CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A police officer indicted for perjury remains on unpaid leave, but as we dig deeper, a troubling pattern is developing.
He is the top drunk driving ticket writer in Ohio, but now many of his arrests could be questioned.
It started with a video made by Austin Skinner-Smith when he was stopped. Zahursky, in his report, said 27 times that Skinner-Smith slurred his words, including an exchange played in court where Skinner-Smith appears to speak clearly.
In virtually every arrest we reviewed, the same buzz words appear, starting with, “I approached the drivers window and immediately detected the obvious odor of alcoholic beverages emanating from the interior of the vehicle" and, "The drivers eyes were bloodshot, red and watery, he appeared disoriented, drunk-like and dazed.”
It seems no one talks to him; all speech is referred to as “slurred” or the “speech was thick, slurred and mush-mouthed.”
You have to ask, can every person stopped exhibit exactly the same behavior?
“It’s the same routine. It’s the same routine. Almost like a template that he fills out,” believes attorney Anthony Manning, who defended Skinner-Smith.
He added, “First paragraph is what the stop is and then the rest is pretty much the same narrative.”
“I don’t know how this wasn’t caught by whoever should be reviewing his work. It’s a huge cash cow,” observed Attorney Joseph Pattituce, who has had clients call and ask about reopening their cases.
There is ample proof that the bottom line to this story is the bottom line. We reviewed records from 2016, 2017, and 2018 and found Zahursky’s tickets generated well over $300,000 for courts in Parma and North Royalton.