Ohio Cop Found Guilty

May 14, 2010

All Posts, News

Thomas White, (above) the part-time, small town cop who was video recorded shooting an Ohio biker named Michael McCloskey a year ago, has been found guilty of felonious assault with a firearms enhancement. The jury returned the verdict around 7:30 pm Eastern Time Friday. It took the jurors six hours to reach that conclusion.

McCloskey, then 25 and another man named Aaron Snyder were riding their Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Ottawa Hills, near Toledo, about 2:15 am on May 23rd, 2009. They were stopped for exceeding the 25-miles-per hour speed limit. Both men attempted to comply with police instructions.

Shortly after getting out of his patrol car White shot McCloskey without discernible provocation. McCloskey was instantly paralyzed. His motorcycle fell on him exhaust side down. While the hot exhaust pipes burned through McCloskey’s leg he begged White and another Ottawa Hills Policeman, Christopher Sargent, to pull the bike off him. Snyder ran to McCloskey’s aid and he also asked the police to help him lift the 600 pound motorcycle and the 200 pound man. The police replied, “He’s your friend. You get the bike off of him.” McCloskey is still in constant pain from the burns.

The Trial

The scene was recorded by the dash mounted video cameras in White’s and Sargent’s cruisers. White attempted to have the video evidence suppressed. It was shown to the jury and the world and what it showed outraged most people who saw it.

White’s defense comprised mostly trying to convince people not to believe the obvious. Tuesday, Sargent took the stand and he testified that he had been very afraid.

The defense called two “expert” witnesses on Wednesday. A former FBI Agent named Urey Patrick, who has a part-time job testifying on behalf of trigger happy cops, told the jury that McCloskey had provoked White by not cooperating quickly or enthusiastically enough. Patrick optimistically testified that, “If McCloskey had turned off the bike and raised his hands on the handle bars this wouldn’t have happened.” Although Patrick never explained why he thinks White would not have just gone ahead and shot McCloskey anyway.

A Columbus, Ohio Swat Team member named James Scanlon, who has shot three suspects and killed one, testified that the shooting was justified. Scanlon even had the gall to testify that he might use the dash cam video from the trial as a training aid, to show police recruits an example of a “justified shooting.” Scanlon called the traffic stop a “chaotic situation.”

White Testifies

White took the stand in his own defense yesterday and testified that he shot McCloskey because he thought McCloskey was “pulling a weapon.” White characterized the seemingly routine stop as “high-risk.”

“Based on the totality of everything that had happened in addition to (his threatening motion) I felt I had to use deadly force,” White said. “It appeared as if he was reaching for a weapon. I feared for my life, so I fired one shot.”

White also told the jury not to trust the video from inside the police car because he had had a better view of the traffic stop than the camera provided. And White also told the jury that he “feels terrible” that McCloskey forced him to shoot him.

The prosecution called a rebuttal witness named W. Ken Katsaris. Katsaris is a police consultant and trainer with a business based in Florida. He testified that White violated standard procedure when he did not turn off his siren and as a result of that McCloskey must have had trouble hearing him.

Katsaris also testified that his analysis of the video convinced him that McCloskey never put his hands up because White never told him to do that. Katsaris testified that White had ordered the man to “’Get down.’” And that was, “a command that he can’t obey.”

Before McCloskey could figure out how to do what the cop wanted him to do White shot him in the back. The jury saw it that way, too.

White will be sentenced June 21st. He could be sentenced to up to eleven years. He is likely to serve between one and four.

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20 Responses to “Ohio Cop Found Guilty”

  1. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Cold comfort, but at least people were able to see the obvious.

  2. DirtyBruin Says:

    Wow – at least the bastard’s been convicted; even if the sentence winds up being wholly inadequate, that’s something. Now for Mr. McCloskey to win his civil suit….

  3. RVN69 Says:

    Not as important now as the jury has spoken, but it came out at the trial that White had rewound the tape in his dashcam. He said he did it because he didn’t believe what had happened, but more likely he thought it would erase the evidence of his shooting. As SVD said cold comfort to Mike McCloskey, doesn’t give him his legs back, but hopefully after the lawsuit he won’t have any financial worries ever again.

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

  4. nimrod Says:

    What is this Fucker not saying? Why did he shoot a kid having fun in a trafficless situation in America? His ideas were television ideas; you can almost hear that “Gangland” narrator voice. His association was immediately an association of a death threat. Sutter’s putrid offerings don’t help either. Unfuckingbelievable. When I was his age I used to ride the hell out of the empty two-laners at that time of night, and you could’ve found more in my blood than they found in his. I was lucky/skilled enough to survive those youthful sessions of deep night thrill seeking, and in the end they are amongst my favorite memories. I swear to fucking nothing that I do not feel like an American anymore: this place, whatever the fuck it is anymore, is now an emergent police state, and it’s only the beginning. Yes, the jury found Officer White to be guilty- hell, they had to. Now we’ll get to see how soft his landing is. McCloskey’s nightmare won’t have an intermission. Unfuckingbelievable. Hang onto your memories, all of you lucky enough to be old- today’s youngsters won’t know any of the freedom you felt.

  5. JAMES Says:

    Glad to see this guy did not get off, and the two witnesses he had should be tossed out of work since they have a weird code of ethics.MR. PATRICK, there is a character, saying he did not move fast enough and with enthusiasm?Might want to keep a dash cam on this guy. SCANION, here is a real fine example to follow, too bad he isn,t on dash cam with what is said here and him saying he would use this film as an instruction tool for good shootings?SOmething very wrong here, I hope MR. Mc CLOSKEY sues for all he can get as trust me he will need it for there is nothing that will replace his mobility and the years ahead of the amounting medical expenses that come with these injuries, I do so wish him all the best and he can at least know he got a bit of satisfaction in knowing this PIG is not going to use his badge to do anything wrong again, and that is no comfort.

  6. Daddyo Says:

    What a difference a dash cam makes.
    Without video, the guy gets his story down, recieves a citation from the department, becomes a local hero to the cop groupy crowd, gets an interview on the Today show with a talking head thanking him for laying his life on the line every day to protect us poor pathetic citizens. His story becomes grander and more danger filled as the years go by until he finaly retires a semi mythical figure for saving the world from the biker hoard. He might even testify in other cop shootings.
    With video he becomes just another coward with a felony conviction. For all the world to see.

    The law only applies to cops when there is video evidence. otherwise they skate on everything they do, backed up by their partners in crime.


  7. Magnet Says:

    Well, at least there’s a bit of justice for Mr. McCloskey. But the quote below (see toledoblade.com and bikernews.net) from testimony in the case went a long way towards explaining why – far too often – Rebel has the unfortunate task of sharing bad news with the rest of us in other cases. News about Russell Doza. Derek Hale. James Hicks. Those who came before them. And whoever’s next.

    “The facts known to the officer at the time the shots were fired are all that matter,” said Columbus police Officer James Scanlon, who testified that he teaches and consults in law enforcement issues including use of force. “I come to the conclusion that it was reasonable and, …

    [now here comes the payoff]


    (emphasis added)

    I guess this means that, if one is a cop, there’s a standard that says it’s perfectly OK to kill someone as long as you personally think they need killing.

    Thank you Mr. Scanlon. I get it now.

  8. Detroit Dutch Says:

    Liberty & Justice for ALL

  9. 10guage Says:

    Don’t know much about prison politics out there. But in Cali he would be enjoy his time in a 6ft wide cell with short eyed rapos..no way would this guy walk the main line. Especially since he committed his crime in his community. Not unless theres an ex cop car he could ride with LOL. And he deserves every second he gets. Something tells me a pig like this who tries to murder an innocent young man, has lied, cheated, stolen, harrassed, set up other innocent men. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE

  10. Lancaster Says:

    I am glad to see this coward was acutually found guilty. I never thought it would happen. When a drug dealer gets robbed by the cops, I can look the other way. When a kid gets shot because the cop is scared of two wheels, thats bullshit. He was not, is not, a criminal. The cop should have to spend at least one year after his sentence in a chair to have maybe an iota of feeling of what this kids life is like now. Hope the brothers get his pussy ass when he is inside.

  11. Swampy Says:

    White “feels terrible that McCloskey forced him to shoot him”….WTF?!?! That PUNK White acted as if he was the victim!

    Two words for James Scanlon…..frontal lobotomy.

    I’ve got to stop here. My little laptop can’t take the pounding.

  12. Timmi Says:

    Come on, People. We all know the drill. Where’s your cynicism? Cops rarely pay for their crimes. Most likely his attorney filed the appeal minutes after adjournment. He will be freed on bond pending this appeal, which will take years, while his attorney looks for precedent, loopholes & technicalities. I’m thinking this armed misanthrope will get his job back with retro pay.
    I wonder if any of the other posters here are following the Seattle police stomping of a wrong man or the little girl killed in Detroit last week by a SWAT cop and what your take(s) on these cases are.

  13. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    He got 10 years.

  14. DirtyBruin Says:

    GW: I’m stunned – in a good way. Not that it’s nearly enough, but given the sentencing range for what he was charged with, that’s damn good. Of course, he’ll appeal it and who knows what happens then, but it’s nice to see a judge slap down a bad cop hard, given the parameters of the case presented.

  15. Not Surprised Says:

    The video in this case is what nailed him. No jury could return a verict other than guilty. However, guilty of exactly what was in the air.

  16. Miss Krista Says:

    Things are getting scarier and scarier my friends, check this out and this guy isn’t even a biker (that I know of lol): http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=228336
    this guy sent an e-mail to his Senator who was annoyed that he had to miss a ball game to vote on an unemployment bill, and he’s been indicted by a fed grand jury- while the bankers eat caviar and polish their lear jets – WTF?

  17. I.J Says:

    white gets 10 years for shooting biker

    (Click ESC to stop the shaking)
    BY: Erica Blake
    Source: ToldeoBlade.com

    Ottawa Ohio – Ottawa Hills officer gets 10 years in shooting of motorcyclist Photo Thomas White, middle, is taken into custody after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for the shooting of Michael McCloskey Jr. during a traffic stop May 23, 2008. ( THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY ) Zoom | Photo Reprints By ERICA BLAKE BLADE STAFF WRITER
    A former Ottawa Hills police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for the shooting of a motorcyclist during a May, 2009, traffic stop.

    Thomas White, 27, was convicted May 14 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of felonious assault with a gun specification for the shooting of Michael McCloskey, Jr. A jury deliberated for about six hours after a week-long trial before reaching a verdict.

    Following sentencing, White posted a $100,000 bond and was released from custody Monday afternoon pending his appeal of the case. Assistant prosecutors opposed the bond.

    Judge Gary Cook sentenced White to seven years in prison for the felonious assault charge plus an additional mandatory three years for the gun specification.

    The judge acknowledged White’s past in law enforcement and the difficult job of police officers. But he said that White did not take the time to assess the situation so that he understood what he was encountering.

    “You didn’t even give it a second to take a breath and look at what was going on and for that a tragedy occurred,” Judge Cook said.

    Mr. McCloskey, 25, was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the back while stopped on his motorcycle at Indian Road and Central Avenue. The incident was recorded on the dashboard camera in White’s patrol vehicle and played for the jury.

    In a lengthy statement made before his sentencing, White defended his actions saying he acted in the way he was trained to do. He said he was “at a loss” to understand how a police officer was indicted on criminal charges “because of a split-second decision.”

    “On May 23, 2009, I performed and fulfilled the duties required by my oath of office as an Ohio peace officer for the Village of Ottawa Hills,” he said. “…I recognize that Mr. McCloskey’s injuries are unfortunate but I did what I was required to do, by law and by my oath of office.”

    White did not offer an apology during his statement and shook his head while Judge Cook explained that he should have taken the time to better assess the situation.


    Zoom | Photo Reprints Mr. McCloskey, who is paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair, began crying when he heard the sentence. He did not speak at the sentencing because he had recently been released from the hospital and did not feel able.

    After the sentencing, he expressed gratitude to the assistant prosecutors Jeff Lingo and J. Christopher Anderson for their work on the case and for the support in the community. He then explained his tears were a result of all the “uncontrollable emotions” that had piled up over the year.

    “I’m starting to find words,” he said, adding that finally he feels that there has been “justice.”

  18. JAMES Says:

    I can’t believe this cop actually defends his actions, maybe they need to reevaluate a whole lot more cops just to find out what they think, this guy is an extreme example of a PIECE OF SHIT.


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