Celina, Ohio. On January 5, 2015, the family of Robert Hensley and the City of Celina jointly released the following statement:
The City of Celina has resolved the lawsuit brought by the family of Robert Hensley, who was shot by a former Celina police officer on April 10, 2013. The officer was investigating a report that Mr. Hensley was improperly displaying a handgun in public. The gun was later found to be unloaded. The shooting by the officer was investigated by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, and a special prosecutor was appointed to present the case to a grand jury which did not indict the officer. Mr. Hensley’s family brought a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the City and former officer, alleging that the shooting violated Mr. Hensley’s civil rights. The City and Mr. Hensley’s family settled the lawsuit last month, and the probate court has now approved the settlement. In exchange for the family dismissing the lawsuit, the family and their attorneys are receiving $800,000.00. Neither the City nor the former officer admits liability in the settlement.
In the time since this incident, Celina’s new police chief, Tom Wale, has worked to implement many changes in the Celina Police Department, including changes to the policies regarding use of force. Celina is also in the process of purchasing and implementing cruiser cameras and body cameras for its police officers. Police Chief Tom Wale said, “As a police department, we are committed to serving the public and keeping the City of Celina safe. Like any organization, we always have room to improve. We believe the City of Celina will be better for it.”
The Hensley family welcomes the changes implemented by Celina and has received a written apology for their loss from the City. One of the family’s attorneys, Al Gerhardstein, stated, “I commend the City of Celina for responding to the family with sensitivity and transparency. Our settlement and the reforms underway are good both for the family and the City of Celina.”