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Published: Saturday, 11/10/2012

Toledo police officer settles suit with city, colleague

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo police sergeant who was shot in 2010 by a colleague suffering from a seizure has settled his civil lawsuit with the City of Toledo and with the former sergeant who shot him.

Sgt. Jeffery Bechtel received $7,500 from the city in a settlement that was reached this summer and finalized in U.S. District Court in Toledo late last month. He also received “an undisclosed payment” from Gloria Burks.

Burks, 51, was criminally charged for the Sept. 20, 2010, shooting of Sergeant Bechtel at the Scott Park district station. In March, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in Lucas County Common Pleas Court after Judge Myron Duhart ruled that she was suffering from a mental defect at the time of the shooting and was not aware of the wrongfulness of her actions.

In June, Judge Duhart determined that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Burks was a “mentally ill person subject to hospitalization.” The judge ordered her to undergo treatment at the Unison Behavioral Health Group and put in place a conditional-release plan that allows her to remain in the community.

Since the verdict in the case, Burks has officially retired from the police department. She had been relieved of duty without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case. She put in for retirement on April 17.

Sergeant Bechtel’s attorney, Stephen Hartman, said the settlement between his client and Burks was “subject to a confidentiality provision.” Attorney Van Andres, who represented Burks, declined to comment on the settlement.

Mr. Hartman said Sergeant Bechtel has recently returned to street patrol although he still experiences numbness and pain in his arm “that may last forever.”

“In my opinion, you had an officer on the street who shouldn’t have been there and Sergeant Bechtel ended up getting shot as a result,” Mr. Hartman said.

“He had to go through a couple years of incredible rehab, and he’s still left with residual numbness and pain that may never resolve. Thankfully, he wasn’t killed.”

Sergeant Bechtel could not be reached for comment.

The sergeant testified at Burks’ criminal trial that he was shot in a tricep while removing gear at the end of a normal work day. He suffered nerve damage from the injury.

Adam Loukx, the city’s law director, said the agreement was “purely a settlement of the dispute” and that it assigned no liability to the city.

Mr. Loukx said the city valued Sergeant Bechtel as a “good employee,” and so did not wish to drag out the case in the courts.

“We’re glad that there’s closure here and we hope to move on,” he said.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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