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Published: Thursday, 7/2/2009

Ottawa Hills officer indicted in shooting of motorcyclist


An Ottawa Hills police officer involved in the shooting of a motorcyclist during a May 23 traffic stop was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on one count of felonious assault with a gun specification.

Thomas "Caine" White, 26, is charged with shooting Michael McCloskey, 25, of Maumee. He faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted on the assault charge.

Mr. McCloskey was one of two motorcyclists who led police on a short pursuit on Indian Road near Central Avenue. The other motorcyclist, Aaron Snyder, 35, of Toledo, was arrested without incident and charged with drunken driving and failure to comply.

Ottawa Hills Police Chief Robert C. Overmeyer put out a press release immediately after the indictment that said the village "sincerely regrets the results of this unfortunate incident."

Chief Overmeyer also said that "now it is up to the courts to determine the outcome of this incident" and said village officials would have no further comment. He referred all further questions to the Lucas County prosecutor's office.

According to an arrest warrant filed in Toledo Municipal Court, the two motorcyclists traveled through the village at an "extremely high rate of speed" and failed to stop for police.

Authorities have not identified Mr. McCloskey as the motorcyclist who was shot, but family members confirmed he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. To date, no criminal charges have been filed against him.

According to the Ottawa Hills police department, Officer White remains on administrative leave. The department is also conducting an internal investigation but has not yet received the report from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, which completed the investigation.

Officer White was hired as a part-time dispatcher for the village in 2003. In 2004, he was made a full-time dispatcher, and the following year, he became a part-time police officer.

According to his personnel records, Officer White last received written reprimands in 2007, one for insubordination as a dispatcher and one for unsatisfactory performance as a police officer. He had also received several commendations and performed well on his evaluations.

Officer White has been named in a civil lawsuit that was filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo June 3 on behalf of Mr. McCloskey. The lawsuit, which also names the village, alleges Mr. McCloskey s civil rights were violated.

Filed by Michigan attorney Geoffrey Feiger, the complaint alleges that the officers involved "made an unreasonable seizure" and assaulted Mr. McCloskey "by unnecessarily and illegally shooting him in the back, which severed his spine resulting in paralysis."

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