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Riverside, Tipp City man working to settle $3.6M lawsuit

By Steven Matthews, Dayton Daily News, Ohio
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 02--Riverside officials are working on a settlement agreement with Roy Call, who sued the city last year for $3.6 million after he claimed he was illegally detained and briefly had his gun confiscated in August 2012.

Riverside City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday night on legislation to approve a $5,000 fiscal impact, which is the city's deductible under its insurance policy, according to City Manager Bryan Chodkowski.

Chodkowski said he could not disclose the total amount that is being negotiated with Call until both parties have signed the settlement agreement.

"We think this decision to settle is clearly in the city's best interests," Chodkowski said. "I would refer any comment on their position to Mr. Call or his attorney."

According to the resolution, the city will be required to provide the police department with training on second amendment rights by Dec. 31 of this year.

It also states the settlement is "not an admission of liability; rather the City expressly denies liability and affirms that it is settling solely to avoid incurring additional costs in defending the pending claim."

Legal expenses have been covered as part of the city's insurance coverage, Chodkowski said.

Call's attorney, Charles E. McFarland of New Castle, Ky., said Call has not signed the agreement. Asked if Call intends to sign it, McFarland said, "We don't know yet until we see the final results."

"It's not officially settled yet and I'm not supposed to be talking about it," he said.

The incident in question occurred at 4:30 a.m.Aug. 12, 2012, at Speedway, 3201 Valley Street.

Call, a Tipp City resident, was openly carrying his Springfield XDM .40-caliber handgun when he walked into the Speedway to buy a sports drink.

That's when Call said he was illegally detained and briefly had his gun confiscated. Call filed a lawsuit against the city of Riverside, its mayor and two police officers in the United States District Court/Southern District of Ohio in Dayton.

Then-Riverside police Chief Mark Reiss said his officers acted correctly and all Call had to do was cooperate.

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"Had he been truthful with the police and simply provided his identification so that they could have quickly ran it, that encounter would have been over very quickly, within a minute or two," Reiss said last year.

Call does have a conceal and carry license (CCW), but Reiss said Call did not immediately provide police with his CCW, driver's license or admit that he drove to the gas station.

Police reports show a citizen at the Speedway was concerned that a man had a gun in the open and told Riverside police Sgt. Harold Jones, who motioned to Call to come outside.

The lawsuit recounted that "After Call complied with Jones' request, which was made with no probable cause, or a warrant, and without legal authorization, Sgt. Jones questioned Call, 'Why are you wearing an open gun?' Jones continued to question Call even though Call asked, 'Am I free to go?' to which Jones told him no."

Call was charged with obstruction of justice, but it was dropped a couple months later, Chodkowski previously said.

Jones' incident report said Call would not answer questions relating to his identity.

Call had his gun taken from him, was handcuffed and placed in the back of a cruiser while Jones and Riverside police officer Matthew Jackson found Call's ID and searched to see if he was under any disability. Call's lawsuit also said he had a recording device which Jones found and turned off and that officers "falsely reported that Call had a history of initiating confrontations with police officers and recording the incidents."

Call had his gun and ammunition returned to him after his identification check was complete.

The suit asked for $600,000 for compensatory damages for "emotional trauma" and other factors and for $3 million in punitive damages for the "willful, callous and malicious conduct" of the defendants.

Chodkowski said the city budgets between $10,000 and $15,000 annually for claims and judgments.

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(c)2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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