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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Westlake police officer indicted for excessive force, obstruction

A Westlake police officer was indicted in federal court for excessive use of force on an arrested suspect and subsequently attempting to cover up the incident, law enforcement officials said.

Robert Toth, 48, of North Olmsted, was indicted on one count of excessive use of force and two counts of obstruction.

Count 1 charges Toth, in his capacity as a police officer, with causing bodily injury to someone identified as T.A. on or about April 24, 2014. In doing so, Toth deprived T.A. of his Constitutional right to be free from the unreasonable use of force by a law enforcement officer.

Count 2 charges that between April 25, 2014, and May 1, 2014, Toth knowingly falsified a document – specifically an official report concerning the arrest of T.A. – with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation and proper administration of that matter.

Count 3 charges that on May 3, 2014, Toth impeded an investigation by providing false information to a federal law enforcement officer surrounding the encounter with and arrest of T.A.

“The vast majority of police officers do their jobs with courage and honor,” U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said. “However, when we believe that the evidence demonstrates that an officer has intentionally crossed the line into criminal conduct, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action. I want to compliment the FBI on their thorough and professional investigation into this matter.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bridget M. Brennan and Chelsea Rice following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 8, 2016