GCRTA & RTA officer sued for unlawful arrest

Posted at 8:36 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 06:44:32-05

A Lakewood resident filed a state-court complaint after she was arrested and allegedly assaulted by an RTA police officer in March 2015.

According to the Chandra Law Firm, LLC., Jessica Ferrato alleged Officer Jonathan Pacholke arrested her, and tackled and pinned her to the ground, despite having no reason for the arrest. Ferrato said she repeatedly complied with Pacholke's demands that she show him a valid RTA pass, and she explained that he had no right to detain her. 

After an internal investigation, the law firm reported, RTA concluded that it would not proceed with criminal charges against Ferrato, even though Pacholke issued her a citation. The RTA also issued a public apology for Pacholke's conduct and suspended his employment before placing him on a year-long probation for "violating departmental procedures" and "failure to control the situation that led to an escalation of the incident and a use of force, which may have been avoided."

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Ferrato's lawsuit is filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and alleged claims for United States constitutional violations, including unlawful seizure and excessive force under the Fourth Amendment, and Ohio-law claims for battery and false arrest. Ferrato is represented by the Chandra Law Firm. 

Peter Pattakos of Chandra Law firm said, "Officer  Pacholke’s  conduct  crossed  clear  constitutional  boundaries  as  to  when  a  police  officer  is  permitted  to  arrest  and  use  force.  It’s  a  shame  that  this  matter  couldn’t  be  resolved  without  litigation,  but  Ms.  Ferrato  is  committed  to  vindicating  her  rights  and  helping  to  ensure  that  what  happened  to  her  doesn’t  happen  to  others.”