September 1, 2014

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Officer in kitten killing was well-regarded during his career

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Barry Accorti, the city’s humane officer who stirred a public outcry over the shooting of feral kittens in a residential backyard earlier this week, had a well-regarded career as a police officer and has not had problems since being hired as a humane officer, according to his personnel files.

Accorti, who was a police officer from 1979 to early 2010 when he retired, was hired back by the city as one of two humane officers on June 6, 2012.

Since his official swearing-in as humane officer a year ago, Accorti’s lone personnel file documentation pertained to an accident that caused minor damage to a plastic running board of a vehicle he was driving when it hit a large rock at the city’s Frontier Park in August.

Accorti shot and killed five feral kittens Monday in the backyard of a Vista Lake Way home after it was determined the animals were causing problems with fleas inside the house, leaving dead wildlife in the yard and producing a foul odor.

His actions sparked outrage as news of the killings spread via social media, and there have been calls by the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for him to be fired.

However, Police Chief Michael Freeman on Tuesday deemed Accorti’s actions appropriate and said no discipline was warranted.

The Chronicle-Telegram reviewed Accorti’s personnel records Wednesday.

The document included many commendations for his work over the years, with reprimands being confined primarily to his role in a couple of motor vehicle crashes.

  • Accorti is a native of New Jersey who attended Lorain County Community College and was a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
  • A Navy veteran who rose through the police ranks from patrolman to sergeant to detective to SWAT team commander and lieutenant, Accorti amassed a number of commendations for his investigative work over the years, as well as his efforts to promote physical fitness via police fitness programs and tests he helped organize, and for organizing and leading a firearms training program.
  • He was cited for his work in the murder case of Stacey Balas, a 25-year-old North Ridgeville woman who disappeared in November 1996 after working the night shift at a Fairview Park Subway restaurant. While her body was never found, Larry Wade, who managed the Subway eatery at the time, confessed in 2005 to strangling Balas in the restaurant’s kitchen after she rebuffed his sexual advances.
  • Accorti was commended over the years for incidents including an April 1984 case in which a 23-year-old man climbed the city water tower at Center Ridge Road and state Route 83 and threatened to commit suicide by jumping off. After more than an hour, Accorti talked the man out of harming himself.
  • He assisted the Ohio Highway Patrol in 1988 in apprehending two armed escaped convicts stopped in a stolen car on the Turnpike who threatened to kill a Castalia state trooper.
  • In 1992, Accorti responded to a call of a shooting in progress and wound up wrestling a gun away from a man and woman who were fighting each other for the weapon after the wife critically wounded her husband with four gunshots.
  • In 1994, Accorti was recognized for defusing an attempted suicide by an emotionally distraught 47-year-old man with a loaded shotgun.
  • Accorti and another officer were commended in May 2005 for their investigation of a road rage incident that uncovered a marijuana-growing operation and led to the seizure of more than $23,000 in marijuana, cash, gold coins and a number of firearms.
  • The only mark against him that wasn’t vehicle-related dated to July 2002, when he admitted to being impatient with a woman with whom he’d had previous dealings as a police officer. The woman complained to higher ups that he was rude; Accorti disagreed with her assessment.

In a letter from now-retired Capt. Al Dent to former Chief Rick Thomas, Dent said he reminded Accorti about the need to be “diplomatic” with the public.

“(Accorti) stated he would try and do as I asked, but felt it would be difficult,” Dent wrote to Thomas.

In a January 2003 letter, Dent, the department’s operations officer at the time, reprimanded Accorti for “inattention” that caused an accident in which he damaged a police vehicle when it hit a tree after sliding off an embankment on Accorti’s snow-covered driveway.

In a rebuttal letter, Accorti said being called “inattentive” was “grossly inaccurate” and “insulting” as he attributed the accident to his efforts to avoid a disabled vehicle in a driveway.

In June 2008, Thomas reprimanded Accorti for negligent operation of a vehicle that led to a minor accident that damaged an outside mirror of a police vehicle.

Since the mishap was his second vehicle accident in a short period of time, an unpaid suspension normally would be imposed, Thomas told Accorti.

But because Accorti had no previous “chargeable accidents in 25 years of service,” Thomas opted instead for a written reprimand.

Over the years Accorti was cited a number of times for making the most drunk driving arrests of any North Ridgeville officer, including 60 in 1991 and 53 in 1996.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • Feral Kittens Contest

    I, for one, am glad that the city is cracking down on these disease carrying
    feral cats. I think it would be wonderful if once a month they would hold an event
    where groups of people get together for a day and search for the boroughs where these disgusting little creatures live and set fire to them. Whoever sets fire
    to the most in one day wins a family 4 pack of tickets to either Cedar Point or an Indians game. Get the community involved, even the kiddies.

    Lets exterminate these filthy creatures once and for all.

    Mein Kampf

    • Casey D

      What a horrible human being you are!!!! Perhaps we should hold events like that to get rid of the “boil on the a** of society” that is you!! Jerk!!!

      • Debbie

        Maybe we could round them all up and come dump them in your backyard Casey? You strike me as the kind of human that loves living in disease and filth.

        • She-Fonz

          And you, Debbie, strike me as a human being that has never loved anyone or anything in your life. If you have children, I feel bad for them.

          • blackcatlover

            She surely is not going to teach them about kindness and compassion.

          • She-Fonz

            She strikes me as the person who will tell her kids that abortion is wrong, but if there is a raccoon in the middle of the road, drive over it as fast as you can

        • Pam Whiteside

          maybe they could have called a rescue that would come and trap them. maybe the lazy woman who called should have picked up the dead things in her yard and threw them away. if you have kids Debbie do them a favor and give them to a caring human being, if you don’t, do the world a favor and get fixed

  • Jerry

    I once had a neighbor with two large presa canario dogs in his back yard. He would set a cat trap, and each morning take the trapped cat and throw it into the back yard with the dogs. The dogs would chase the cat down (he had a 6′ fence so they couldn’t get away usually)and shred it like a rag, eating all but the fur. He had a pile of cat pelts in his garage. Within a year the neighborhood was all but cat free, and what cats were left lived in fear of his yard, never setting foot in it. Cat owners beware, there are more cat haters out there than you think. Control your animals.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      If your story is true, you should be ashamed of yourself for knowing about it and not reporting his actions to authorities, punk.

    • blackcatlover

      Jerry, you are just as bad as your neighbor for not reporting this. I guess you are a cat hater too and I really have to wonder why.

    • Michele From Ohio

      Presa Canario dogs will kill anything, including your children or your elderly mother, especially if they are taught that it’s OK to kill. Do you think those dogs know the difference between killing cats in their yard or killing a child who happens to climb over the fence? Or killing your old Grannie if they happen to get out of their enclosure?

      Idiots.

    • Pam Whiteside

      no doubt sooner or later, since they have been trained to kill helplessthings, they either turned on him or some helpless child. A dog trained to kill small things can’t tell the difference between a small animal and a small human. Lets hope it was him they turned on not some innocent, maybe you should take your kids over to visit

  • hottamomma

    so he was a good person before, and now that he made a mistake people want to hang him, tsk,tsk tsk. i know of alot of people who makes mistakes, i dont want to hang them. plus he didnt make a mistake, what he did was in his employee manual, and people want him fired? why dont they(the people that have nothing better to do but protest about something)focus on getting the manual changed.( i guess that make to much sense) all he did was follow procedure.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      What do you know about the employee manual? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, Uh-huh! Say it again, y’all.

      • hottamomma

        the paper said he followed work procedure. so what to u know about reading ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. AHA AHA AHA

        • SweetScarlet

          “so what to u know”… Spelling and grammar must not be your strong point.

          • hottamomma

            that just make my other points stronger, but you wouldnt know anything about that. as long as i know about human life thats all that matter, spelling and grammer is something man made, god made everyone different but u ( the devil) wouldnt know anything about that!

          • Chip Rathwell

            AND! Who are you to speak of God? “Judge not least Ye be judged!”

          • hottamomma

            i DIDNTjudge if you can read, so there. everyone on hear is judging that poor humane officer, and im sure u probably will also

          • Pam Whiteside

            Are you his momma, or babette? its amazing what one can find on people search for $9.95

          • hottamomma

            does it matter

          • Pam Whiteside

            Since you are such a believer maybe you should reread what Jesus said’AS YOU DO UNTOTHE LEAST OF THEM, YOU DO UNTO ME”

          • hottamomma

            exactly, and he was talking about humans, cause he put animal here for us to eat. hurraaaaay for the chinese!

          • SweetScarlet

            Classy. I’m sure everyone of Chinese descent appreciates you making an ignorant joke implying that they all eat cat.

        • blackcatlover

          If that is “the procedure”, it needs to be changed.

          • hottamomma

            thats all i was saying. i feel sorry for the poor guy that did nothing but follow procedure. and people want his job lose.

          • sammie

            Go head and feel sorry for him, “hottamomma”… i feel sorry for your unbelievable ignorance.

          • hottamomma

            you think im ignorant because i care for humans and u dont, u r the ignorant one. ha ha

          • Pam Whiteside

            Only humans have the choice to be compassionate or not. He is suffering the consequences of his choices. By the way, every police officer I know that has had to put down a animal dying because it was injured had to call a supervisor first to get the okay. I saw nothing that said he did that.

          • hottamomma

            didnt u read his boss said he followed procedure so hes not getting disciplined

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          Of course “the paper” said nothing of the sort.

          • hottamomma

            yesterdays paper said he followed procedures thats why his boss didnt discipline him cause he did nothing wrong. it doesnt matter anyway the kittens r dead and r very happy in kitty heaven

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            No, that is NOT what yesterday’s paper stated. You read it wrong.

          • hottamomma

            whatever, he did his job and its done

        • Michele From Ohio

          Go back under your bridge, troll

          • hottamomma

            go back in a butthole u piece of sh*t

          • hottamomma

            go back into a behind u turd!

          • hottamomma

            ha ha ha ha the flea ridden kittens r dead, u jack a**

        • Pam Whiteside

          The paper also said Chaney and Bush really believed there were weapons of mass destruction. If you knew what a vowel was maybe you could buy one

          • hottamomma

            what i need to use a vowel when i have so many cats i can use for gun practice. people probably said ur cat in ur pic was cute(they lied)

    • Pam Whiteside

      It is obvious from this current event that Mike Freeman has no problems covering up, even condoning, his cruelty. I would not trust anything from this police dept

  • Finally

    It was nice to see this article is helping many to easily exterminate the filthy feral cats destroying their peaceful neighborhoods. Any man who likes cats is either openly gay, or closeted / questioning. The women who love cats are usually mentally ill, look like a troll, or are both. Normal, intelligent, decent people do not like these disease carrying vermin. Somehow society has moved to bestow rights on this foul and nasty creature, and I say ENOUGH! We aren’t allowed to let dogs roam free doing as they wish, but for some reason cats can do this. ENOUGH! I hope that everyone reading this goes down to the store and buys a gallon of Prestone Extra, and a flat of the best cat food the store has, and then proceeds to snuff out one of these nasty cat-rats per day until their neighborhood is once again a decent place. SCREW FERAL CATS! DEATH TO THEM ALL!

  • Audrey G

    I guess my question is…if John Q Public had done this, what would have happened to him? Charged with animal cruelty? Discharging a firearm within city limits?

  • SweetScarlet

    Sometimes, you can’t get a feel for a Cop’s personality just by looking at their personnel file… that’s all I’m saying. Officer Accordi is definitely not the most caring man I’ve ever met in my life, and I’ve felt that way long before this recent cruelty event occured.

  • PAY_UP

    Why is it that all of these animal lovers are the first ones to judge how this officer decided to euthanize these feral animals, but they have notdone anythingto help solve the problem themselves?
    These are feral animals and not house pets that we are talking about? This is no different than a raccoon, squirrel, snake, possom or any other wild animal that has become a neiusance or health hazzard.

    Why dont we put together a tax levy to pay for chemically euthanizing feral animals that way the citizens can pay $50-$100 a pop instead of one dollar or less per round. The reason is that nobody wants to take responsibility to pay their hard earned money to do it. And when the police department steps in to take action the monday morning quarterbacks do not like the way they handle the issue.

    Who is going to pay for the workers comp and medical bills when one of these feral animals scratches or bites the officer who is trying to appease the animal loving public who does nothing but bitch and complain without taking actions to fix the problem themselves. Do any of you know what types of diseases these feral animals are carrying? Would you let your child go outside and play with an unknown animal? Do you want you children or housepets to be bitten or scratched by one of these feral animals? Neither does the officer.

    If you do not like how the police in North Ridgeville do their job, you have a few choices to make, the first and best choice is to move out of the city so you do not have to deal with someone who puts human life before wildlife. The second option would be togo through all of the training and get hired to do the job yourself and see how many monday morning quarterbacks you get to deal with. and the third option is to write the city a blank check to cover not only the vet bills but also the officers medical bills that will start to accumulate when physically catching disease ridden animals.
    Granted, while Barry Accorti is not liked by many due to his personality issues, you have to remember he has always done his job and has for 30+ years done his part to keep North Rideville from becomming a dump like Elyria or Lorain. If every cop you meet has a smile on his face 24/7 and never gets an attitude or raises his voice, he is going to be walked all over and not respected. The dealings I have had with him over the years he has been firm but also fair.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      First off, I’ve safely captured feral cats and kept and tamed two of them. They are loving creatures like any other.

      And there is a fourth option, to use the 1st Amendment and protest the idiot’s actions.

      • PAY_UP

        Feel Free to leave your phone number with NRPD so that the next time they get a call for feral cats they can call you to take care of them.
        As far as the 1st Amendment comment, you are absolutely correct that is your right and both sides can agree to disagree. Have a Nice Day.

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          I live in South Carolina, too far to drive at a moment’s notice.

          But the more important point is that there was NO REASON to draw a weapon and fire bullets. This officer must be mentally unstable to think it was appropriate to use deadly force in this situation.

          And the police chief’s response is indefensible.

        • Pam Whiteside

          I live in Columbus, call me brain trust. besides there are many non profit rescues in that area if you yahoo’s were not too lazy and uncaring to look them up and try to engage their help. Or does thinking make your head hurt too much

      • hottamomma

        so if i go and tame lion, its alright with you? cause they are loving creatures also. and then i will move next door to you

        • She-Fonz

          People have tamed lions, the most famous one being Christian the Lion from the 70s (:

          • hottamomma

            right but would u want one living next to you and ur kids? just because the owner says its tamed?

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          There is a huge difference between a domestic and exotic cat. You aren’t for real, are you?

          • Bob Sweatt

            Right. But cats are not domestic by nature. The egyptians are the first to domesticate cats. So with your line of logic about exotic and domestic animals. You are doing more harm by keeping a cat inside your house then letting it live free in nature.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            I suggest you read a bit, because people didn’t always live in houses either.

            http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=ab57

          • Bob Sweatt

            Right. But we have thumbs. They give us the ability to make houses and live in them.

            Even further back in history. Everything came for one single cell. But nature gave us thumbs. That is why we get to live in houses. DUH!!!!

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            But Mr Jinx doesn’t have thumbs and he can still flush a toilet.

          • Bob Sweatt

            really you go for the cat flushing a toilet. Come back to me when Mr. Flea Ridden can built a house. Just because an animal can flush a toilet doesn’t mean we should all start making them our pets.

            CoCo the gorilla can do sign language. Does that now mean we should start domesticating 400lbs gorilla’s??

            Really flushing a toilet is what you come up with. I expected better from you Larry. I have enjoyed our little back and forth for the last two days. But if the best argument you can come up with is your cat flushing the toilet as a reason for having a cat then i think we are done here. WOW Just WOW.

            Oh who knows. Maybe your next cat will be a RENEGADE and not flush the toilet. Sorry had to go there.

          • Larry Crnobrnja
          • Bob Sweatt
          • Bob Sweatt

            I can show things from the real world. Not just stuff from movies.

          • Pam Whiteside

            Do you have a dog, they did not start out tame as well. That is why they sometimes turn back to being wild when they are mistreated.

          • Bob Sweatt

            Dude the fact that you keep suggesting that people aren’t as smart as you makes your point less meaningful. BTW

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            I didn’t say you weren’t as smart as me, I just provided you with a link that refutes your position.

        • Pam Whiteside

          This comparison makes you look like a moron. Like comparing a goldfish with a shark. Neither is tame but a thinking, feeling human being can tell this difference between what is threatening and what is not. maybe you can find a thinking feeling human being to explain this to you

          • hottamomma

            a lion can be tamed.so maybe u can fine a thinking human being to explain that to u. u r comparing acorti like a human murderer, theres a difference in humans and animals also

    • Michele From Ohio

      He shot tiny kittens in front of children. He is an a**hole and an embarrassment to the town of North Ridgeville. This incident has made national news. Believe me, people now regard N. Ridgeville as a “dump” as well due to this poor excuse of a humane officer’s actions.

      • PAY_UP

        There is noplace that I have read that the children watched him shoot the kittens. They were inside of the home at the time.
        As far as Ridgeville being a dump I tottally disagree. There are not many safe areas to raise children nowadays however but North Ridgeville is one of them. I grew up in North Ridgeville and plan to return in the future.
        This one officers single judgement call will not turn North Ridgeville into a dump by any means.

      • hottamomma

        the children was in the house. they said the children heard a cun shot and came outside. now if that is true the parent should be charge with craziness, when u hear a gun shot u dont run and see whats going on, you r suppose to drop to the ground and hope its not coming towards u

        • Artful D

          “the children was in the house”….
          You’re not only ignorant, “hottamom”.. you’re semi-literate too. Get back in your hole

          • hottamomma

            the kids were in the house, what part of that dont u understand? u r all the way illiterate. punk!

      • hottamomma

        i watch my uncle kill a deer when i was younger and it didnt affect me. i said when can we eat

        • She-Fonz

          So you eat cats too? Cool.

          • Zen Grouch

            I had a delicious cat taco in Mexico City.

            The vendor didn’t tell me it was “gato” until my last bite.

            Thought it was very tender chicken spiced to perfection…

      • Bob Sweatt

        Enjoy your next BIG Mac. But those are OK right?? Because the meat came from ugly cows.

        Your opinion have to merit if you aren’t protesting the closing of all meat based fast food restaurants.

      • Bob Sweatt

        To Michele and Larry. Enjoy your next Big Mac. But those are Ok right?? because the meat comes for big ugly smelly cows. right??

        Your opinion has no merit to me until I see you outside a meat based fast food restaurant protesting their closure.

    • hottamomma

      perfectly put!

  • Michele From Ohio

    WHO said this poor excuse of a human being was ‘well regarded’? His fellow officers? Cops always stick up for each other, no matter what.

    • hottamomma

      they r suppose to stick up for each other like family,. my co workers and i stick up for each other. my family and i stick up for each, weather the other is wrong or not.

      • Michele From Ohio

        U need a dicshunary, troll

        • hottamomma

          no i need more bullets for the cats, you need a mental institution. and i also need a keyboard that the buttons dont stick.

        • hottamomma

          and quit hating on my vocab,(hater) just because you dont no how to shorten words dont hate on me

  • sstflyer

    This was not a split second, life or death officer involved shooting, but an intentional, calculated use of a firearm by a’trained’ law enforcement officer in uniform. All police shootings should be investigated by a trained shooting investigator(s) to determine if the use of a firearm was legal, necessary, justifiable, and reasonable under the circumstances. In my humble opinion, I don’t think Chief Freeman’s quick analysis and clearing of this incident was adequate and covered all the reasonable questions that should be asked. Perhaps the county sheriff’s department or the district attorney’s office should investigate?

  • NR resident

    What’s next? Culling the deer herd in Ridgeville?

    • hottamomma

      next people will be protesting about a dead bug. oh my he stepped on the bug and the bug didnt have a voice

  • Patti in Portland

    This is a horrific situation. Both Barry Accorti and Mike Freeman should be fired !!!! How is this correct ??? Done in front of CHILDREN !!!! Pure and simple—this is Unacceptable behavior by anyone, but by a COP —- ???? Get RID of these two dipshidiots !!!!

  • Pam Whiteside

    It is obvious this is the typical small town Ohio police dept that just doesn’t record bad behavior. Just because they didn’t record it doesn’t mean he really has a good record.