Jury acquits Olmsted Falls police-abuse victim of retaliatory felony-assault charge
As reported by Cory Schaffer at Cleveland.com,
An Olmsted Falls woman was acquitted on Friday of felonious assault of a police officer who scraped his knee when he and another officer tackled her to the ground during a 2016 arrest.
Jurors found Christie Elko, who also filed a civil rights lawsuit that accused Sgt. Floyd Takacs of using excessive force and hurling a homophobic slur during her Sept. 24, 2016 arrest, guilty of a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge. The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for about 90 minutes.
Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Russo sentenced Elko immediately after the verdict to time served, and waived court costs.
Elko’s attorney, Peter Pattakos, said after the verdict that he was thankful jurors acquitted Elko of the “ridiculous” felonious assault charge, and that Russo’s sentence amounted to “less than a slap on the wrist.”
But he said he and Elko will appeal her conviction because Russo denied their request to instruct jurors that people are allowed to use a proportional amount of force against a police officer who uses excessive force on them.
“Had the jury been properly instructed on a citizen’s right to resist excessive force by a police officer, we are sure they would have acquitted her on the other charge as well,” Pattakos said.
The full Cleveland.com report, containing more details about the case—including about the arresting police officer’s testimony that “he may have included errors in his report because the arrest was a highly emotional incident for him” (“People often misremember highly emotional events, he said, likening them to hallucinations.”)—is available here.