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PIB police 'out of your minds'

Register • Jul 18, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Criticism of Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela ratcheted up this month as criminal trials of two island hotel employees continued at a slow and agonizing pace.

But Lampela, who skipped a court ordered appearance at a hearing earlier this month related to one of the strange arrests, continues to be a no-show as more questions arise about his leadership.

Two employees of the Put-in-Bay Resort were arrested in September after they refused to talk with police about the hotel's decision to fire another employee.

A third employee was arrested a day earlier after she was unable to immediately provide vendor contracts for a golf cart the resort rented to a guest. Police were investigating a parking violation when they arrested the third employee.

Video surveillance from the hotel's front desk shows how shocked employees were by police behavior.

"Do you have a warrant, officers?" a hotel attorney who was present asked the officers. 

"You're an attorney. You know we handle it later. We don't handle it now," the officer sternly responds. 

The exchange begins at about 2:37 minutes into the surveillance video, which can be viewed at this link, after the first arrest that's also shown in the surveillance. 

The police officer insists the employee, who is at the front desk working, come with him to the police station to be questioned. 

The employee asks how he can assist the officer and tells him he is declining the invitation to go with him to the police station. 

"You're under arrest for unlawful restraint," the officer tells the employee as he slaps handcuffs on him.

"You guys are out of your minds," the employee protests. "Unbelievable." 

 Lampela has refused to return phone calls or comment on the arrests. Island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli also has refused to respond to questions.

She said months ago she was conducting an investigation of the arrests, but she's not contacted any of the hotel staff or the owners since then. 

Lampela was asked via email this morning to review the video and identify the officers involved. 

Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan, who allegedly authorized the strange arrests, also has ducked comment and refused to provide information about his involvement. 

The owners of Put-in-Bay Resort have asked Mulligan to drop the charges against the employees and have also asked Village Council to address Lampela's leadership and the un-professional behavior of Put-in-Bay police officers.

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