Man gets probation for assaulting officers

Staff photo / Ed Runyan Keishaun A. Sims, 26, of Austintown, left, is seen talking to Judge Anthony Donofrio of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Monday. Sims pleaded guilty to two counts of felony assault involving two Youngstown police officers and was sentenced to three years of probation.

YOUNGSTOWN — Keishaun Sims, 26, of Austintown, was sentenced to three years of probation and no prison time Monday in the videotaped assault of two Youngstown police officers in the lobby of the Youngstown Police Department on Sept. 19, 2023.

Sims appeared before Judge Anthony Donofrio of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to the charges in his indictment, which was two counts of felony assault. He could have gotten up to three years in prison.

Prosecutors and the defense recommended the three years of probation, as well as 175 days in the Mahoning County jail with credit for 177 days already served in jail. Marty Hume, county assistant prosecutor, said another term of Sims’ agreement is that Sims receive a mental health evaluation and “follow all recommended treatment.”

Hume said Sims already had an evaluation, “and he is already in the process of following those recommendations, and he will continue to do so.” Hume said the police officers who were assaulted were notified of the hearing, but neither one attended and both “were in agreement” with the recommended sentence.

Sims’ attorney, Rhys Cartwright-Jones, said Sims is a patient at Natura Behavioral Health in Canfield and “is compliant with all of his medications and all of his therapy.” He has been on an electronically monitored ankle bracelet while free on bond, and part of the plea agreement is that the ankle bracelet will be removed Monday, Cartwright-Jones said.

Sims did not offer any remarks before sentencing.


Police department video showed Sims entering the lobby and asking the officer to speak with a “manager” but did not provide a reason or a specific case he wanted to discuss. He was told he would need to leave. Sims was “not making sense,” so the officer told him to leave, according to a Youngstown police report.

The officer left his desk and entered the lobby and asked Sims again to leave. Sims then suddenly struck the officer on the side of the face and head, the report states.

The officer asked for assistance over his police radio, and another officer in plain clothes arrived to see the initial officer with his service weapon nearly unholstered. The first officer was fighting with Sims and fighting to keep his firearm holstered, the report states.

Body camera video of the episode showed the first officer leaving his desk and opening a locked door to an inner area of the lobby and Sims becoming verbally aggressive, saying “Make me leave.” When the officer told Sims he was “mental,” Sims physically attacked the officer.

Sims can be seen standing over the officer, holding him down, and still demanding that the officer “call someone.” Sims let the officer get up, but the physical confrontation continued until two other officers arrived and brought Sims under control. Two officers suffered injuries and were transported to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Officers later found the vehicle Sims had come to the police department in. Inside the vehicle, officers found a pistol with a bullet in the chamber and 17 more in the magazine. Another 25 rounds were found elsewhere in the vehicle.

When Sims’ case was still in Youngstown Municipal Court in September, Judge Carla Baldwin ordered that Sims be evaluated for competency to stand trial because of his mental health. After the evaluation, in October, the prosecution and defense agreed that Sims was not competent to stand trial, and Judge Baldwin sent Sims to Heartland Behavioral Healthcare in Massillon, a state mental hospital, to try to “restore him to competency.”

In December, a doctor gave the court the opinion that forced antipsychotic medication was necessary, and there was a no-less restrictive way to restore Sims to competency. Visiting Judge David Fuhry approved the forced medication.

In March, after treatment, Sims was ruled to be competent to stand trial. At the time, Cartwright-Jones described Sims’ restoration as “a long, tough process.” The judge granted Sims a personal-recognizance bond with electronically monitored house arrest.

She said she was granting that type of release “based on conversations I’ve had with counsel prior to today’s hearing and now that the defendant is competent and doing well, per recent reports.” Sims was ordered to have no contact with Youngstown police.


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