Summit County Metro Parks said in a statement Thursday that they've fired Park Ranger Jeffrey Axner, 33, following an investigation into a bizarre incident last month that left an elderly Akron couple bruised and in handcuffs in their driveway.
According to reports, the couple was driving through the Metro Parks on September 27th, when Axner nearly pulled his cruiser out in front of them at the Goodyear Heights entrance to the park at Newton Road. The driver, a 72-year-old man, beeped his horn at Axner and then swerved his Ford Ranger around Axner's cruiser to avoid him. Axner reportedly then turned his cruiser around, and followed the couple to their home on Darrow Road. Once the couple pulled into their driveway, Axner got out of his cruiser, and wrestled the elderly man to the ground, and then kicked his 71-year-old wife to the ground, and placed them both in handcuffs.
The couple was initially charged with resisting arrested, obsruction of official business, aggravated menacing, and failure to comply. Those charges were dropped just a few days later and the investigation into Axner's actions was launched while he was placed on paid administrative leave.
The results of that investigation were revealed Thursday morning, and showed that Axner violated Metro Parks Ranger procedure, exceeded his authority in following the couple to their home outside the Metro Parks in Akron, and also used excessive force when he assaulted them while placing them both under arrest.
Axner has been fired from the Metro Parks Rangers, who say that he violated the department's contract with the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (OPBA).