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Published: Thursday, 11/7/2013 - Updated: 8 months ago

Toledo officer arraigned on domestic violence charge

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Berndt. Berndt.
HANDOUT NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

After finishing his shift Tuesday night, Toledo police Officer Jeremy Berndt was arrested and charged with domestic violence.

Officer Berndt, 39, a nearly 10-year veteran of the department, was initially relieved of duty with pay, but voluntarily took himself off payroll on Wednesday, said police Sgt. Joe Heffernan.

Being off of payroll means that the department discontinues the internal investigation until the officer is put back on payroll, usually after a criminal case has concluded, Sergeant Heffernan said.

Officer Berndt, a patrol officer on the afternoon shift, was arrested at the Scott Park District Station in South Toledo. Sergeant Heffernan said the officer has turned in his gun and badge.

The officer’s personnel file was not available Wednesday, but Sergeant Heffernan said there were disciplinary reports in the file.

Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, said, “The department is handling it in what they think is the proper way to make sure the people out there don’t think we’re giving favorable treatment.” Because the investigation is ongoing, he could not comment further.

The officer was arraigned Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court with attorney Jay Feldstein at his side. Judge Michelle Wagner ordered the officer to be released from the Lucas County jail on his own recognizance.

The judge also ordered that the officer not have possession of any firearms until the case is resolved.

According to a complaint filed in court, the alleged assault occurred Nov. 3 at the West Toledo home the officer shares with the victim, who is identified in court records as Laurie Lewis.

The court document states that Officer Berndt grabbed her by the arms and threw her into a wall, knocking her down. It states the woman was grabbed by the wrists and repeatedly shoved into a kitchen counter.

The victim was treated at Mercy St. Anne’s Hospital for bruising and back and head pain, according to court records.

During the arraignment, Judge Wagner ordered the officer to not have contact with the victim, who was in court. The victim told the judge she did not want a temporary protection order and does not fear for her safety.

Officer Berndt is to appear in court again on Nov. 15.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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