Thursday, December 14, 2000

Report: Brutality complaint unfounded

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON - A sheriff's report cleared four Lebanon police officers Wednesday as the two men who accused them went on trial for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The charges stem from the breakup of a loud party on Oct. 22.

        But John Lloyd, a Columbus lawyer representing city residents Chad Everitt and Clay Morton, criticized the report as one-sided.

        Warren County sheriff's officials, who conducted the independent investigation at the request of City Council, agreed. But Col. Del Everett, the sheriff's chief deputy, said the report's scope was incomplete because Mr. Lloyd refused to allow his clients to be interviewed.

        Mr. Lloyd said he was confident his clients would be cleared during the court case, which is expected to go to a jury today.

        Mr. Lloyd said he barred Mr. Everitt and Mr. Morton from talking to Sheriff's Investigator Mark Duvelius because he was concerned that their statements would affect their trial.

        “Certainly, it was interesting to me such a conclusory result was reached inasmuch as they didn't get both sides of the story,” he said. “What do you expect the report to say?”

        In opening statements before a jury Wednesday in Lebanon Municipal Court, Mr. Lloyd continued to hammer away at the actions of Officers Bruce Bowerman, Laura Baumeister, Robert Buchanan and Christopher Brock.

        “The city of Lebanon made a great mistake,” he said. “Chad Everitt and Clay Morton were arrested unlawfully and with excessive force. There was no request for them to submit to an arrest. There was just a grabbing and a takedown.”

        Mr. Everitt has accused Officer Brock of using excessive force when he struck him in the hip with a baton. Officer Brock told sheriff's officials that he meant to hit Mr. Everitt in the thigh to subdue him because he was squirming and resisting arrest. Mr. Duvelius said that action fell within accepted police procedure.

        Mr. Everitt reportedly received bruises on his arm and a bruise on his hip, but declined medical treatment. He told police that he bruised easily because he was taking blood thinners for a heart condition.

        Mr. Everitt and Mr. Morton, who lived at the residence, also said police entered the house without being invited in, and grabbed Mr. Everitt and pulled him out of the house when he refused to show identification so they could cite him for the noise complaint.

        Mr. Morton claims he was grabbed from behind by Officer Brock, thrown to the ground and handcuffed when he tried to explain to police that Mr. Everitt had a heart condition. Officer Brock said he took Mr. Morton to the ground after Mr. Morton shoved him.

        Police were called to Mr. Everitt's Camargo Court residence twice late Oct. 21 and early Oct. 22 after neighbors, including Lebanon City Manager Jim Patrick, complained that the music was too loud.

        Police said citizens had complained for months about the parties.


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