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Published: Wednesday, 7/15/2009

Ottawa Hills officer pleads not guilty in motorcyclist's shooting


An Ottawa Hills police officer involved in the shooting of a motorcyclist during a May 23 traffic stop pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony assault charge.

Thomas Caine White, 27, was charged with felonious assault with a gun specification. He appeared before Judge Gary Cook, who ordered that he be booked and released him on his own recognizance.

If convicted, Officer White faces up to 11 years in prison.

The part-time officer, part-time dispatcher is charged with shooting Michael McCloskey, 25, of Maumee, after he stopped him for speeding. Mr. McCloskey, who was not at the arraignment, continues to recover from his injuries.

According to family and his civil attorney, Mr. McCloskey's spine was severed by the bullet and he is paralyzed from the waist down.

A civil lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo against Officer White and the village.

The incident began just after 2 a.m. when, according to Ottawa Hills police reports, 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.

Mr. Snyder has an August hearing in Toledo Municipal Court.

According to his attorney, Jerry Phillips, Officer White remains on administrative leave. Village Police Chief Bob Overmeyer said that the department is also conducting its own internal investigation.

Mr. Phillips told the judge that an extensive amount of evidence existed in the case. Judge Cook set an Aug. 12 pretrial date.

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