An Ottawa Hills police officer charged with the May, 2009 shooting of a motorcyclist appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Monday on the first day of his trial.
Thomas White, 27, a part-time dispatcher and part-time police officer for the village of Ottawa Hills, is charged with felonious assault with a gun specification. He faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted.
The officer is charged with shooting Michael McCloskey, 25, once in the back just after 2:15 a.m. on May 23, 2009. The bullet severed Mr. McCloskey's spine, paralyzing him from the waist down.
A jury of nine women and three men heard opening statements and viewed the video of the incident, which was captured on the dash camera inside Officer White's patrol car. The 14-minute video begins several minutes before Officer White activates his lights and sirens and continues until paramedics arrive to care for the injured motorcyclist.
Special Agent David Pauly, of the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, testified that the camera was manually turned on and then off by Officer White.
During opening statements, Assistant County Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson said that the state intended to prove that Officer White "was not justified" in the shooting and that "excessive force was used." Defense Attorney Jerry Phillips countered that the situation was "tense and fluid" and that Officer White "was doing his job."
Agent Pauly, who investigated the shooting, was the first witness called. Testimony will continue Tuesday, at which time Mr. McCloskey is expected to testify.