VIDEO: Strange island arrests

Hotel employees dumbfounded at lengthy probe of questionable charges
Alex Green
Jul 18, 2014

green@oc-register.com

A trial involving an allegedly unfair arrest unrelated to violations of the law was delayed a third time Thursday.

Lisa Cooper, general manager of Put-in-Bay Resort, and two others who say they were unfairly arrested by Put-in-Bay police in September all have been chomping at the bit to show audio and video surveillance from the arrests in court.

Watch the video in the player below

The surveillance evidence also has been made available to police, island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli and Village Council members, but thus far there have been no takers. 

Cooper was arrested on an obstruction charge when she was unable to immediately provide police with golf cart vendor contracts for a police investigation of a parking violation.

The other two other employees were arrested after they refused to talk with police about hotel management's decision to fire another employee and for not immediately issuing a paycheck for the terminated employee.

The "unbelievable" arrests and agonizing ordeal intensified Thursday when Cooper's trial was continued a third time.

Resort officials were told Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan and his assistant prosecutor David Boldt needed more time to review the case, the same reasoning provided in March when the trial was delayed. 

The case against one employee was dropped earlier this year, but Cooper's trial and the other employee's case remain pending in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

PIB Resort officials want Mulligan to immediately take steps to get the remaining charges dismissed. 

Mulligan has declined to comment on the status of the misdemeanor cases.

He said Thursday that Boldt was leading the prosecution and did not answer questions he was provided in an email from the Register.

Mulligan was asked why the case has been continued three times, what criminal act is being investigated and whether he gave orders to the arresting officer.

— WATCH THE VIDEO

An officer can be heard saying he had orders from Mulligan to make the arrests.

Cooper and her defense attorneys were poised to show Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela, Scarpelli and prosecutors the surveillance of the arrests during a scheduled mediation hearing July 1, but the the mayor and chief failed to attend.

The video and audio depict two terminated employees trying to collect their final paychecks at the resort alongside two PIB police officers when Cooper told them it was not possible to prepare a paycheck on the spot.

The group left, but four officers returned minutes later, threatening a hotel desk employee.

"We could talk about it here and I give you a warning, or we could talk about it at the station and you get arrested," the officer tells the employee.

The woman said she did not wish to talk with officers.

"Put your hands behind your back, you're under arrest," the officer says, promptly handcuffing and detaining her.

Her charges were ultimately dismissed, but police once again overstepped their authority, the employee said.

"It didn't involve me I had nothing to do with (the employees getting fired)," the woman said.

The woman agreed to talk with the Register but asked that her name not be used.

"I knew cases like this happened, but I never experienced it," she said. "Maybe on YouTube, I thought. It was a learning experience for myself. It's nothing I want to be a part of."

Another employee's arrest later that day was also recorded by the hotel's surveillance. 

Suspect tells PIB police 'You guys are out of your minds'

Resort officials told the Register the surveillance equipment was installed to protect the hotel and its staff from police harassment, which has been a problem in the past. 

Cooper was arrested in a separate incident the previous day.

Scarpelli told PIB Resort officials months ago she would conduct an independent investigation.

She was terse when asked by a Register reporter after a Council meeting Monday about her investigation. 

"I'll speak with (the owner) about that," she said.

She stated during the Council meeting she would contact the hotel's owners, but as of lthis morning no contact had been made.

Resort officials say they've been blacklisted along with other businesses, business owners and island residents.

The PIB Resort has been on Lampela's "bad side" since there was a disagreement with him about the village's noise ordinance years ago.

Dennis Rectenwald, an island business owner and retired schools superintendent said he's also on the chief's bad side for talking at council meetings about concerns he has with the police department.

Rectenwald was handcuffed July 11 by a PIB police officer after a traffic stop and detained for 15 minutes before being issued a citation.

Witnesses said police were way over the top in stopping Rectenwald and handcuffing him for a traffic citation. 

*NOTE: VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE

Comments

FSM

Where are all ther people saying that the SR has some vendetta against PIB LE?
Pretty obvious that they are incompetent at best and corrupt at worst.

The Bizness

I am not too worried about it, I don't go to that island very often.

I will continue to call out the SR whenever I think they are piling on an agency, corporation, person, or story just to sell papers though. I think this is one of those cases.

Licorice Schtick

[edit - this reply was to the previous version of the above comment, which advocated letting the the system figure it out.]

If "the system" is corrupt, you can not trust "the system" to "figure it out."

Publishing this sort of exposé is one of the most important roles of the press in a democratic system. Freedom of the press is so important because it can disempower the corrupt. It works best when all the relevant facts are reported, not just one side of the story.

The irony of this incident is that the subject was arrested for remaining silent, and then Miranized - "You have the right to remain silent..."

The Bizness

I don't think the cops are correct, I am simply annoyed at how the Register treats certain stories. They publish article, after article, after article about the same things just to sell papers. It happened with "Justice for Jake", happened with the "Burdine" cases, happened to a lesser extent with the St. Mary's stories, and now this. It is the reason why I don't pay for the paper.

It is fun to stir up controversy in the comment section and see people get angry though :)

Cowboy

I appreciate SR's efforts. But that being said they do need to use spell check and grammar check more often.

On another note, I would have arrested the attorney who didn't know when to zip it. He was clearly interfering with the officers who were just doing their jobs.

And the potty mouth on the lady who summoned the attorney has got to go! What she said about God is inexcusable! Don't stand by her on judgment day!

The Bizness

Don't all attorneys need to know when to zip it? lol

FedupIslander

Hey Cowpoke...so lets get this straight..one employee exercises her 1st amendment right to free speech, another her 5th amendment to not answer questions of a rouge "officer" and be represented by legal council and you have a problem with this? Something tells me people like you ARE the problem "officer" LMAO

Tool Box

And maybe we are fed up with you islander!

The governed

We all know who the "south shore" cowboy is.

Licorice Schtick

"It is fun to stir up controversy in the comment section and see people get angry though"

It would have been more succinct to say, "it's fun to troll."

The Bizness

Accurate statement

Swiftshot12

Ironic yes! And the register publishing this story is good so that citizens know what they are dealing with.

Truth2u

I wish the Register would ban Bizness, 'its' nothing but a troll.
The Register would be in their right to remove your posts because they don't pertain to the article, which Bizlessbrain admits in his/her next brain dead post.

Everyone knows that your a troll, probably have a few cops in your family, and if so it wouldn't surprise anyone here if the big brave cop handcuffing the 110 pound woman is your son.

Unassumer

I agree. Newspapers are non-biased venues to report what is going on in the world. That they question this situation is not a vendetta. It should be questioned. Police should not have this authority and employees should not be arrested for not immediately cutting a paycheck. I have waited weeks for paychecks when I left certain jobs. Sometimes I had to request it several times before I received it. No one went to jail.

dontknowmuch

Admire law enforcement for the tough job they do, but it appears there are some real d-bags running loose in uniforms on PIB and giving the good part of the law enforcement community a bad name.

Dr. Information

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

holysee

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

sandtown born a...

Sue sue sue until they can't get insurance to cover the corrupt individuals running the PIB police

Licorice Schtick

Here's the link to the SR YouTube channel:

http://youtube.com/user/Sandusky...

Julian

Not saying whether the police did or did not do anything wrong, but if they had orders from the county prosecutor, then they didn't have much of a choice. If they would not have followed those orders, they very well could have been fired and/or charged themselves for not doing their job. If the prosecutor did tell them to make an arrest than that's on him.

Darwin's choice

"....calling it your job 'ol Fred still don't make it right.."

If those idiots (police) had any sense, they would have backed off.

Babo

Firstly, the county prosecutor does not and should not direct a village police force. It's up to police to investigate and or respond to allegations of a crime and determine whether probable cause exists to make an arrest or charge a crime. Seeking a final paycheck upon termination is not a criminal matter but a civil matter between employer and employee.

Secondly, it would be interesting to know the names of the two terminated employees and what influence or connections they have to: 1) use the prosecutor to apply pressure to obtain their last checks in a purely civil matter, and 2) use several police officers to harass a local business in a purely civil matter.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Babo. It's been suggested the terminated employee was the girlfriend of one of the PIB police officers. That has not been confirmed. PIB Chief Ric Lampella and Mulligan have not responded to inquiries from the Register.

Babo

Thank you for the information.

The Bizness

Hey Matt, I don't think you should be spreading rumors

Babo

Any alleged relationship between the complaining witness and law enforcement is relevant information in a criminal case and would need to be disclosed in the criminal case. Also, it would interesting to learn the reason(s) for terminating the employee.

The Bizness

Sure it would be, but the Register isn't a prosecutor. They are a news agency and their job should be to report facts.

Babo

Their job under the First Amendment includes serving as the watchdog on government and that includes police officers and prosecutors who abuse their power/office to advance personal agendas. Possible motive/bias is an important part of any story alleging official wrongdoing.

In any event, I don't think stating that others have suggested the complainant is a girlfriend of a police officer is gossip.

MiddleRight

Maybe if the prosecutor or the mayor would actually take a look at the case, the Register wouldn't need to be doing their work for them.

Nemesis

"They are a news agency and their job should be to report facts."

And Matt reported facts - that they had received information to that effect but were as yet unable to corraborate it.

NPR reported that the administration said the missile that downed that airliner came from separatist controlled territory, but didn't present the evidence until later reports. That's the nature of reporting an evolving situation.

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