By Ed Runyan
A city man says the videotaped attack on him by a man, a woman and their dog Tuesday inside a gas station should be sufficient to warrant criminal charges.
Yet police told him he has to pay $230 ($115 per person) to file a complaint against the man and woman with the city prosecutor before any action will be taken, his wife said.
A police spokesman said Wednesday afternoon it’s too soon to tell whether charges will be filed.
Jerome Norman Jr., 27, of South Street Southeast was in the parking lot of the BP gas station, 1290 E. Market St., at 5:45 a.m. when he argued with a 25-year-old Warren man and his girlfriend. It was part of an ongoing dispute.
BP video of the dispute shows Norman and the man arguing outside of the store, then Norman fleeing inside the store, with the woman, man and dog following him inside.
Video footage shows the fight continuing inside the store, with Norman fending off the woman, man and dog, as well as Norman throwing items inside the store at the man and woman.
Police responded to a 911 call and found Norman, the man, woman and dog a short distance away on Laird Avenue and conducted interviews with all three and the store clerk.
The patrolman wrote in his report that the parties didn’t agree on what happened and that a police department investigator should attempt to obtain a copy of the store video “to find out the exact actions of the [man, woman and their dog] as the large English Mastiff ... engaged in the assault also.”
The report added that “Additional charges may be brought” against the man and woman with the dog. As of Wednesday afternoon, no assault or animal charges had been filed.
The report said Norman suffered bruising about the head and shoulders and “observable canine bites across both hands and arms.”
Norman later sought treatment at St. Joseph Health Center, his wife, Mollie, said. His worst injuries were to his eye socket and a popped blood vessel in his eye, as well as a slight nose fracture, she said.
The officer concluded his report by saying Norman was advised to contact the Warren prosecutor’s office regarding filing charges against the man and woman.
Mollie Norman says she believes the police department told her that pursuing charges was up to her and her husband, and it appeared the Warren prosecutor’s office was saying it didn’t matter that the Normans had a videotape of the incident.
Capt. Janice Gilmore, head of the detective bureau, however, said Wednesday she would make sure the department looks into the matter.
“It’s not that they’re not important. They are — just one step at a time,” Gilmore said of the case, which was assigned to Det. Wayne Mackey on Wednesday. Mackey was unavailable to discuss the case.
“We cannot possibly investigate every single incident,” Gilmore said, but added, “We can definitely see if there’s a video for us to view. If there is evidence, we can file charges.”
Det. Sgt. Jeff Cole, spokesman for the department, noted that the $115 fee for filing a criminal complaint is charged by Warren Municipal Court, not the police department.
Jeff Hovanic, a Warren Municipal Court bailiff, said the $115 is refunded if a charge is filed in the case.