Stark County man cited for swearing in Massillon police station acquitted
Jen Steer, newsnet5.com
3:49 PM, May 2, 2013
4:28 PM, May 2, 2013
MASSILLON, Ohio - A man charged for disorderly conduct for swearing in the Massillon police station earlier this month has been acquitted.
The ACLU said Heath Devoll, of Brewster, went to the police department to file a report on April 8 after someone shot out his car windshield. He became frustrated with the officer who he said refused to take the complaint and said "This is bullshit" on his way out the door.
According to the ACLU, Devoll was taken back into the station by Massillon officers and cited "for cussing."
"This was the victim of a crime who came to the police station for help. Not only was he turned away, he was detained and cited for expressing his frustration with an unhelpful system," said ACLU staff attorney Drew Dennis in a news release on Thursday.
Devoll was charged with disorderly conduct, but a Massillon Municipal Court judge acquitted him on Wednesday. He was also allowed to file a police report for his windshield.
"This was a cut and dried case of protected speech," Dennis said. "Mr. Devoll's statements were not threatening or antagonistic. On his way out the door, he exercised his First Amendment right to criticize the police department's handling of his case."