Less than three minutes after being pulled over for passing stop bar pavement markings, Richard Hubbard III was on the ground getting punched by Euclid police officer Michael Amiott.
Had Amiott obeyed Euclid Police Capt. Kevin Kelly on Aug. 12, Hubbard would not have been pulled over at all.
“You were in attendance at a roll call that I had earlier addressed, in which I specifically said to all officers in attendance that although legally permissible, I did not want officers stopping cars for stop bar violations as the primary probable cause for a traffic stop,” Kelly wrote in an Aug. 16 letter to Amiott.
Hubbard, 25, of Cleveland, was charged with resisting arrest as well as three traffic citations, including driving with a suspended license.
Kelly charged Amiott with violation of rules, unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance, insubordination and use of force stemming from the Aug. 12 incident.
“These actions have caused serious damage to the public confidence in the Euclid Police Department and the city of Euclid,” Kelly wrote to Amiott.
On Aug. 18, Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer found Amiott guilty of violation of rules, unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance and insubordination. Meyer noted in a letter to Amiott that he merged use of force into unbecoming conduct and unsatisfactory performance.
Meyer suspended Amiott without pay for 15 days and recommend Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail suspend him for an additional 30 days, which she did Sept. 1. Amiott’s suspension ends Oct. 15.
Hubbard and his girlfriend Yolimar Tirado — who is also facing charges stemming from the incident including obstructing official business — had pretrial hearing in Euclid Municipal Court Oct. 12. Attorney Christopher McNeal, who is representing both, has filed a second motion to dismiss all charges against his clients.
McNeal said his first motion, which was dismissed, was “challenging the sufficiency of the complaint.”
“At that time I was not privy to the actual evidence that was in possession of the state, nor had I actually conducted substantive investigation of my own,” he said.
The new motion filed Oct. 5, he said, is based on the evidence he’s been able to obtain, which includes the Kelly and Meyer letters.
“I’m asking them to dismiss this case, as they should, based on the outrageous police misconduct,” he said.
The prosecution has until Oct. 23 to respond to McNeal’s motion for dismissal. He then has until Nov. 6 to respond to the prosecution.
When Amiott returns from his suspension, Meyer will determine the division to which he’ll be assigned. When Meyer determines Amiott may return to uniform patrol duty, he will be place with a department field training officer for at least 60 days. He will be monitored by the field training officer, who will document his performance on a daily basis. Meyer will select the officer or officers assigned to that task.
He also will be required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of training related to force options and human relations. Course selection will be determined by a training supervisor in consultation with the police chief. The 80 hours must be completed within 12 months of his return to duty.
Amiott also has been permanently removed from his position on the E.D.G.E. tactical team.
Amiott has been with the Euclid Police Department since 2014. He joined the department five months after he resigned rather than be fired from the Mentor Police Department for lying about why he stopped a man for a suspended license.
His record in Euclid includes a number of use of force complaints. According to his personnel file, he was reprimanded in 2016 for hitting a suspect with his gun and losing his temper in front of his commanding officer.
The Aug. 12 incident is one of two high-profile use of force cases in Euclid this year.
On March 13, 23-year-old Cleveland resident was shot and killed by officer Matthew Rhodes after officers responded to the scene of a suspicious vehicle. On Aug. 29, a Cuyahoga County grand jury elected not to indict Rhodes. The officer is currently on desk duty.
Stewart’s family Oct. 9 filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, Rhodes and another Euclid police officer, Louis Catalani.
Friedman & Gilbert attorney Sarah Gelsomino said Hubbard’s case did not influence the lawsuit, but said the Aug. 12 incident illustrates the policies and practices of the department the civil rights lawsuit is alleging.
“We allege this police department has completely and utterly failed to supervise their officers, to discipline their officers appropriately,” Gelsomino said. “Because of these failures they are condoning and actually encouraging them to commit acts of excess force against civilizations, particularly African American civilians in this city.”