A 34-year-old Columbus man has claimed a Hilliard Division of Police sergeant assaulted him during an incident that ended in his arrest for OVI on Feb. 15.
The division is investigating the incident, which involved an abandoned wrecked vehicle.
The investigation remained open as of March 9, according to police spokeswoman Andrea Litchfield.
“We currently have an active internal-affairs review of the incident,” Litchfield said. “(The complainant) claims he was punched during this incident; however, he has not continued to respond to the investigator to follow up at this point.
“Any time a complaint is made, an internal-affairs investigation is launched to provide a fair and impartial review of an incident which will take into account all perspectives of the incident.”
The sergeant remains on duty during the investigation, Litchfield said.
According to the complaint-referral form filed by the Columbus man Feb. 15, he was being detained in the back of a cruiser, and after being advised he was “not being arrested at that time,” he told officers he should not be detained.
He said in the complaint that the sergeant “punched” him in the face and the door was shut on his foot. He also said the sergeant later apologized.
The man also said his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
While the Columbus man was in custody, an officer had removed a knife in his possession, and later, after the man was seen moving in the back seat of the cruiser, officers took a cellphone from him, Litchfield said.
A video camera inside the cruiser recorded the sergeant reaching into the vehicle as the man was moving about.
The complaint was related to the man’s eventual OVI arrest and involvement in an accident in which a wrecked SUV was abandoned.
At 2:52 a.m. Feb. 15, an officer observed a white SUV rolled onto its side at Scioto Darby Road and Parkside Court, according to the police report.
The vehicle was registered to a man who lives on Drayton Road in Hilliard, police said. No one was inside the SUV, and a witness at the scene told officers no one was seen in or around it.
A different officer from the one who had observed the wrecked SUV went to the Drayton Road residence at 2:55 a.m. and made contact with the 34-year-old man, who was a passenger in a vehicle that was idling in front of the residence, police said.
That officer removed the man from the vehicle while another officer spoke with the driver, a 36-year-old woman who resides on Parkside Court.
The 34-year-old man was believed to be the driver of the wrecked SUV. He was found with “glass and grass in his hair and on his shoulders,” police said, and had the keys to the wrecked SUV.
He also admitted driving it to a bar but said he had left it there and was picked up by a friend, according to the report.
The man was “uncooperative” and refused to perform any tests, police said.
He was charged with OVI and not “stopping after accident upon streets,” both first-degree misdemeanors. He also was cited for failure to control a motor vehicle, according to court records.
He was released on a bond and transported back to his residence, police said.
Meanwhile, the officer speaking to the Parkside Court resident reported a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the vehicle.”
The woman had glassy eyes and slurred her speech while telling officers she was in the midst of a divorce, according to the police report.
The woman told police she did not observe her male passenger crash a vehicle. She submitted to some field-sobriety tests and later gave a breath test, which indicated a blood-alcohol content of 0.205, according to the report.
She was charged with OVI and OVI per se, both first-degree misdemeanor charges, and released on a summons to her husband at 5 a.m., according to the report.