Police Officer Suspended After Tape Shows He Beat Suspect

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio – A police sergeant in the small Trumbull County city of Newton Falls has been suspended after he was caught beating a suspect by a dashboard camera set up in a fellow officer's cruiser, Action News' Wendy Gillette reported.

The videotape shows what looks to be a brutal beating. Newton Falls Police Sgt. James Zimomra is seen punching Connies Cassedy at least two times.

After reviewing the tape, the Newton Falls police chief suspended Zimomra for 30 days.

Sgt. Ron Lane said that the tape lacks context because you do not see what happened immediately before Zimomra got rough. Lane did add, however, that his fellow sergeant made some mistakes -- mistakes that reflect badly upon the entire department.

"Everybody looks at the Police Department as one -- as a whole," Lane said.

That night, police were called to the Chassis Lounge when Cassedy's boyfriend, John Lusher, punched out a window.

Zimomra chased the couple into a nearby alley.

In his report, Zimomra wrote: "I continued to handcuff the male when the female came at me as if she was trying to get a hold of my weapon. I then felt something as if I was being hit."

Other police officers in the alley said that Zimomra acted in self-defense. Cassedy's attorney, however, is not buying it.

"If it was self-defense, he went beyond what is necessary to protect himself," the attorney said.

What happened in the alley is still under scrutiny. An outside agency, the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department, will now conduct its own independent investigation.

Zimomra is appealing his suspension.

Meanwhile, Cassedy and her boyfriend both face police charges, but they also plan to sue the Newton Falls Police Department for damages.