up the transcripts of the actual court hearing and you tell me if my son had acted out. He asked the judge about her oath and she got upset. He never talked wrong to her. And by the way the BMW was an older model and was not over $800 dollars so the school money is to help you be able to make it to school and to survive on while in school so they needed the car to get back and forth to work and school silly. And as far as the white people go yea I bought into it because the same thing happened to me so it was not that hard to believe. Officer Lewis just knows how to play the game and for the record my son never spit on the officer even the other two officers say they never saw him spit on Lewis SO PLEASE STOP SAYING THAT HE SPIT ON HIM THANK YOU!!!! As far as the Irish Mob apparently you are still bothered I left that alone days ago and you are still at it. Now that would make one wonder if it is true. I am done, you guys can go on doing what it is that you do. I have cases to fight and JUSTICE to get served have a good day!

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34USMC0331(152 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago



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35LawDoc(38 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

So by your OWN admission he committed a traffic violation (expired registration) and had a warrant for his arrest. Then he acts like a knucklehead in court? GET REAL. Good luck with your endeavor " I have cases to fight and JUSTICE to get served".

Maybe someone will take you seriously. Possibly the bag lady who walks around YSU??

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36RoddAC(102 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Back in the day I used to spit on cops. Yeah... that's for sure. Just my way of sayin' I liked Fight Club. We both get to vent our human frustration and everyone goes home happy- especially when losers with no life comment all their pointless opinions on the story about it. Just makes it that much more fun.

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