A local bail bondsman's failure to tell Warren police he would be attempting to make an apprehension, as is required by Ohio law, may have averted a situation that resulted in the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit, but it does not spoil his claim that he was held too long in handcuffs.
Dwayne Lacey's case against Warren and one of its police officers will go to trial in January now that federal Judge Benita Y. Pearson has determined that one claim has merit, according to a 27-page ruling this week in a case involving police investigating the reported taking of a woman in October 2009.
She rejected Lacey's other claims that a Warren police officer used excessive force; selective enforcement, because Lacey is black; and that Warren provided insufficient officer training.
Lacey, a licensed bail bondsman with All American Big Bob's Bail Bonding Inc. in Warren, claims he was handcuffed and held ''even though his badge was visibly displayed on his belt'' and he told police he was a bail bondsman, according to Pearson's ruling.
Lacey was attempting to apprehend a woman on a bond he wrote because she failed to appear in court. On Oct. 21, 2009, Lacey went to the home of the co-signer of the bond to arrest the woman who, upon seeing Lacey, ran.
The bond's co-signer, not Lacey - who generally doesn't chase people ''he cannot convince to go with him voluntarily'' - chased and caught the woman on Belvedere Avenue S.E. Lacey drove to the spot and put the woman in handcuffs. A Belvedere Avenue S.E. resident called police.
The court ruled the initial stop did not violate Lacey's constitutional rights and the use of handcuffs early was OK, but the facts surrounding him being detained ''are concerning.'' He was cuffed for 12 minutes.
Pearson's ruling states that a dashboard recording shows police very early in the stop confirmed there was an arrest warrant for the woman and that Lacey was wearing a badge on his belt. Also, Lacey had told police multiple times he was a bail bondsman.
In addition, police could have asked Lacey to present his identification, but instead he ''was kept in handcuffs and searched,'' according to Pearson's decision.
''Viewing all the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff (Lacey), there is a genuine issue as to whether he was detained for an unreasonable period of time, and in an unreasonable manner,'' Pearson wrote.
Also, the court realizes Lacey may not have complied with Ohio law by not telling police of his intentions to apprehend the woman before doing so, and the incident could have been avoided had he given the ''appropriate notification,'' but his ''mistake does not require him to forfeit his Fourth Amendment rights.''
The trial is set for Jan. 13, 2014.
Lacey's attorney, Andrew J. Thompson, declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left with attorney James A. Climer, who is representing Warren.