Two attorneys for Put-in-Bay have written a letter of apology to EMC Precision President Bradley Ohlemacher as part of a settlement that ends a lawsuit filed against the island municipalities and their Police Department by the Elyria businessman over his July 18, 2010, arrest at his home there.
Ohlemacher said that in addition to receiving the letter, he also received about $65,000 as part of the deal, but he hadn’t been looking for an apology or money.
He said Tuesday that the whole point of the lawsuit was to prevent someone else from being wrongly arrested by Put-in-Bay police. Prosecutors ultimately dropped resisting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct by intoxication charges against Ohlemacher and he was acquitted at trial of a disorderly conduct charge.
“I felt so strongly that what happened to me was so grossly wrong that somebody needed to do something,” he said.
Ohlemacher, who has acknowledged he was drinking that morning, was arrested after police were called to his Put-in-Bay home for a noise complaint between 4:25 a.m. and 5 a.m. and ordered him out of the pool, according to the lawsuit. He then sat down on a nearby rock and was ordered by police to move to a chair.
Police reported that they wanted Ohlemacher to move to the chair because of concerns for his safety, but according to the lawsuit one of the police officers at his house tackled him, “driving his face into the concrete” and struck him several times before dragging him through the landscaping and handcuffing him.
They then took Ohlemacher to the police station, where the lawsuit said one of the officers smashed his head against a wall.
Police reported that Ohlemacher struggled, cursed at officers and threatened to file a lawsuit. The officers said Ohlemacher injured his head by “violently jerking his head” and striking the wall when he was being taken inside the police station.
In the letter of apology, village lawyers John McLandrich and Peter Lavalette wrote that their officers could have handled the matter differently.
“We regret the unfortunate circumstances resulting in the entry onto your property, your arrest, detention and prosecution,” they wrote. “We hope that you recognize the difficult task our officers have in trying to balance the rights of all our residents, along with the duty to respond to, and to investigate, complaints of alleged violations of the law.”
The letter added that officers would be given additional training, something Ohlemacher said he was pleased with.
He said he wanted “to have the police understand they’re not on the streets of Detroit, they’re on a resort island.”
But Ohlemacher said the Put-in-Bay village and Put-in-Bay Township didn’t agree to discipline or fire Put-in-Bay Police Chief Rick Lampela or guarantee that the two officers who arrested him, Aaron Crawford and Jeffrey Corwin, wouldn’t be rehired. Neither officer is currently working for the Police Department, he said.
Ohlemacher said during settlement negotiations, his attorneys told the Put-in-Bay lawyers that he didn’t want any money if those two things happened.
“Sadly, the ‘anything goes’ macho mentality and unchecked violence by the officers permeates the Put-in-Bay Police Department and has been condoned for years by the department’s top cop,” Ohlemacher wrote in a statement provided to The Chronicle-Telegram. “The chief of police must be removed. His lack of leadership and failure to restrain his officers created the toxic environment that resulted in my injuries, loss of freedom and wrongful prosecution.”
Village officials, including Lampela, didn’t return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.