Ohio Cop On Trial

May 11, 2010

All Posts, News

The trial of Thomas White, a part-time, small town cop who gunned down a biker named Michael McCloskey last year in Ottawa Hills, Ohio after a routine traffic stop, began yesterday in Toledo.

White is charged with felonious assault with a gun specification. He faces a maximum sentence of eleven years imprisonment. The trial is expected to last all week.

Four witnesses took the stand today including the victim who is now 25. McCloskey (pictured above) has been paralyzed from the waist down since May 23rd, 2009 when White changed his life.

Do Not Exceed 25

McCloskey told the court that it was a Friday night and he was coming home from work. He and a friend named Aaron Snyder were riding their Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Ottawa Hills, near Toledo, about 2:15 am. Dash cam video of the incident shows that both men came to complete stops at a traffic control and then sped out of the intersection.

The complete dash cam video follows this story. The video was played in court yesterday. This copy is courtesy of the Toledo Blade.  Be warned that the video begins with a commercial advertisement.

McCloskey testified that because of the noise of the motorcycles he did not immediately hear the police car siren behind him. Nevertheless, both bikes stopped within five seconds of being lit up. The official police report states that the two men were stopped for exceeding the 25-miles-per-hour speed limit. Snyder was also charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, riding with a suspended license and “failure to comply.” All three of those charges were dismissed in February. McCloskey was not cited.

Don’t Mess With White

White emerged from his patrol car with his gun drawn and ordered McCloskey off the bike. White has previously stated that he ordered McCloskey to raise his hands and that when the biker did not immediately comply he felt threatened. Today in court, McCloskey testified “I believe I was in the process of shifting from gear to neutral when I was shot…. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to comply.”

McCloskey was seriously burned by his exhaust pipes when he collapsed and the bike fell on him. Although he was paralyzed he could still feel the hot exhaust burning into him. That burned leg is still injured a year later. It still hurts and it may have to be amputated. Officers on scene refused to move the bike off McCloskey. When Snyder ran to his friend’s side and asked the officers for help lifting the bike the police replied, “He’s your friend. You get the bike off of him.” McCloskey’s screams of pain can be heard on the video.

White’s partner, Christopher Sargent also testified today. He told the jury that White thought “the motorcyclists were messing with him and he wanted to stop them.” He also testified that White later told him that he “hoped he hadn’t fucked up and he didn’t want to end up in jail.”

The Piece Of Work Lawyer

Officer White is represented in this matter by a pettifogger named Jerry Phillips. During his opening statement yesterday, Phillips told the jury White was “doing his job” in a situation that was “tense and fluid.”

At a preliminary hearing last month Phillips tried to seal the video. “We’re concerned about the deprivation of rights to present a full case,” Phillips explained.

Phillips also asserted that White is the real victim. “Obviously, he has to live with the fact that Mr. McCloskey is paralyzed as a result of his actions,” was how Phillips spun that one. “It has a devastating effect on him. I think it’s very difficult to feel responsible for another human being’s suffering.”

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33 Responses to “Ohio Cop On Trial”

  1. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    I couldn’t watch the whole thing. Some pussy ass pig needs a judge who’ll order the needle (good luck) for totally destroying this innocent boy’s life. It’s heartbreaking.

    YYZ Skinhead

  2. DocB Says:

    Not Suprised

    Good luck with your case man


  3. The Creep Says:

    Not Surprised,

    I wasn’t flying any kind of colors. To be fair, they had every right to pull me over, as I was getting a bit rambunctious with my straight pipes and throttle, and I didn’t get beaten up or tased so I am very thankful for that. You’d swear by the time I was released the next day that I was a celebrity with all the cops that were asking if I was the motorcycle guy haha. But when they first rolled up on me they deffinately felt some kind of major threat which led to me being very careful and extremely non-chalant (spelling?) about the whole thing. If they feel like you’re bein jumpy, that makes them jumpy, and I don’t really like irritated po-lice men with guns drawn to be jumpy towards me.

    Best of luck with court. Hope it all works out.

  4. troll7552 Says:

    wow mclosky looked like an average biker enthuiast, hope im not out of line but i didnt see no 1% patch or mc on the back. i laid on the ground for an hour at a time every time i was pulled over.gods grace i havent been capped, i got a big fuckin mouth when that happens.respects to all

  5. Miss Krista Says:

    This back shooting was too close to home after having my husband recently killed the same way by another coward for no reason other than he thought he was better than us and therefore we needed to just take shit off him forever, which seems to be what “law enforcement” thinks the rest of us should do. Rebel you are right something needs to be done but again right that probably nothing will be. I hope in this case you’re wrong but I can’t even imagine what could happen at this point to straighten out the mess this has all become. Nookster, Chainsaw, the Creep I share your complete outrage when I saw this it was too emotional for me to even comment until now. There was nothing threatening about that legal full stop. Bless that young man and his family and may hell rain down on that backshooting coward SOB who changed his life forever for nothing more than a knee jerk ego reaction to what appears to him feeling he was dis’d.

  6. Not Surprised Says:

    Know I’ve posted a lot today….just want to thank everyone for the well wishes, etc….

  7. RVN69 Says:

    Not Surprised,The Creep and others,
    We have all been on the wrong side of a police/citizen interaction and gratefully we all survived basicly intact. Sounds like maybe we have all had interaction with cops who weren’t so bad too. Things I remember about the bad and the good, listening to the sound of the deputies voice go up an octave each time he gave me a command, recognizing that his finger was on the trigger (Old Firearms instructor habits never die) part of my mind recognizing that the pistol pointed at my face was probably a 9mm, 40 or 45, but looked like the end of a 5gal bucket at the time. Things I remember about the good cop, how even toned his voice was, how he positioned himself so I was always in an awkward position while still seated on my bike and could have never touched him or threatened him with a weapon before he could have drawn and shot me. and the surprise of him saying “all vets deserve a break” before letting me go scot free for 96 in a 55. Not Surprised, your right, you shoulda knocked his teeth out, once you touch em, you might as well get your money’s worth!!

    I’ve watched the video of this shooting several times, the cop fires while off camera, and apparently immediately holsters his weapon because as he enters the frame from the left he is drawing again, and this time keeps his finger off the trigger. One can sumise from this that the shooting was intentional as he apparently knew good weapons handling techniques as displayed when he drew the weapon for the second time. I question him holstering the weapon immediately after firing the shot, was he trying to hide the fact that he had done it, I believe there is a psychological explanation for that, kinda like when people cover their mouths when the are lying. My gut feeling is that this was not an accidental shooting, the cop was pissed off at the bikers for what he felt was lack of respect and he was going to make them pay. Nookster you are dead right about the time, Pagan’s in West Va are looking at more time for doing nothing than this guy is for attempted murder.

    Respect to all that have earned it
    Si vis Pacem, Parabellum.

  8. Rebel Says:

    Dear NooKster,

    My best guess is that White is looking at one to four.


  9. Nookster Says:

    11 fucking years? WTF? For trying to kill an unarmed, non-threatening man and paralyzing him for the rest of his life. Hell, they were trying to give Pagans more time than that for selling a $200.00 raffle ticket. There’s still lots of states that will give you more time than that for an ounce of weed. How in the fuck can a back shooting coward only get an 11 year sentence max? Even then they will put the punk in protective custody with all the other cops, snitches and child molesters. Does anybody know how much time they do on a state case in Ohio with work time, good time, or early release?

  10. chainsaw Says:

    I have seen some nasty biker wreck videos that made me cringe but watching this guy get shot off his bike really gave me chills.

    Looks like the rider in front could not stop (or hadn’t planned to stop) and had to go left to avoid being hit by the second police car. The victim (McCloskey, not Officer White) came to a full, law abiding stop at the stop sign. White had back-up right there and no reason to be panicky.

    I didn’t see a valid reason for him to pull his pistol. His uncaring, callous attitude after he fucked up really says how big a douchebag he is. Maybe he will meet some bikers in prison who will “educate” him.

    “Pettifogger” – Had to look it up. Thanks for the ongoing education Rebel.

  11. Not Surprised Says:

    The Creep:

    If all that was because you were representing, that’s fucked up. If it was NOT for that reason, it is even more fucked up

  12. The Creep Says:

    Makes me feel lucky when I got rolled up in Fullerton a couple months ago. I did almost the exact same thing. Hauled ass from a red light, stopped eventually when I ran out of gas. But there were 5 po-lice cars behind me before the first one got out of his car, and LOTS of witnesses. They sure were not impressed at how slowly I took my helmet and gloves off and how careful I was to put them somewhere one the bike where they wouldn’t be lost. At this point they informed me of the handguns and tasers they had trained on me to which I responded “I already assumed that to be the case” and I heard a rookie extend his asp (I assume rookie because a higher ranking cop told him to put that shit back). I fully expected to be feel the sting of Tom A. Swift’s Electric Rifle, but it didn’t happen. Rookie kept giving me attitude the rest of the night but the arresting officer let me smoke in their parking lot and didn’t make me wear any handcuffs after he realized I wasn’t a threat. May 27th is my date with destiny on all that.

  13. Goldsboro Williams Says:


    I can’t help but hope that you are wrong. If that is the true mindset of most cops then we are in a world of hurt. Even though my belief is not much better, at least it just assumes callousness and narcissism, instead of psychosis.

    Is everyone a potential killer? Most, yes. I have met one or two that I would question their ability to survive, or their willingness to kill if necessary, but for the most part I agree with you. I just hope that the combat mindset does not make it into the mainstream of society, and instead remains reserved for the actual battlefield. Of course, after 8+ straight years of sending kids overseas to fight, that might be a pipe dream.

    As far as the shock probation, yes Ohio has it. Yes, some asshats get to take advantage of it, but so do a lot of decent people, so I can’t speak against it. Having once been a young person that was prone to severe bouts of momentary stupidity, I feel for the ones that life doesn’t cut a break to now and then. Little things like the potential of shock probation are sometimes all that people have to hope for. Does he deserve shock pro? If he admitted the truth and was contrite, maybe… but for showing such disregard for the welfare of another when he was sworn to protect them… I’m thinking no.

    As far as the amount of the civil suit, lets hope that is just an initial stated amount. I sincerely hope that they intend to seek punitive damages against the agency/municipality as well. I think leaving the bike on him speaks volumes. They should probably start by asking for 10K for every second they left that on top of him.

  14. Not Surprised Says:


    Shoved him, exactly. Good guess. Thing is, he went to a chiropractor.

    Annoying is right. In retrospect I wish I had knocked his teeth out.

  15. Not Surprsied Says:


    I’ve read a bit about “random” plate checks while cops are out in traffic. Don’t know about all states but NC takes the position THEY own the plate so there is no “probable cause” exlcusion to randomly verifying plates on a vehicle where there is no other reasonable suspicion.

    For my part, I gambled doing it in the first place. I’n guessing this is what wnet through his head:

    He saw the plate was not matched to the car and he lit me up. I pulled into a parking lot, front wheels against the curb and he was almost touching my rear bumper (pre-felony stop?).

    First thing he asked was my name which also did not match the owner of the plates. He got my lincense. Now I don’t know for sure, but I am a regsitered gun owner and NC is an opne carry state.

    Of course there were “other things” but no active warrants. I guess when the second cruiser pulled up, having a weapon drawn did not come as a huge surprise.

    He did not scream, yell commands or call me “motherfucker.”. There was a complete absence of ego and adrenaline on both parts. Gun stayed up just long enough for me to grab the wheel and him to see me reach for the door handle.

    I don’t know why he pulled his weapon and I sure did not stick around long enough to ask…

    When we got done, he did write a warning citation, told me “I have to do this to account for my time” or something like that, but said I could throw it away.

    I told he he had ” a good eye.” and left………

  16. Beowulf Says:

    Thanks for the info Rebel. I would think being paralyzed would carry a much higher price tag. The cop panicked? What was the guy gonna do pick up his bike and throw it at him??? The cop had in his mind a split second to react, he chose wrong. Add the fact that they wouldn’t pick the bike up off of him. This is a no brainer! Guilty motherfucker, see ya in 11 years, if ya make it!

  17. Rebel Says:

    Dear DirtyBruin,

    Oh man, you know there ain’t no justice. White will go to a minimum security lockup and if he is in any danger he will be segregated. In Ohio, he can apply for something like “shock release.” I forget what it is called but it is something like that. The idea is that first offenders will often be so shocked by the penitentiary that they only need to do a year.

    My guess is that White will do just the one minute. It will be a shitty year but it won’t be horrific. No matter what happens to him, no matter how sincerely contrite he becomes, no matter how big an asshole he remains, it will never erase those five minutes that were recorded on that dashcam.


  18. Rebel Says:

    Dear Goldsboro Williams,

    One of the things I learned from being in a war is that everybody is a killer. There is a line in one of James Jones’ books, I think it is The Thin Red Line, where a guy is in combat for the first time and he thinks to himself, “I can kill anybody I want and nobody can touch me.” Maybe Officer White is more evil than you and I or maybe he is not. I don’t know the guy. My best guess is that he was acting out a war movie in his head. I think a lot of cops, not most but a lot, think, “I can kill anybody I want and nobody can touch me.”

    I think that at least part of the problem is that lots of police in lots of agencies have been encouraged to have fantastic, self-dramatizing notions about who they are and what they are doing. Many police really think they are heros. I am pretty sure that when White shot a defenseless, harmless, compliant young man in the back he thought he was being a “hero.” I think when he let him lay there with the hot pipes burning through his leg he was exercising some kind of vigilante justice.

    I think this issue of the relationship between police and citizens might be the pre-eminent threat to democracy in 2010. I think it is as important an issue as civil rights was in 1963. Something has to be done. Something’s gotta give. The tragedy is that nothing will be done. More violence will be done.

    My opinion, anyway.


  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear Not Surprised,

    Good story. Felony stops always make good stories. Good luck with that case, too. Very annoying. What did you do? Shove some guy to get him out of your face?

    Anyway, it sounds like the police are still members of the community in Asheville. In my opinion, one of the problems between people like us and people like them as been the “professionalization” of policing. It started in El Lay. Of course. There was a problem with bribery and corruption of police. A Chief named Parker rethought the philosophy of policing to prevent corruption. He came up with a concept he called “Officer as stranger.” I think the idea was that people would not be as inclined to offer bribes or work out informal accomdations with cops who were literally strangers to them. The problem was that the police then started treating everyone the same, like child molesters. Or Pablo fucking Escobar.

    Good luck,

  20. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    Not Surprised:

    I am glad the cop was reasonable. I read a book once entitled, “The Behavior of Law.” One of the writer’s postulates is that, “Law varies directly with rank.” In other words, the people who are least likely to be able to afford it are the most likely to receive the citation and fine. Rich offenders get off with a slap on the wrist for major thefts, while blue collar workers will actually do time for the same crime, ect.

    It is nice when a cop recognizes that his job is not to keep the working man down, but to actually protect those who cannot protect themselves from the truly evil in society. That type of action circumvents the process of law-stratification before it starts.

    As far as him pointing a gun at you, at least he waited to do so until he believed a felony was in progress. I believe that the majority of the officers either, A. do not understand the potential gravity of their actions when they aim a lethal weapon at someone’s body for no valid reason (everyone that was ever a Boy Scout or was taught to shoot by a veteran knows not to do that), or B. They have been taught not to think of the common man as a man, but as a potentially dangerous object that they should always be prepared to destroy.

    Is it possible that under the banner of ‘officer safety’ we have succeeded in training our officers to the point that they are simply nonchalant about taking the liberty and lives of our citizens?


  21. Rebel Says:

    Dear Beowulf,

    McCloskey is suing the village of Ottawa Hills for $300K in a separate action.


  22. JAMES Says:

    NOT SURPRISED, as far as having a gun pointed at you?Any time someone is pointing a gun at you is cause to be alarmed, sounds like it was your lucky day all the way around.

  23. Beowulf Says:

    The cop should be on trial for attemped murder, because that’s what it is. Just another fucking cop trying to get away with shooting an unarmed biker in the back. He is the danger to society and should be locked up for life. I’d be filing a major civil suit against the city, the police department, and the fucking coward who shot him.

  24. puterindabasketchief Says:

    Not Surprised:

    Good luck tomorrow.

  25. Not Surprised Says:

    Illuminating post Goldsboro:

    Early last week I was stopped in my car because the tag I was using belonged to another vehicle. Guy caught me fair and square. He got my license and went back to his cruiser for what I thought was a rather long time…

    Another cop pulls up after a few minutes and the first cop gets out, draws his weapon and orders me to put my hands on the steering wheel “and do not move them.” Then he had me open the door with one hand step out and lock my hands behind my head.

    He comes right over and cuffs me. This is a traffic stop mind you.

    Well he ran me through and get this: my wife opted to keep her maiden name when we married and the tag was registered to her and since our last names differ…..

    I bought the car from my son, but had no paperwork on it because he is too shit lazy to go to the DMV and get the title for me. (that will happen today.)

    Dude thought he was dealing with a stolen vehicle, that, plus I have a bit of a “history” and a pending assault charge…..

    After we talked (he was at all times very professional) guess what?

    Dude let me go because I told him the truth: the car whose tag I “borrowed” was in the shop and though the car I was driving had no registration, inspection or tag. he said :

    “I’m not out here to jack a working man.”

    This was Asheville NC City PD.

    I’m just saying not all cops are dicks, but having that weapon pointed at me (NOT THE FIRST TME) was hard to take…

    Your comment about training hit home. I don’t think I represented any physical threat, but I was not the one who got to make that decision….. but I guess you could say I’m “experienced” when it comes to dealing with cops and if my demeanor, my body language or my attitude may not have been in check, who the fuck knows what would have happened you know?

    That plus I look suspicious, (lol)

    Court tomorrow on the assualt, by the way…

  26. JAMES Says:

    Finally got one of these GISTAPOS on film, too bad more aren’t caught in the act of doing just as they want to.No way should 11 years and a fine be in order, the video tells it all and this asshole, if he gets off there will be something seriously wrong here.Too bad a few more of these videos don’t surface.

  27. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    Rebel: Good story. I was wondering if you were going to pick up on this one. I have commented before about how officers are trained these days to see everyone as some kind of life-ending threat. They really believe that they need to have their guns out at all times. I want to blame the cop shows (“I’ve got one at gun point!”), but the trainers are at fault for allowing this mindset to exist.

    What I think happened from watching the film (and yes, that is the only thing I have to base my opinion on), is that the cop accidentally shot, and then tried to justify it instead of just admitting that he screwed up. The biker did nothing to justify even a ‘hands-on’ use of force, much less an elevated type of force such as a shooting. Did he deserve a ticket? Some would say yes, some would say no. Did he deserve to be shot?

    I can’t see how anyone could say yes to that. And I don’t think the jury will either. But can you imagine the same trial if the video did not exist?


  28. troyez Says:

    It seems like Officer White has watched way too many episodes of “Gangland,” and “Sons of Anarchy;” his mind was made up that these bikers were gang members (i.e. dangerous criminals) before either bike came to a stop! He shot the guy 8 seconds after he stopped his car! WTF?!?!

    You’re dead-on. White (and Reno did too, but of course, she wasn’t charged) is trying to explain away his crime by throwing the “I’m a victim too,” card – trying to make a member of the jury feel sorry for him. It’s despicable.

    I hope Officer White gets the full 11 years (not enough) and has to pay restitution to Mr. McCloskey for the rest of his life.

    Hopefully there will be justice in this case, as well as for Derek Hale, James Hicks and Russell Doza.

  29. DirtyBruin Says:

    Even if he gets convicted – 11 lousy years for making a 25 year old a paraplegic for life.

    I hope – assuming he gets convicted, of course – White winds up in a prison with inmates who will make his life a living hell every second he’s there. (Given that I understand cops who wind up in prison generally have a rough time, this doesn’t seem like much of an ask.)

  30. I.J Says:

    “To protect and to serve”….. please keep us informed on the progress of this case please Rebel.

  31. Bud Says:

    There is a link to this that was posted by Grumbler on the thread, “Swat murdered Russell Doza”, which has a bit of the trial testimony at the end of the video that shows the attorney for the cop arguing that McCloskey was turning toward the cop and was swinging his right arm around, as if to indicate he was swinging around with a weapon in his hand, which the cop stated he thought he saw a gun. Its clear in the video that McCloskey was only turning his body with his right hand on his thigh and as he turned he never moved his hand from his leg. Pig just shot him out of cowardice.
    Just leaving him lying there and telling his buddy “Hes youre friend, you get the bike off him” I believe falls under the legallity of “failure to render aid”.


  32. RVN69 Says:

    There are so many things to say about this, Why did he have to pull his gun at all, I see nothing in this video to represent a situation where the officer should think his life is in danger. What happened to care for the injured, “He’s your friend, you get the bike off him” WTF is that someone should swing for that also. And last, Ofc White is the real victim because he feels bad!?!?!? I guess he got that one from our infamous former US Attny. General Janet Reno, after barbequing a few dozen people in Waco Tx., she held a press conference where she accepted full resposibility and apoligized for the deaths, then nothing happened to her, no hearings, no resignation, nothing. Hey, she was sorry and felt bad, too bad about all the people that died, I believe she did approximately the same thing after an FBI Sniper shot Vicki Weaver in the head while she held her infant son.

    On some level we need cops, and at times they have a dangerous job, BUT they fucking asked for it, no one drafted them and if they don’t have the balls to show up and do their job without shooting anyone who scares them, then they shouldn’t have the job. The City, State, County, Federal Government that hires and keeps officers like these are morally responsible for their actions and should pay thru the nose.

    Times coming, No Justice, No Peace!
    Respect to all that have earned it.
    Si vis Pacem, Parabellum.

  33. ShootFirst Says:

    Holy shit! The fucking cop just hopped out and shot the guy. That’s fucked up…

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