July 14 – LIMA – Darlene Pritchett saw the news days before her cousin’s one-year-old death: The deputy sheriff who killed Quincy J. Pritchett was named Agent of the Year by the Lima Exchange Club.
News of the award sent another wave of grief through the Pritchett family — a “slap in the face,” as Darlene Pritchett described to The Lima News.
“We don’t think it should ever be celebrated,” she said. “…We still sleep. We still cry at night.”
The Lima Exchange Club awarded Allen County Deputy Sheriff Izak Ackerman its 2022 Law Officer of the Year award in May, citing the fatal altercation in June 2022 and a second incident in which a fleeing suspect turned on Ackerman and another deputy sheriff. shot.
“Despite endangering his life twice in the space of a few months, Deputy Ackerman remains a strong example of a professional and dedicated law enforcement officer and continues to work to ensure the safety of all citizens of Allen County,” said the nomination.
Weeks later, the Ohio Tactical Officers Association awarded Ackerman the Steven Smith Award for Valor for “his actions and valor after being shot,” according to a Facebook post from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office published days before the one-year mark of Pritchett’s death.
But the Pritchetts say there was no condolences for their family, who take care of Quincy’s hospice grandmother on rotating shifts now that her primary caregiver – Quincy – is gone.
“No remorse. No ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ None of that,” said Darlene Pritchett, who described her cousin as a quiet, devoted father who wasn’t known for carrying guns. “I can’t say anything bad about him, and that’s not right,” she said.
Ackerman fatally shot Quincy Pritchett on June 21, 2022, during an altercation on Second Street, blocks away from Pritchett’s grandmother’s home, where Pritchett’s family says he was on his way before he died.
An Allen County grand jury found Ackerman justified in using deadly force after an outside investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation concluded that Pritchett likely fired at least one bullet that struck Ackerman in the face during the altercation, which took place when Pritchett fled a traffic stop. .
Ackerman told detectives he initiated the stop under the suspicion that Pritchett was trying to avoid him after noticing Pritchett making four left turns in a high-crime neighborhood. He returned to duty in September.
“They feel like it’s okay to do this, and then they get slapped on the wrist,” said Quincy’s aunt, Margie Pritchett.
The NAACP called on Sheriff Matthew Treglia to equip deputies with body-worn cameras in the aftermath of Pritchett’s death, which occurred out of view of the headlights on Ackerman’s cruiser camera.
Treglia met with lawmakers in March to discuss body camera disclosure laws, which he says should go further to protect citizens’ privacy, but told The Lima News at the time that body cameras would have made no difference in Pritchett’s case .
“I don’t know what outcome you expect if you shoot one of my officers, except the one he got,” Treglia said in March.
Still, the Pritchetts ask: Will law enforcement agencies in Lima revisit their training to avoid unnecessary interactions?
“Just because you’re driving at night doesn’t mean you’re committing a crime,” said Darlene Pritchett. “Making a left turn is not a crime. … (The community) feels bullied. They’re scared, and that’s why they often react the way they do.”
“You could go pay your bills and the police will follow you to nitpick: oh, your tint is too dark or one of your brake lights is out,” said Margie Pritchett, “and then it will lead to a homicide.” .”