Leave Feedback

Stop playing dumb

Matt Westerhold • Aug 25, 2014 at 2:56 AM

The Put-in-Bay police department told the Register “its lawyer” recently instructed officers to change the way they file crime reports.

Its lawyer is law director George Wilber, and Wilber's keeping a tight lip on whatever instructions he gave the department.

“My office has no public records relating to your request,” he wrote in reply to an Aug. 15 inquiry from the Register.

Crime reports from the PIB police reviewed by the Register recently don't appear to be in compliance with what the Ohio Revised Code requires.

About a dozen different reports either did not list identities of suspects charged with crimes or do not list the circumstances that led to arrests. State law requires police departments properly document interaction with the public and list those details in arrests reports.

Wilber was asked specifically about the officer's comment that the law director instructed the department to withhold required information from crime reports.

Wilber did not respond to that one or to any of the questions from the Register about the changes. He would not say if he intended to review the new practice the department adopted to assure it complies with state law.

Mulligan sent a similar reply, stating his office did not generate any public record regarding the changes the PIB police department has made in the way it reports crime.

PIB police Chief Ric Lampella did not respond to the inquiry for additional information, or provide an explanation why critical and required information was omitted from those arrest reports.

State laws require proper documentation of police interaction with the public and are designed to protect citizen rights against false arrest and manufacture of evidence. The department already faces challenges from the community on those fronts.

For nearly a year, the owners, managers and employees of Put-in-Bay Resort and their attorneys have complained about the false arrests of three employees at the hotel. 

They complained to everyone from Lampella to Mayor Margaret Scarpelli, Wilber and Mulligan. They documented the arrests at the hotel's front desk in surveillance video and made the video available to all four public officials.

The response from all four has been to play dumb.

Lampela is so dumb to the problem, or intentionally oblivious to it he asked Village Council to promote the officer who made the false arrests. The police chief told Council Sgt. Steve Korossy “would fix the problems” in the department and asked for Korossy's annual pay to be bumped up to $50,000.

Council voted it down — twice — by a 4-2 margin, and then voted to bump down Korossy's pay to $8 per hour to a maximum of $160 per week. 

Two of the three criminal cases against the PIB Resort employees remain pending. Mulligan has refused to say what his intentions are with the remaining cases.

The employees have spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and no public official has responded to the allegations Korossy falsely arrested them.

At the time of the arrests Korossy told hotel staff Mulligan approved the action. His statement that Mulligan approved the arrests is documented in the surveillance video and in Korossy's arrest report.

Mulligan has given conflicting responses to questions about his involvement, however, according to hotel officials. He has since refused to clarify whether he did authorize the arrests.

Lampella, Wilber, Scarpelli and Mulligan combined haven't provided 10 useful words or a plausible sentence in response to serious complaints about the police department.

The civil rights violations and the false arrests were captured on video, documented with some clarity. The hotel surveillance of the arrests seem to clearly show Korrosy was out of bounds — way out — when he and three other PIB police officers cuffed the employees and hauled them off to jail.

It's time now for Lampella, Scarpelli, Wilber and Mulligan to finally figure out the right thing to do, and do it.

The time period for playing dumb and the no-account approach has expired.

Recommended for You