Put-in-Bay Police Settle Lampella Lawsuit-In April, Ettore Scassa , 46, a Carrollton, Ohio, man settled an excessive force lawsuit filed against the Put-in-Bay Police Department, the Village of Put-in-Bay and Police Chief Lampela. The case before Judge Heimick was dismissed with prejudice, and with each party to bear their own costs. The details remain confidential on speculation the defendant’s
the insurance company settled the case.
Scassa’s narration of the events goes like this. The evening of Sept. 13th, 2013, after getting off the ferry boat, he approached police while they were investigating his son, friends and other family members for a potential assault at the Roundhouse Bar on Delaware Avenue. He began inquiring about his son who was accused of assaulting someone. It was then that Scassa alleges seven officers violently assaulted him. He was slammed to the ground, continually punched, kicked, and beaten while being pepper-sprayed in the face. He also had his ear lacerated. Even after officers placed Scassa in handcuffs, they continued to punch and kick him. According to the lawsuit, “Countless full canisters of pepper spray were emptied onto the plaintiff’s face and directly into his ear laceration and eyes.”
According to Put-in-Bay Police Office Zach Lamour’s report, he and other officers were called to the Roundhouse Bar for a fight and were talking to two men, including Scassa’s son, who they believed were involved in the incident. “While talking with the two males, Ettore Scassa walked up to Officer Abram and I (sic), demanding to know what was going on,” Lamour wrote in his report. “I gently placed my hand on Ettore’s chest and asked him to back up and wait until we finish conducting our investigation. “Ettore grew furious and demanded to talk to his son,” Lamour noted in his report he thought Scassa was drunk and that he told Scassa to walk away.
“Ettore then charged at me, two of Ettore’s friends immediately grabbed him and held him back,” Lamour wrote. “Ettore broke loose from his friends and charged at me again with his fist clenched back.” Abram then used pepper spray on Scassa, who fell to the ground, Lamour wrote in his report. A group of officers began to arrest Scassa. Scassa then shouted obscenities at the officers and threatened to kill them, according to the report. Officers put Scassa on his stomach, cuffed him and took him to a police cruiser, where they had to force him into the back of the car, Lamour reported.
Put-in-Bay Emergency Medical Service treated Scassa at the police station, according to the police report. The EMS also treated Sandella, an officer who had cuts on his hand from the incident. According to the lawsuit, “The amount of mace used was so excessive officers gagged as they walked near Scassa’s holding cell the night of the alleged incident……..A video also shows police officers
and EMS personnel gagging, choking, sneezing and running from the cell hours after the incident due to the immense amount of pepper spray or mace utilized.”
According to reports, police took pictures of Scassa’s son and another man who were charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with the bar fight, but they did not take pictures of Scassa. Pictures exist that show (Scassa’s) injuries about 24 hours after the incident. Scassa was charged with one misdemeanor count each of disorderly conduct with persistence, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct with intoxication (Scassas claimed he was sober). Later, Scassa, who claimed in the lawsuit
police charged him with multiple crimes without cause to cover up assaulting him, accepted a plea deal from the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office that caused the case against his son and all but one charge against himself to be dismissed.
He pleaded no contest and was found guilty of one count of disorderly conduct with persistence in Ottawa County Municipal Court and was given a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail. Attorney Tom DeBacco of Port Clinton represented Scassa. He also represents Put-in-Bay Police officers Thomas Abram, Tyler Pimental, Zachary Lamour, Dominic Whitney, Matthew Sandella and Todd Romance who were also named in Scassa’s lawsuit. These suits remain pending.