MARIETTA - A Marietta man, upset over a civil case in Wood County, is now challenging his subsequent arrest in Marietta.
Jeremy Richards, 39, of 100 Cisler Lane, Apt. C8, has filed several documents in Washington County Common Pleas Court, requesting documents and making complaints against the three arresting officers.
According to the police report from his arrest, the Marietta Police Department received a call Oct. 31 from the office of Wood County Family Court Judge Darren Tallman. Richards had allegedly told an employee at the judge's office that he planned to kill himself with a gun.
Sgt. Len Ritchie, Patrolman John Hanson and Patrolman Jon Blasko responded to Richards' apartment building and eventually arrested him for disorderly conduct/ cease and desist. The report says the officers found no weapons on him but that Richards then failed to respond to orders and wouldn't cease his "turbulent behavior." There was also a note that he was difficult to book at the jail and that he made "anti-government statements" to law enforcement.
Richards names all three officers in the filing, accusing them of "terroristic threatening, kidnapping, bullying, and fabrication of charges" among other things; however, the documents do not make it clear if Richards is suing or simply filing a complaint against the officers.
"There was no crime committed and I was falsely arrested," he said in the filing. "If we allow police to continually abuse people it won't be long till (it's) someone close to you falsely arrested."
Though Richards is being represented by public defender Ray Smith for his criminal trial regarding the arrest, he does not have representation in his civil filings. All of the documents filed thus far have been handwritten on ruled paper.
In the initial document, filed Nov. 2, he does ask that the officers be disarmed and "placed on leave until this matter is resolved."
Capt. Jeff Waite of the Marietta Police Department said the three officers are still working.
"I don't believe the officers did anything wrong," said Waite.
However, he declined to comment further because both the civil complaint filed by Richards and the criminal case against him are still pending.
Ritchie, Hanson and Blasko did not return messages seeking comment.
In subsequent filings, Richards also takes issue with at least three emails that were sent by the Marietta Police Department to police and city employees warning them that Richards was a danger. He claims the police were trying to intimidate him and make him feel unsafe by sending the messages.
"This email pictures me and my truck and license plate number and alarming accusations and hearsay," he wrote.
The email received by all city personnel contained a photograph of Richards and his vehicle. It began: "EXTREME CAUTION!!!!!!!! Known to Carry Weapons."
According to an earlier email that was only sent to MPD personnel, Richards had told officers that he has a "long gun" in his apartment.
Richards said in his court paperwork those emails have had a damaging effect.
"Even my landlord was aware of (the) email," he said in one filing.
According to the police, the emails were sent out after Richards was observed in a city parking lot photographing employee vehicles.
Finally, Richards states he has not received requested documents. Specifically, he has asked for personnel files for the three officers, a copy of the police report and video and audio footage of the arrest. The Marietta Police Department said they have not furnished the records.
Waite said the department does not videotape all arrests and he did not believe a tape existed of Richards' arrest.
He referred questions about the other public records to Marietta City Law Director Paul Bertram III.
Bertram initially said that public employees' personnel files are not public record.
However, Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's office, said personnel files are public records, although certain information within them, such as Social Security numbers, must be removed before they can be viewed.
Richards specifically requested disciplinary actions, which the Ohio Sunshine Law also stipulates as public record.
Contacted again, Bertram changed his answer, saying that while employee personnel files are public record, Richards has not been given the files because defendants in criminal proceedings can not seek records through a public records request. Rather criminal defendants and those involved in civil lawsuits must go through discovery.
"In any litigation which is civil litigation there is a process of discovery. He could potentially file something through the court and the court would make a decision," said Bertram.
Richards also said in a Nov. 16 filing that he has not been given a copy of the police report from his arrest. However, Smith said the MPD has since provided his office with that document.
In that filing, Richards also asked for a cash settlement, though no amount was given.
Bertram has filed a motion for dismissal, stating that the plaintiff failed "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."
"I'm not sure what he is asking for," said Bertram.
The initial filing seemed to be more of a request for discovery than an actual complaint, he said in the motional for dismissal.
Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer has denied the motions to continue and motions to change venue. She has not ruled to dismiss the case to date.
Richards didn't return a message seeking comment this week.
The only criminal charge listed for Richards in Washington County is the disorderly conduct/cease and desist charge.
Officials with Wood County Circuit Court would not provide information about any criminal charges there without an official request, which has now been made by The Marietta Times.
Richards does have a pending case involving child support in Wood County.