A report released by the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation has found no wrongdoing by Perrysburg Township police officers when a South Vienna, Ohio, man hanged himself in their holding cell May 14.
Scott Robertson, 41, died four days later at Toledo Hospital. According to a Perrysburg Township police report, he hanged himself with his belt.
The BCI report concluded that “the cell area was checked, and there was no positive way to show how Mr. Robertson got to his belt.” The investigation included interviewing all officers involved and looking at video recordings, photographs, and sketches by crime scene agents, according to the BCI report released to The Blade this week upon request.
The video recordings showed BCI that Mr. Robertson was left unchecked for 30 minutes, which is in accordance with the department’s guidelines of checking cellmates once an hour. Under the department’s policy, however, it states if the arrested suspect is at “special risk” meaning there is a potential for suicide, the person is intoxicated, or has other special needs, he or she should be checked no less than every 10 minutes.
In the Perrysburg Township report, Officer Dustin Glass wrote that Mr. Robertson told him while en route to the station that his mother died a few months ago and that his wife recently left him. Officer Glass added in his report he could smell alcohol on him. Mr. Robertson was charged with suspicion of theft and assault for an incident at a local Wal-Mart.
The summary report released by the BCI did not address whether any potential alcohol use by Mr. Robertson was part of the organization’s investigation.
The Perrysburg Township report states that when Mr. Robertson took off his boots while being checked in he kicked them toward the cell. Then Mr. Glass had him remove his belt. Officer Glass reportedly kicked the boots “toward the chairs sitting along the wall, and threw the belt on top of his boots.”
According to Officer Glass’ report, he was typing in the charge when he heard yelling and came back in to see Mr. Robertson hanging by his belt in the cell. He wrote in the report that he immediately unlocked the door and cut the belt wrapped around Mr. Robertson’s neck with his pocket knife.