Is this a case of over-reaction, or was it justified?

An Ohio man who carried a rubber prop axe into a bar before Halloween is trying to get prosecutors to dismiss an inducing panic charge.

42-year-old Bill Morrison is a Halloween enthusiast who has long worked on seasonal haunted house attractions. He told Akron police he went to Corky’s Thomastown bar on Oct. 16 to sell a friend the costume ax, which had red paint to make it appear bloody.

A woman who saw Morrison with the axe under his coat called 911 and said he looked suspicious.

“We just saw a man with, like, a hatchet, with an axe and he hid it under his coat and he started walking to toward the [bar],” she told the dispatcher. “He’s sitting outside. It’s kind of suspicious because he’s pacing back and forth.”

The woman tells the dispatcher that the man with long, brown hair and wearing a dark green trench coat just entered the bar with “a full, long axe.”

Akron police responded to the call and spotted Morrison on South Arlington Street near Lindsay Avenue.

“We ordered him to stop and open up his coat,” the officers wrote in their report. “He pulled an axe from inside the coat and laid it on the sidewalk.

“Upon further inspection of the axe, we discovered that it was actually a facsimile of an axe. It had a wooden handle with a rubber head and was covered in fake blood.”

Morrison went on to tell the officers that he paid $80 for the costume axe. He went to the bar to sell it to a friend, but when no one was inside, he left.

The report does not indicate that Morrison was unruly. He was arrested and taken to jail on a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.

Morrison was jailed overnight before being released on bond.

His attorney, Ed Sawan, says the charges appear to be unfounded.

“He’s unsure why he was arrested,” Sawan said. “He didn’t understand the need for him to be arrested, charged and incarcerated.”

Akron City Prosecutor Doug Powley indicates his office is still studying the case.

UPDATE:

Ohio prosecutors have dropped an inducing panic charge against a man who carried a rubber prop ax into a bar before Halloween.

Akron City Prosecutor Doug Powley says he reviewed the case against 42-year-old Bill Morrison and determined that, in his words, the “situation did not warrant a criminal conviction.”

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