Wednesday, June 8, 2016


On May 23rd (LINK), The Stark County Political Report began a series designed to delve in to an alleged cover up of the shooting and killing of Shane Ryan at Great Clips/Massillon on Sunday, July 28, 2012.

The latest wrinkle in the controversy (in the minds of some Stark Countians) involving the Stark County Strategic Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T. [SWAT]) Team surfaced last night on the continuing investigative series initiated by Cleveland television station WKYC Channel 3 in mid-May of this year.

Officially,  the "Canton" SWAT but also involves police departments throughout the county (mostly western Stark County and the Stark County sheriff so the SCPR thinks a more accurate description is Stark Co. SWAT and therefore refers to the team as being the Stark County SWAT.

In last night's segment, Investigator Tom Meyer spends most of his time questioning whether or not top Stark SWAT commander Charles Saler who over his 26 years as a SWAT member, Meyer says, has been involved in three "line of duty" killings in the context of SWAT responses to calls for police assistance.

A principal person featured along with others in the Meyer presentation is local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley.

SWAT legal advisor and Canton's chief legal counsel Kevin L,'Hommedieu tells the SCPR that he believes that Saler can only be attributed as firing fatal shots in two of the three incidents he was present which includes most

L'Hommedieu, as do many area police officials, rates Saler as a top-notch police officer, says that in one case Saler fired what would have been a fatal shot but that it has been determined that in timing it came after the fatal shot had been fired by another officer.

Recently, L'Hommedieu, told the SCPR that Canton is negotiating with Cleveland and federal law enforcement officials as to whether or not the Stark County SWAT will be participating in policing the Republican National Convention event.

Among prominent Stark County Republicans who will be attending the convention as a Ohio governor John Kasich delegate in Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton.

Meyer's report focused on the vetting of out-of-town (i.e. Cleveland) police officers composing any out-of-town law enforcement contingent participating in the policing of the convention which could turn violent should the pattern of some anti-Donald Trump protests occurring across the nation at Trump campaign appearances be repeated in Cleveland the week of July 11 through 15.

One Cleveland councilman says outright that given Saler's history of having been involved in SWAT ruled justifiable homicides makes him as far as the councilman is concerned persona non grata at the RNC in Cleveland.

According to Meyer, the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) agreement with out-of-town policing units coming to Cleveland gives Cleveland officials the right to exclude officers who have a history of:
  • Excessive force, and/or (whether or not there has been a resulting civil judgement)
    • Saler is one of a number of area police officers who are named defendants in a civil rights violation lawsuit filed by the heirs of Shane Ryan as a consequence of his killing in a July 28,2012 hostage situation whereby Ryan was holding a Massillon Great Clips employee at the company's business located in Massillon
      • Massillonian and former policeman William Walker is the estate's attorney
  • First Amendment,

Meyer cites the City of Canton as having sustained a $44,000 judgement in as a consequence of a SWAT ruled justified homicide in which Saler was involved.

Stark Countians Conley said in the Meyer piece that a person with Saler's history:  "I would say that person in persona non-grata.  I don't want want him here (Cleveland).  I don't the liability."

Conley has written letters to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio demanding that an outside investigation of the the 2012 Ryan killing being conducted.

The demand is based on the testimony of Massillon policeman Kervin Brown to wit:

In his "official" interview (The Report understands he was the eight person to be interviewed), Brown testimony (as recorded on the transcription) was:  "Um, at that point they hit the door. You know, we followed them in, um, as soon as they got in they shield the, the, um victim from the suspect, passed her out, they grabbed her, I grabbed her by the arm, another officer grabbed her by the arm, we’re taking her out of the building. At that point, I heard two shots."

On May 26th (LINK), the SCPR turned the spotlight on Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero and how his office handled the matter of presenting the results of the Darrow (assisted by former Stark County Deputy Sheriff Ron Perdue) led investigation.

The Report's overall focus is whether or not local police/prosecutor officials have covered up or at the very least tamped down a version of an nearby to the incident witness (Massillon policeman Kervin Brown, a long time Massillon police officer) so as to induce the grand jury in the context of either not knowing or Brown's account being greatly minimized if not poo-pooed.

Why are their allegations of a cover up by area police officials?

Because of this excerpt of the Darrow/Perdue interview of Brown:

Ferrero tenure as prosecutor is being challenged by Jeff Jakmides who is a highly regarded and respected criminal defense and domestic relations attorney.

WKYC narrative in this color. 

Speakers narrative in this color.

Using a shield, Saler tried to separate Ryan from his hostage.

(Saler)  “Shane Ryan was yelling that he was going to both kill the hostage, pull the gas line and blow up the building,” 

 “The situation changed and it’s lethal.”

After entering the utility room and charging Ryan, Saler said he was not immediately able to separate the hostage. 

He said Ryan was holding the woman with one hand and the lighter with the other.

He said he did not know if Ryan had other weapons besides the lighter. For the safety of the hostage, Saler said he had to fire the two shots.

“He had the lighter that I knew of and options that I didn’t know of,” Saler said during the deposition.

That’s not the account recalled by Massillon police Officer Kervin Brown, who was at the doorway when SWAT entered.

Sheriff’s Lt. Lou Darrow and Sgt. Ron Perdue were assigned to conduct the independent investigation for presentation to a grand jury. They recorded the interview with Brown.

“None of you guys, nobody is in any trouble, because what happened was a fine thing as far as from a legal standpoint,”

 Darrow said to Brown before the interview. 

“We’re building a package for grand jury to go in there and go look, Massillon had this call, they did everything they could to get the guy out.”

In the audio recording, Brown said he was stationed inside the Great Clips just feet away from where Ryan was holed up. He watched as SWAT passed him.

Seconds later, he recalled: “I kind of turned my back, grabbed (the hostage) and was getting her out, they were dealing with her and I heard two shots.”

Brown was asked where the hostage was when the shots were fired.

“She was just at the door, on her way out, when the shots went off, so, I don’t know if she saw any of that. We basically had her headed out the door. I don’t think she saw any of that. But she knew what happened.”

A moment later, Darrow and Perdue ask Brown to step out of the interview room. They do not stop the tape recording.

“Well, this is the first guy we talked to, that I talked to, that said that they shot him,” Perdue said in a whisper. “Saler told me that the suspect still had a hold of her, around the neck. [Brown] said she was out the door, so we have a conflict here.”

Darrow tells his partner they will wait to see what other witnesses say.

“What I’m asking,” Perdue adds, “is what kind of line of questioning do we want to do here because I don’t want to open up a Pandora’s box if we don’t have to.”

Darrow replies, “We’ll gloss over that part first.”

Brown returns and continues his interview. He then repeats his account that the female hostage was freed before Ryan is shot.

“We’re taking her out of the building. At that point, I heard two shots,” Brown said.

Jakmides told the SCPR that as prosecutor he would in such cases in his capacity of being prosecutor as the United States Department of Justice to come to Stark County to investigate.

Ferrero, when confronted by WKYC had this to say:

Again, this is an extract from the WKYC report:

In an interview this month, Stark County Prosecutor John D. Ferrero said he was unaware of Brown’s statements or the statements of the detectives. 

He later spoke to an assistant prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury.

The assistant downplayed Brown’s recollection. Ferrero said he believes Brown was nervous about the shooting and mistaken about the timeline.

Nonetheless, Brown’s statement were not told to a grand jury, which declined to charge Saler.

So it appears that the matter will not be pursued by Ferrero along the lines that a Prosecutor Jakmides would invoke.

By the way, Craig Conley tells the SCPR that it appears to him that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine  (AG) will not be taking the matter on as his office cites that unless invited in by local officials the AG has no authority to intervene.

Moreover, Conley says that the federal officials have not responded so far to his insistence that a federal probe into the Ryan killing should be done.

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