She says, they say

Woman claims PIB police 'knocked her down' after she called for assistance
Alex Green
Aug 24, 2014

green@oc-register.com

She's spent much of the last four years trying to sue the Put-in-Bay police department.

Virginia Blumensaadt is now taking her case to the Ohio Supreme Court after losing in Ottawa County Municipal and Common Pleas courts. And in the Sixth District of the Ohio Court of Appeals.

Blumensaadt, 69, alleges she broke her arm in August 2010 when she was thrown to the ground by Put-in-Bay police officer Matthew Plesz. Family members of Blumensaadt told the Register they've seen the X-rays displaying the fracture, and others witnessed the alleged police brutality.

The incident began when Blumensaadt was visiting her son's restaurant Axel and Harry's when he called police to help with a rowdy National Guard crew that refused to leave.

The inebriated men were calling customers and staff racial slurs, and the Blumensaadt's wanted them to leave. She called police when they wouldn't.

"They got after my son," Blumensaadt said. "It's his business, instead of doing anything to the Army boys."

The call to police did not help matters, she said.

A police report of the incident states Blumensaadt's son was intoxicated and boisterous, pointing his finger at officers and allegedly pushing one.

Virginia said he might have been demanding but largely because how the customers were behaving.

Her son was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

Like any mother would, Blumensaadt walked over to the area where her son was handcuffed and taken down to the ground. She then walked away when an officer instructed her to, she said.

Even though she complied with orders, police allegedly treated her like a dangerous convict.

"I was pushed from the back down to the ground," Blumensaadt said. "I broke my arm. I fell on my hands and knees."

Her story is consistent with former Put-in-Bay officer Ryan Wurst's recollection of his tenure working for Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela from 2005 to 2010. He said Lampela told him and other officers to "target" the Blumensaadt's and other island residents and families.

Wurst recently said he was suspended and subsequently fired when he refused to cite another Blumensaadt for her dog running loose.

"I know what's wrong, what's right," Wurst said. "I'm going to do what's right every time."

Blumensaadt knows she is fighting an uphill battle in court, largely because she has represented herself from the start. She hired a local attorney but fired him when he asked for $10,000 up front, she said, just a few days before Aug. 26, 2011: a year after the incident and the last day she could legally sue.

The Put-in-Bay police department has come under fire recently from a variety of sources. The department's been accused of harassing local businesses, violating civil rights and using excessive force.

Blumensaadt said she's been contacted by Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick, who told her he wants one of his detective's to interview her about what occurred when her son was arrested.

Levorchick declined comment about her complaint.

At this point, Blumensaadt wants to help stimulate change within the much maligned police department.

"I want to keep (the lawsuit) going because it's important," she said, referring to behavior of officers as "outrageous."

Comments

FedupIslander

Kudos to this officer who has come forward to point out and expose some of the graft and corruption of the Put-in-Bay Police FARCE. Hopefully the Mayor and the two lone holdouts who continue to support this type of behavior will finally see the light and take action to rid the island of these thugs. Only a fool could continue to enable and support this type of targeting and abuse of power.

Tool Box

Check with your insurance company, maybe they can find you a dollar! Then you can pay the lawyer!

Digger-Nick

Pretty interesting the former officers are coming forward (I hear there are over 5) who are confirming this police misconduct over there. Look for the rainbow squad leader to now attempt to discredit these officers, wait he does not respond! Targeting, graft, payoffs, it will all come out soon. Busting down one crooked cop to 8 bucks an hour was just a start. Will be interesting how long the mayor will be stupid enough to try to cover up for him.

knowitall

Now these are cops gone wild. Their arrogance is unnerving. These guys should be indicted.

Digger-Nick

Pretty sure they will be soon, a mayor too?

knowitall

Hope you are right on all counts.

Babo

Whatever lawyer she spoke with initially gave her really bad advice. Yes she had only one year to file any intentional tort action against the officers in state court. However, her better cause of action was a federal civil rights case against PIB police and then she could have rolled the state tort claims into that lawsuit as as pendant claims. In other words she could have filed this in federal court and might have gotten a fairer shake than in Ottawa County.

Also, this family has money..lots of it. Why the heck is she representing herself? If she or better yet her son were truly serious about winning, they should have hired a good civil rights lawyer from out of the area and undertaken a major publicity campaign.

{Edit} Here's the link to the dismissal of her lawsuit in the Sixth District Court of Appeals. http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov...

After reading this, she really needed to hire an attorney because she didn't present case correctly from the start. That's a shame because she might have had a good case and had it been presented properly there might have been earlier questions asked about the PIB police and government.

However, IMO she's wasting her time and money taking this up to the Ohio Supreme Court and she might get slapped with having to pay the legal fees for PIB if she keeps this up. She'd be far better off working with other residents who share her views in trying to get a federal investigation of the PIB police and government for civil rights violations.

Skinny boy from...

My guess is that no lawyers would take the case for what she was willing to pay and they did think it was winnable so they won't take it for a percentage of the judgement. As for her son he pleaded guilty, not no contest, to Disorderly Conduct so he has no case with his admission of guilt. I wish the Register put up all the information and reports for us to see and judge for ourselves. I think they are actually on to something but they need to stick to the facts. Their editorials and half information stories such as this bring distraction and doubt into the story.

Babo

Your point about contingency is valid as are your comments below concerning publishing the records. However, in my experience in this area, most if not all area attorneys will not file suits against area law enforcement or government agencies regardless of the merit of the case because they do not want to rock the boat. The $10,000 fee was not unreasonable if the lawyer was going to file the case in federal court and argue excessive force/failure to train/violations of civil rights against the department and officers. Seems to me this lady is headstrong and didn't want to pay for the professional services she required as she doesn't have the necessary education to present her case pro se. Again, that's a shame because she has the resources and could have been a leader with the right attorney in exposing alleged PIB PD problems

Also, I agree with you that it would be very helpful if all relevant court dockets and public reports were provided in these PIB police stories. Where there's smoke there is fire and all these cases facially appear to be problematic.

However, the Ottawa County Municipal Court doesn't seem to have the dockets for these alleged excessive force/false arrest cases on line and that contributes to the perception that cover ups of alleged police misconduct are occurring and that the legal community (prosecutors, law directors, court clerks, and judges)are cooperating in protecting that alleged misconduct.

For example, it would helpful to review the alleged resort false arrest case dockets that have pended for nearly a year now without a dismissal. That amount of time coupled with the secrecy (no arrest reports, no public docket) strongly suggests to me that the prosecutors, law director and court are also involved and have some interest in perpetuating civil rights abuses rather than protecting citizens' rights.

goofus

Good to see the few that were at the scene of the crime!!

goofus

Isn't it incredible that people who publically avow no connection between them and the business community can be so adamant at the current mayor and police chief. Sounds like one of the two should run for mayor.
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Julian

I know PIB has some issues right now, but this situation leaves me wondering a few things. Like why has she lost all of her civil cases? Why should we consider any of this when she is basically a suspect? Why is there no account of her actions from the police officers report? It sounds like to me she attempted to interfere with an arrest and refused to leave the immediate area, which is obviously a crime.

Skinny boy from...

I was wondering the same thing. Babo's link above provides more information about the appeals case. Basically she didn't follow numerous rules of procedure. I'm guessing the $10,000 fee was because the lawyer thought the case was not going to succeed and he wanted to make sure he was paid in advance for his time and effort. I did find that her son pleaded guilty to Disorderly Conduct with Persistence. I was wondering what the out come of her criminal case was too. The register should post the police report, as well as the audio and video tapes that she attempted to get into the record of the appeals court. Let us judge for ourselves. If they won't it makes me wonder what they are hiding, and this becomes another distraction from the real story. Judging from the extensive court records this family may not be the best standard bearer.

Julie R.

@Julian: Hate to be blunt, but who really cares if this situation leaves you wondering a few things about Ottawa County ........ a county that we all know is just as worthless and corrupt as Erie County!

Julian

I wasn't wondering about Ottawa County, I was wondering questions about the Register's reporting. Again, you're not really producing any factual, logical comments when you're rambling on about your own personal life.

Julie R.

This woman hired a local attorney and then fired him when he asked for $10,000 up front?

That sure does sound familiar. Sounds similar to what an attorney pulled off on me. Is this a scam that attorneys & courts are pulling off or what?

After initially bilking me out of $5,000, I found out the crook attorney I had was working against me in illegal collusion with the Erie County probate court & the attorneys on the other side by (1.) filing & dismissing bogus complaints on my behalf without my knowledge against 2 financial institutions & the executrix to her stepfather's Erie County probate estate in the jurisdiction of Cuyahoga County --- a jurisdiction that had nothing to do with the Erie County probate estate of my mother OR my stepfather, who were life-long Erie County residents and (2.) he also filed a scam partition action on my behalf without my knowledge in the common pleas court of Binette to have my deceased mother & stepfather's property sold at a scam sheriff sale. After I found this out, I fired the d-bag and demanded my files. He not only refused to give me my own files, he also had the nerve to send me a $10,000.00 bill with charges so BOGUS they were almost comical ....... for example, he had me charged $2,000 for "reviewing documents from KeyBank", yet the crook told me KeyBank refused to honor his subpoena.

Once again, this obviously is a scam that's going on in all of these counties.

Julian

Hate to be blunt, but, nobody cares

Julie R.

With all the senior citizens out there, sweetheart, not to mention all the baby boomers coming up, you better care ....... unless you're one of the scummy attorneys that work in criminal collusion with your clones at the courthouse.