Scozzari verdict a victory for Clare in more ways than one
I tried to keep my cool, but it just wasn’t on the agenda. I had finished writing my column a few hours ago, and hadn’t saved it because I was waiting for some additional information from another source. In the meantime I had forgotten I hadn’t saved the column, and shut my computer down because it was running very slow. Consequently I lost my column. You think my computer was hot. My temperature had reached the boiling point.
So here I am- its midnight, attempting to reconstruct my column. Let’s see how well I do the second time around.
I should be happy. We all should be happy. The lawsuit that threatened to bankrupt Clare was decided last Friday, and jurors gave a thumbs up in the City’s favor. Scozzari’s attorneys simply failed to convince the Bay City jury that Clare cops were wrong when they shot William Scozzari to death outside the Lone Pine Motel in 2007.
The Scozzari family was attempting to prove Clare officers Duane Midzianowski (now police chief) and Jeremy McGraw had used excessive force, and a whole slew of other charges when they had an altercation with the 5’3” Scozzari. The star witnesses for the Scozzaris were two transient women who were staying at the motel and claimed the cops planted a hatchet in William’s hand after the shooting. One of the women- they now live in Oregon, had several warrants for her arrest in Clare County and would only submit to an interview or testify if she was protected. In the end their statements conflicted greatly with others who were at the scene and not deemed creditable.
We didn’t have much luck in finding city officials willing to comment on what was a momentous victory for the city and cops. Chief Midzianowski, was his usual silent self, refusing to return phone calls. City Manager Ken Hibl was on vacation thus unable to reach. I guess I was looking for some in-your-face statements, and instead got nothing.
Maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe they dodged a bullet. Just maybe, without the help of Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis’s confirmation of innocence opinion that was issued the week of the trial – I don’t understand the timing, or maybe I do, the verdict might have been different.
So maybe a celebratory party is not the order of the day. I guess we all should thank our lucky stars that the verdict keeps our City on solid financial footing. No police layoffs. No elimination of city services. And now, hopefully, no more discussion about incident at the Lone Pine.
It’s done. It’s over and laid to rest.
Also laid to rest this week is Velma Beatty, one of Clare County’s oldest residents. She died earlier this week at age 102. What was great about Velma was she was so active and interesting. As a newspaper we had done a couple of stories about her in the last few years.
More and more of us are living to be 100, but few of us live to 102, and continue to be active and coherent until death. Velma was one of those. As a friend of her family- The Seelbinders, who have lived in the Windover Lake area for many years, I followed Velma through her later years, and can truly say, Clare County has lost a great woman who actually was a direct descendant of our nation’s second president, John Adams. How cool is that?