A Lucas County grand jury yesterday refused to indict a Toledo police officer, who was caught on videotape and accused of kicking a man in the face as the man was on the ground during an incident in the north end this month.
The grand jury was asked to indict Officer Norman Giesige on a charge of felony felonious assault and misdemeanor assault after he was accused of kicking Cardell Parcher. However, the panel refused to issue an indictment on either charge.
Mr. Parcher, 19, of Toledo said he was kicked Jan. 2 after he stopped to help a 14-year-old boy who crashed into a grocery store at 2304 Lagrange St. The boy was being pursued by police when he crashed.
Officers arriving at the scene drew their weapons and ordered Mr. Parcher to lie on the ground, where Officer Giesige, a member of the department since 1995, allegedly kicked him in the face. A video camera in a police car captured the incident.
The nine-member grand jury reviewed the videotape. Officer Giesige, Mr. Parcher, and Officer Daniel Raab, who was standing above Mr. Parcher when he was kicked, testified before the panel.
Mr. Parcher could not be reached for comment. However, his attorney, Alan Konop, said his client is disappointed with the panel's decision.
“He cannot understand how there would not be an indictment in a situation where he was defenseless and kicked by the officer,” Mr. Konop said.
Authorities said Mr. Parcher was walking from the driver's side of the car when officers mistakenly thought he was involved in the incident. Officer Giesige was accused of kicking Mr. Parcher as Officer Raab was trying to handcuff him.
Mr. Parcher was later handcuffed and eventually released. His mother took him to a hospital where he was treated. He said he has vision problems in his right eye.
Officer Giesige, a member of the directed patrol unit, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Jay Feldstein, said his client was relieved to be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
“There were some risks in testifying before a grand jury. But he has maintained from the beginning that although he had some contact with Mr. Parcher, there was never any intent on his part to harm him,” Mr. Feldstein said.
Officer Giesige, 32, was relieved of duty with pay on Jan. 10, and subsequently charged with failing to follow departmental rules regarding the use of excessive force. A disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Thursday before Chief Mike Navarre. The officer could be suspended or fired.
Chief Navarre said presenting the case to the grand jury was part of the process for the department's investigation of the incident. He said he was satisfied that the department fulfilled its responsibility.
“I accept the decision of the grand jury because the system worked the way it was supposed to. I'm satisfied that all the individuals were treated fairly by this process, including the victim and the accused,” Chief Navarre said.
Mr. Konop said the grand jury's decision does not affect plans for a civil lawsuit that will be filed on his client's behalf.