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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Man acquitted of assaulting Toledo patrolmen sues them

A Toledo man who was acquitted of criminal charges filed after he was accused of assaulting two Toledo police officers is suing the officers in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Talven Highsmith, 27, of 1842 Ray St. is alleging the actions of three officers on Oct. 12, 2005, resulted in him being assaulted, falsely arrested, and maliciously prosecuted.

Officers Thomas Morelli, Peter Siwa, and William Shaner were named as defendants in the complaint.

Mr. Highsmith was facing felony assault charges for the incident. However, a Common Pleas Court jury acquitted him of the offenses in April. He was accused of kicking Officer Siwa in the groin and punching Officer Morelli.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Highsmith was waiting on Lincoln Avenue for a ride home while the officers were watching a house on the street. He claims he was chased after he asked one of the officers to identify himself.

Officers Shaner and Siwa caught the plaintiff, forced him to the ground, and struck him several times in the face, the complaint states.

Mr. Highsmith is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $150,000. The lawsuit was assigned to Judge Charles Wittenberg. Alan Konop, an attorney representing Mr. Highsmith, said the police officers' actions were unjustified.

"After assaulting Mr. Highsmith, the officers filed assault charges against him. The jury saw through this maneuver and found my client innocent of all wrongdoing," Mr. Konop said.

Mr. Highsmith also was charged with misdemeanor obstructing justice. He pleaded not guilty and is to go on trial next Thursday in Toledo Municipal Court.

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