Thursday, September 23, 2004

Officer's actions justified, jury told

By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

The lawyer for fired Forest Park police officer Todd Halusek told jurors Wednesday that his client did use force on a handcuffed teen suspect.

But that force was justified, lawyer Merlyn Shiverdecker told jurors during Halusek's first day on trial on a misdemeanor assault charge in Hamilton County Municipal Court. The teen had argued with the officer and struggled with him at the Hamilton County juvenile jail.

The struggle was captured on the jail's security cameras.

Halusek, 33, a Forest Park officer since 1998, is charged in connection with the March 25 arrest of a then-17-year-old suspect.

Halusek arrested the teen on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Hamilton County Juvenile Court later dropped that charge.

Halusek was fired May 25 for violating department policy after a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on the assault charge.

He is appealing his termination.

On the day the teen was arrested, he repeatedly barraged Halusek and other officers with profanity and derogatory comments, Shiverdecker said.

Halusek called twice for extra help to get the teen under control: once at the police station's holding cell when he struck a "fighting stance," and again after he tried to slip out of his handcuffs during the drive to the county juvenile jail, Shiverdecker said.

Assistant City Prosecutor Kenneth B. Baylen said that the teen did not do anything once he was at the juvenile jail to warrant Halusek putting his arms around him, lifting him up, slamming him to the ground and pinning him down.

Jail workers, Baylen told jurors, were shocked by Halusek's actions.


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