Ven Johnson Law Files Second Lawsuit Against Village of Put-in-Bay, Police Officers for Excessive Force
UT-IN-BAY, OHIO – Ven Johnson Law, PLC, has filed a second lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the Village of Put-in-Bay and Put-in-Bay police officers Lt. Michael Russo and Cpl. Terry Rutledge Jr. on behalf of clients Diamone Wilson, Panzie Hunter, Paris Hunter and Ryan Hollingshed of Sandusky, Ohio.
On June 6, 2020, Russo and Rutledge pulled a golf cart over, driven by Hollingshed, for running a stop sign and having too many passengers on board. While writing a citation, Russo believed an unknown item was passed to Wilson and handcuffed her while waiting for a female officer to arrive and conduct a body search. Hollingshed approached to inquire why Wilson was being handcuffed and Russo and Rutledge attempted to restrain him. Russo slipped in the process and as he returned to his feet, he drew his firearm, pointed it at all the plaintiffs and threatened to shoot.
Russo and Rutledge then attempted to arrest Hollingshed and a group of spectators gathered to film the interactions. Russo drew his firearm again and pointed it at the unarmed group while Rutledge called for police back up. The group pleaded with Russo to lower his gun. Hollingshed, who was standing with his hands in the air, was tased three times and placed in handcuffs. The victims were taken to holding cells at the Put-in-Bay Police Department.
On June 7, Wilson, Panzie Hunter and Paris Hunter were released without being arraigned or informed of charges against them. The men involved were transported off the island to the county jail while Hollingshed was treated for injuries at the local hospital and taken to jail. They were wrongfully detained until June 8 when they were told charges against them had been dropped.
“We have video that shows my clients’ hands were in the air, yet Ryan was tased multiple times and the others had a loaded gun pointed at them,” said Ven Johnson, founder of Ven Johnson Law. “This follows another excessive force incident that occurred just two weeks prior, where Russo slammed a petite woman to the ground. The Village of Put-in-Bay continues to demonstrate negligence as Russo has a documented pattern of aggression.”
Russo was investigated for excessive force at least twice while serving in the Maple Heights, Ohio, police department.
“The Village also breached its duties in policies, regulations and lack of training exhibited by the recklessness of all the three officers who deliberately, and without probable cause, harmed and arrested my clients after using excessive force to detain them.” Johnson added.