The Columbus Dispatch

ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR GUILTY IN BAR INCIDENT

Friday, November 30, 2001
NEWS   01A

By Kevin Mayhood
Dispatch Staff Reporter

Columbus police had to use pepper spray to get a Franklin County assistant prosecutor into a cruiser after he refused to leave a Brewery District bar this month, a police report says.

Trent Turner, who police say was very drunk, also yelled, "I'm a county prosecutor! You can't do this,'' according to the report, which was made public yesterday.

Turner, who has worked for the prosecutor's office for six years, struggled with several officers before eventually being handcuffed and placed in the cruiser Nov. 19.

He also refused to tell officers his name and told two of them that he'd "have their . . . badges,'' the report states.

When paramedics tried to treat Turner for the chemical spray and injuries he'd suffered in a fight that drew police to the bar, he swore and spit on them, witnesses said.

Police charged Turner, 33, with disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Yesterday, his attorneys, Sam Shamansky and William Meeks, pleaded no contest for him. Turner didn't appear in court, which is extremely unusual when a plea is entered. Instead, he was in Shamansky's office, a block from the courthouse.

Municipal Court Judge H. William Pollitt Jr. found Turner guilty and fined him $100.

"To come out with a disorderly conduct (charge), he needs to consider himself truly fortunate,'' City Prosecutor Steve McIntosh said.

"When Sam came to me to see if we could do something with the case, I told him, 'I think Trent already got his break,' '' McIntosh said.

Based on the four-page arrest report, police could have charged Turner with criminal trespassing, resisting arrest, assault and more, McIntosh said.

Shamansky would not comment on the specifics of the report.

"We are all fallible,'' he said. "We all engage in conduct we later regret.''

Officer James Ashenhurst, one of five officers to respond that night to BW-3's Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar on S. High Street, wouldn't discuss specifics of the arrest.

"For his actions, we thought it was the appropriate charge,'' Ashenhurst said. "I'm glad he pleaded to it.''

Shamansky would not say whether Turner is getting counseling, but said that he and Meeks "have taken appropriate steps to make sure the medical issues attendant to this case are being appropriately addressed.''

Turner's boss, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, said he would discipline Turner, who was suspended from his job the day after the incident.

"We withheld immediate action until we could further investigate and pending the outcome of the charge,'' O'Brien said.

He said he plans to meet with Turner and Shamansky soon, but declined to say how Turner would be disciplined.

O'Brien said Turner has been using his paid vacation and sick leave to cover his days away from the office.

According to the report, police found Turner at the restaurant after employees called police around 9:15 p.m. about a fight.

Turner was found with a bloody nose and swollen lip and was very drunk.

The other person involved in the fight, who has not been identified, already was gone.

When police told Turner it was time to leave, he became belligerent and uncooperative and the situation escalated, according to the report.

kmayhood@dispatch.com



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