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Village of Put-in-Bay and Officers Sued for Excessive Force

Village of Put-in-Bay and Officers Sued for Excessive Force

PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO –  Ven Johnson Law, PLC, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of clients Monica Gulledge and Lyle Taylor, of Wayne County, Michigan, against the Village of Put-in-Bay and Put-in-Bay police officers Lt. Michael Russo, Officer Dwayne Webb and Cpl. Terry Rutledge Jr. The lawsuit claims the officers used illegal and excessive force to wrongfully arrest Gulledge and Taylor while they were on vacation in Put-in-Bay.

On May 24, 2020, Russo was at the Put-in-Bay Resort Hotel, responding to an unrelated incident, when he became aware of an overturned golf cart involving Gulledge’s friend. Russo arrived at the scene without warning, approached Gulledge from behind, failed to announce himself as a police officer and slammed her to the ground. The other officers illegally detained Taylor, placing him in excessively tight handcuffs for no reason other than he was there with Gulledge.

Following the incident, Put-in-Bay police Chief Steve Riddle was placed on administrative leave and Lt. Michael Russo, along with an additional police officer not named in the lawsuit, resigned.

“Lt. Russo has a history of using excessive force both in Put-in-Bay and while serving in the Maple Heights, Ohio, police department,” said Ven Johnson, founder of Ven Johnson Law. “The Village of Put-in-Bay was negligent for hiring him. The village also breached its duties in policies, regulations and lack of training exhibited by the recklessness of the three officers who deliberately, and without probable cause, arrested my clients after using excessive force to detain them. This behavior is unacceptable for anyone, let alone those who we trust to serve and protect.”