Police arrest tape requested

STEUBENVILLE – The former president of the Steubenville Branch of the National Association of Colored People filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city mayor, law director and police chief for a police arrest videotape he claims shows police brutality.

Royal Mayo made his public request during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

“I personally witnessed the incident on Sept. 12 and I never saw anything like it. The police officer threatened to shoot a black man two times. I have a Freedom of Information Act request because I would like to have a copy of the tape and I am asking you as the acting city manager to review the tape,” Mayo told Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci.

Mucci said he will be, “happy to review the tape with the law director and police chief and look at all facts of the alleged incident.”

Mayo’s comments came at the conclusion of the regular city council meeting that opened with the reading of a letter from former Jefferson County Prosecutor Steve Stern, who offered to, “advise local law enforcement on investigative and enforcement strategies we found successful two decades ago.

According to the Stern letter, “John Myer s (a former investigator for the prosecutor’s office) and I have our roots in the Steubenville and Jefferson County area and still retain friends and relatives there. We have decided to offer as a free community service our years of expertise on crime and drug interdiction and enforcement to the local community.”

“Both John and I presently reside in foreign countries, with John working under contract with the United States Department of State in Afghanistan. If there is any interest, John and I would try to coordinate a date, time and venue where we could meet with local law enforcement,” said Stern.

Stern served as Jefferson County Prosecutor from 1981 to 2000.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins voted against accepting the Stern letter, “because he has nothing to offer the city.”

In other business, 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich called for a Safety Committee meeting for 7 p.m. next Tuesday to review a study of the police department conducted earlier this year by retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officer Jim Mavromatis.

“I would like to know how the findings in the study are being pursued,” said Lalich.

The council tabled an ordinance scheduled for a third reading Tuesday night that would have set an overtime and compensatory time policy for city exempt employees.

Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday to review the legislation before considering it in the future.

Council approved an emergency authorizing the acting city manager to re-advertise for bids for the Steubenville Marina Observation Deck project.

Council had originally authorized advertisements for the Steubenville Marina observation deck in January, but Mucci said the city did not receive any bids for the project.

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to save the pier closest to the Ohio side of the river when the Fort Steuben Bridge was demolished.

Mucci said the state agreed to provide $50,000 and the city received an additional $200,000 in Federal Highway Enhancement funds to trim the pier and construct a pedestrian bridge to an observation deck on the pier.

Mucci said the money can only be used for the deck project.

In February, council authorized the purchase of real estate at the city marina owned by the Ohio Department of Transportation for $1 as part of the observation deck project.

Mucci reported the city water distribution system, “has experienced several water line breaks during the past week.”

“We have also shut down the old West End water tank because of leaks from that tank. We have kept that tank in place because of revenue from cell phone companies that have antennas at the top. Our assistant water department superintendent is estimating we are losing up to 5 million gallons of water a year from those tank leaks, so I ordered it out of service,” Mucci stated.

Mucci also announced approximately 700 informational letters and stamped return postcards will be mailed out today to residents living in the Buena Vista, Cunningham Lane and Alexander Manor neighborhoods, seeking their interest in participating in a yearlong curbside recycling test project.

“The deadline to return the post cards is Oct. 14 and the participation will be limited to the first 400 residents who return their cards. This test project is being funded by the JB Green Team and after one year we will determine if it is feasible to continue the curbside recycling on a citywide basis,” Mucci explained.

Mucci also announced he will seek approval from council to apply for a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to help offset the city’s share of matching funds for the Buena Vista Extension water line improvement project.

Council approved a number of appointments recommended by Mucci to serve on the city’s boards and commissions.