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Newton Falls officer faces assault charges



Published: Thu, May 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The civil service commission was to meet today to vote again on the officer's suspension.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Newton Falls police officer is on the other side of the courtroom, while the woman he is accused of beating has been cleared.

Sgt. James Zimomra faced arraignment today in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on two counts of felonious assault and one count of assault. Authorities announced his indictment this morning, shortly after his arrest.

A grand jury, meanwhile, declined Wednesday to indict a 22-year-old woman arrested on charges of assault on a peace officer and obstructing official business.

Connie L. Casseday of Garrettsville, who was seen being hit repeatedly by Zimomra on a videotape from a camera in a Newton Falls cruiser, is "extremely pleased," said her attorney Martin White.

"She was very scared that she may be indicted on felonies," White said. "She had to post a $10,000 bond. She is very happy that she is no longer facing charges."

Companion's case

Casseday's companion, John Lusher, 23, also of Garrettsville, has pleaded innocent to charges of resisting arrest, vandalism, drunkenness and disorderly conduct. His case was set for later today.

White said he is proud that the county prosecutor's office and the sheriff's department investigated the actions of the police officer.

Zimomra was suspended 30 days for his actions during the arrest, which took place April 2 after he and two other officers were dispatched to investigate a broken window at a local bar.

The Newton Falls Civil Service Commission voted to overturn the suspension, but Atty. Richard Schwartz, the city law director, said the commission violated the state's open-meetings law because it did not notify the public of the meeting beforehand.

The commission has called a special meeting today in the community center to vote again on the matter.




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