EUCLID, Ohio — A Euclid police officer charged with beating a driver during a traffic stop took the stand in his own defense on the third day of his trial Wednesday.
Michael Amiott told the Euclid Municipal Court why he punched and kicked Richard Hubbard after pulling him over for a traffic violation back in 2017.
When asked why he punched Hubbard, Amiott said Hubbard was resisting him.
“I’m throwing strikes because he was actively wrestling with me, he’s grabbing at my hands, he grabbed my foot and he tried to take me down to the ground,” Amiott said.
Amiott also said he used strikes because he did not want to use other weapons, and one of his hands was injured.
“I feel my hand pop when I broke my hand, and, at some point during this fight, I’m figuring out I can’t straighten my hand out, so that’s why I went to strikes,” he said.
During cross-examination, the city’s special prosecutor, Dominic Vitantonio, pointed out that Hubbard complied during the traffic stop, handing over his Ohio ID, car keys, and even getting out of the car in a timely manner.
Vitantonio says what the dash cam shows is Hubbard turning around — not resisting. After Amiott took Hubbard to the ground, even Amiott acknowledged Hubbard never hit back.
“During the three flurries of punches that you threw, did he swing back at you one time?” Vitantonio asked Amiott.
“While I was throwing the punches? No,” Amiott replied.
The prosecutor then brought up Amiott’s past.
Amiott resigned from Mentor’s police department in 2014 after he was told he would be terminated as the result of an internal investigation that included falsifying information on a police report.
The defense has a few more witnesses to call, including a use of force expert.
The judge still plans to wrap up the trial by the end of the week, even if they have to come to court on Saturday.
Amiott faces three misdemeanor charges — two counts of assault and one count of interfering with civil rights. He’s still currently a member of Euclid's police force, and works in the warrant service unit.
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