July 28, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria businessman sues over arrest in Put-in-Bay

Elyria manufacturer Bradley Ohlemacher has filed a federal lawsuit saying that he was roughed up by Put-in-Bay police officers who ordered him out of his swimming pool while responding to a noise complaint last summer.

Ohlemacher suffered a cut over his right eye, a concussion, abrasions to his arms and body and contusions and bruising to his arms, shoulders and body, according to the lawsuit.

Ohlemacher, who has homes in Rocky River and Put-in-Bay, is asking for compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees and costs in excess of $75,000.

“These cops did not do what’s right, and somebody has to stop it,” Ohlemacher said Friday. “They beat me to the ground and dragged me through the bushes and handcuffed me.”

“I don’t want money; I want something to change,” said Ohlemacher, who welcomed President Barack Obama to EMC Precision Machining during the president’s trip to Elyria last January and was later invited to the White House for a bill-signing ceremony.

Ohlemacher, 48, said it cost about $10,000 to defend himself against five charges he faced after the incident. He said he also had medical costs, including an MRI.

If he prevails in the lawsuit, Ohlemacher said, “I will make sure any money I get isn’t for me.”

The lawsuit alleges that Ohlemacher was assaulted by Officers Aaron M. Crawford and/or Jeffrey A. Corwin, and he suffered physical injuries and emotional pain and suffering.

It alleges violation of his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable warrantless entry, searches and seizure, excessive force and unlawful and/or false arrest and malicious prosecution.

The suit states that Crawford was responding to a noise complaint between 4:25 and 5 a.m. July 18 when he entered Ohlemacher’s property without his permission and ordered Ohlemacher to get out of his pool and sit on a chair.

Ohlemacher got out of the pool and sat on a rock and once seated, Crawford and/or Corwin “jumped on and tackled” him driving his face onto the concrete, according to the suit.

Crawford and/or Corwin struck him “in his back, shoulders, and body several times, dragged him through the landscaping adjacent to the swimming pool” and handcuffed him, the suit stated.

Neither Crawford nor Corwin returned phone calls on Friday. Crawford is still on the police roster but has not worked at the department for some time, a dispatcher said.

Put-in-Bay Police Chief Robert D. Lampela, who also was named in the suit, did not return a phone call.

A police report stated that Ohlemacher swore at officers and that officers pulled him from the pool to the patio “due to safety concerns about the proximity to the pool.”

It stated that Ohlemacher injured himself at the police station by “violently jerking his head” and hitting it against the wall.

A supplemental report by Corwin stated that he grabbed Ohlemacher’s left arm while Crawford grabbed the right and Ohlemacher “started resisting by jerking his arms away in a violent manner” and that he stated “I’m gonna (expletive) sue your (expletives.)”

Put-in-Bay Mayor Judy Berry also did not return a phone call.

Charges of resisting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct/intoxication were dismissed against Ohlemacher in January, and he was acquitted of disorderly conduct in April, according to the suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

Ohlemacher said he complained to Berry in hopes she would take action.

“She saw the injuries a week later and said she understands the issues, and nothing has happened as a result,” he said.

Ohlemacher said several people at his home witnessed the incident, which left him “shocked and angry” and sitting in jail for hours in his bathing suit without the ability to make a phone call.

Before the disorderly conduct charge went to trial, Ohlemacher said a prosecutor asked him if he was going to sue.

Ohlemacher said he could have paid $64 to resolve the disorderly conduct charge, but he wanted to be acquitted of the charge and a magistrate did acquit him.

Ohlemacher acknowledged drinking that night, but he asked, “If you’re not allowed to drink on your property, where are you allowed to drink?”

He did acknowledge swearing at police. Ohlemacher said police were within their rights to respond to a noise complaint, but “the problem is what they did after that.”

He said Crawford told him, “Get out of the pool or I will arrest you for a felony.”

He said he got out of the pool and told Crawford and Corwin that he would “sit over here” on the rock.

“As soon as I said that, (Crawford) said, ‘Take him!’ and that’s when I was tackled,” Ohlemacher said.

He said a number of people, including a rescue worker, have told him that physical confrontations between police and members of the public in Put-in-Bay are not uncommon.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.