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.