Hibl reports Scozzari trial winding down

July 6, 2012

Clare City Manager Ken Hibl returned from the Scozzari civil trial in Bay City to report to the Commission at the regular meeting Monday evening.

In his report to the board, Hibl said the trial, a lawsuit filed against the city and two Clare Police officers after the shooting of 51-year-old William Scozzari in an altercation with two Clare Police officers in September of 2007, is winding down and the trial is scheduled to be complete July 5.

Hibl, who has been attending the trial in Bay City’s U.S. District Court since it began June 19, said testimony in the lawsuit was complete. “The jury received instructions today,” he told commissioners, “final arguments are tomorrow [Tuesday] morning and I expect the case to go to the jury at noon.”

In a lawsuit filed in March of 2008 on behalf of his brother William, Scozzari’s brother Steven charged Clare Police Chief Dwayne Miedzianowski and Clare Police Officer Jeremy McGraw with “excessive force, deliberate indifference to Scozzari’s medical issues immediately after the shooting, assault and battery, gross negligence, municipal liability, conspiracy to violate Scozzari’s civil rights and discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Scozzari, who had lived at the Lone Pine Motel for several years, died after he was shot during an altercation with the officers on September 18, 2007 when they attempted to arrest him at the Lone Pine Motel in Clare. The officers said Scozzari threatened them with a hatchet and a knife, which prompted the shooting. Scozzari was hit by five bullets from McGraw’s gun and died at the scene.

The Clare officers were cleared of wrongdoing in Scozzari’s death in 2008 by State Police investigating the shooting and by former Clare County Prosecutor Norm Gage, who ruled the shooting justified because the officers had tried and were unable to subdue Scozzari with pepper spray and a Taser.

Current Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis reviewed the investigation and witness testimony and released a statement June 26 saying she upheld the determination that the shooting was justified.

In another matter Monday evening, the Commission honored community leader Bob Schellhas, who died in May. In his report Hibl called Schellhas, “a highly respected businessman and community leader in the City of Clare for more than six decades.”

Clare Mayor Pat Humphrey presented the Schellhas family with a resolution honoring him for his contributions.

Other business at the Clare City Meeting Monday included:

*Approval of the purchase of a new lawn tractor from low bidder LOWCO of Clare for a purchase price of $10,099. In his report Public Works Director Al Jessup said prepayment would reduce the price of the tractor and attachment to a total of $9,987.28 and that the Clare Little League would pay $5,000 of the cost.

*The Commission approved the installation of a stop sign at the exit of the New Horizons Center onto Riverwood Drive and Vinewood Street as recommended by the Traffic and Safety Committee.

*A contractual agreement with Building Inspector Dave Williams was tabled until the July 16 meeting.

*A $223,250.69 payment to Waste Water Treatment Plant improvement project contractor J. R. Heineman was approved.

*In his City Manager’s report Hibl said the Open House for the Clare Railroad Depot during Summerfest was a success with approximately 250 people attending.

*Monthly bills totaling $81,037.13 were approved.

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4 Responses to Hibl reports Scozzari trial winding down

  1. bigd

    July 7, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Jury finds clare not guilty! Well, I’m not surprised,the clare police probably did a great job in my opinion covering up some of the important facts. This person that was shot/killed was very disabled. What could he have done that was such a threat to such highly skilled and trained professionals?? There are only 2 people that really know. SAD, very sad.. They probably don’t care. Now there teflon and they know it.. come to clare on vacation and leave on probation..Or worse! What a shame, I hope the people in this county keep the pressure on the guilty. Only the jury says NO..

  2. bigd

    July 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

    The comments of putting it all behind and move forward is VERY SAD! Good “ol” boys.. These two officers should be ashamed, they should resign. They are in several peoples opinions,that they may be cowards.That man was not capable of a threat and they know it. They win..

  3. drsuess

    July 11, 2012 at 6:35 am

    What facts were covered up? Were you at the trial? Do you have any idea what questions were asked of the multiple witnesses called? Lastly, for as much as Mr. Scozzari has been viewed as a cripple and a handicapped individual, do you really know that he wasn’t capable of violence? How about the fact that he was wielding a knife that night? How about the fact that the evidence that was presented in court proved that he was without a doubt? The officers did their job and a man died. That is tragic his life was lost, but they did their job. It should be put behind us and people should move on. For five years not only the family, but the officers have had to live with this and had it held over their heads. It is over. Also, you are wrong…it wasn’t not guilty, it was not liable. There is a difference. I guess emotional fueled rhetoric didn’t win as I said it wouldn’t months ago.

  4. bunnym

    July 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    drsuess, you think you know it all?? Unless you pulled the trigger? What happened was WRONG and I only wish my brother had a gun or a cannon that night so there would have been a real reason to brutally kill him. Over kill is what they did to a small blind handicap man who was home alone and I’m sure terrified… besides he committed no crime. I only hope that someone comes to you door one night when your home alone and you try to protect yourself and they shoot you to death… and keep shooting you as your lying on the ground and that is the bullet that killed my brother… oh yes the one that was shot as he lay wounded on the ground. Cowards….nothing but cowards and if you think for one minute that this STORY will ever go away…guess again. I’ll live to make sure this story goes NATIONAL…INTERNATIONAL… mark my words!!!