Charges were dismissed in Toledo Municipal Court yesterday against a Toledo motorcyclist stopped in Ottawa Hills during an incident in which his companion was shot by a police officer.
Judge Robert Christiansen granted a motion to dismiss the charges against Aaron Snyder after the defense noted that the trial date had been delayed numerous times and all of the state's evidence still had not been handed over.
At issue was a video taken on the dashboard camera of an Ottawa Hills patrol car.
The video, authorities said, is a key piece of evidence in the criminal case against Officer Thomas White, who is charged in the shooting of the second motorcyclist stopped that night.
"That's the more important case," chief Prosecutor David Toska told the judge. "So we don't want to interfere."
Mr. Snyder, 35, was arrested during the May 23 traffic stop and charged with drunken driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, no license, and a misdemeanor count of failure to comply with the order of a police officer.
At the same time, Officer White initiated the stop of Mr. Snyder's riding companion, Michael McCloskey.
Officer White, 27, a part-time village dispatcher and part-time police officer, was charged with felonious assault with a gun specification resulting from an allegation that he shot Mr. McCloskey once in the back, causing paralysis. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.
A Feb. 1 trial date was scheduled before Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Cook.
According to Ottawa Hills police reports, the incident began just after 2 a.m., when officers tried to stop two motorcyclists after a short pursuit down Indian Road near Central Avenue.
The shooting investigation was immediately turned over to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, which forwarded its report to the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office. Officer White was indicted July 2 on the felony assault charge and first appeared in court two weeks later. He remains on medical leave.
Mr. McCloskey, who said he'd been living in Ottawa Hills for about eight months, has not been charged in the incident.
Mr. Snyder's attorney, Ryan Parker, requested that the case against his client be dismissed because he has not been given all the evidence. Judge Christiansen granted the request without objection from the prosecutor.
"Obviously, Mr. Snyder was very pleased with the decision and I think the judge made the right decision," Mr. Parker said.
In an unrelated case, Mr. Snyder was sentenced in the same court yesterday to three days in an offender program for a February drunken-driving incident.
Assistant County Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson, who is handling the criminal case against Officer White, said that the video was not released to protect the integrity of the evidence and the rights of the defendant.
He said that putting evidence out in the public could potentially result in "tainting the jury pool."
"Once you put the evidence of the alleged crime itself in the public domain, anybody can view it," he said. "We're trying to make sure we can get a fair jury here in Toledo."
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