2 cops face scrutiny in city probes
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
The investigation into one Youngstown police officer’s retaliatory ticketing ended with a two-week suspension, and an investigation into another city officer’s actions is under way.
Lt. William Ross will be suspended for two weeks after an internal-affairs investigation determined he did target a woman he ticketed after the Italian Festival in downtown earlier this year.
Ross signed off on the suspension recommendation late last week.
Ross was found to have demonstrated failure of good behavior and improper conduct. He begins his suspension Oct. 1. Half of the two-week suspension period will be taken as loss in vacation time, and Ross has agreed not to fight the decision, police officials said.
The complaint against Ross stated the officer wanted an unidentified person admitted to the festival without paying the cover charge Aug. 3. The festival employee working at the gate denied the request, angering Ross.
The complaint says Ross also was upset with the festival employee about a different personal matter and, in retaliation, issued a traffic ticket to the employee later that same night. A co-worker of the festival employee’s brought the matter to police.
Police Chief Rod Foley said Ross’ career as a whole was taken into account in determining a suitable punishment.
“We found that he was certainly spiteful when he wrote the ticket, so he will be punished for that,” the chief said. “We looked at his whole career, and he has been a really good officer over his 20 years here. ... We are disappointed in his actions, and we hope this sends a message that this activity will not be tolerated.”
In an unrelated matter, Officer Phil Chance has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his activity, but no one will say exactly what activity is being investigated.
“We can’t comment any further until we discuss the matter with the legal department for the city, but he will be on leave until the matter is resolved,” Foley said.
Chance has been with the department since December 2006.
Chance made headlines in 2010 when he shot an 18-year-old male in the parking lot of a bar in the 900 block of Midlothian Boulevard. Reports say Chance, in that situation, was trying to control a large crowd that had assembled to watch a fight outside the bar. Chance asked the driver of a nearby car to turn down his music.
The driver, instead of turning down the music, aimed the car at Chance. The driver reportedly struck Chance with the car, forcing him onto the hood of the car and dragging the officer. Chance fired a shot striking the driver.
Chance was cleared in the shooting. The driver of the car ultimately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business and driving under the influence.