North Royalton officer suspended for one day without pay following internal investigation

NORTH ROYALTON - A North Royalton police officer will be suspended for one day without pay, following an internal investigation regarding his conduct during and after the arrest of a 22-year-old who was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired.

The city's law director told FOX 8 that the North Royalton police chief and Officer Steve Zahursky also agreed that in the event it is determined that his actions constitute criminal conduct the city can impose further and additional discipline.

A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate the officer.

Last month, the FOX 8 I-TEAM broke the story that Parma Municipal Court Judge Timothy Gilligan wrote an opinion Octber 24 saying Zahursky’s report on the arrest of Austin Smith-Skinner, 22, contained numerous inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Judge Gilligan further wrote in his judgment entry that “such dishonesty stains the badge of all courageous police officers dedicated to protect and serve.”

Smith-Skinner was arrested in April on several charges including OVI. All charges against him were dismissed.

His attorney is upset with the department's discipline.

"One day off for perjury," said attorney Tony Manning, who represents Smith-Skinner. “What Officer Zahursky did is perjury. It caused the imprisonment, the jailing of a citizen, an innocent citizen.”

Manning said Smith-Skinner used his cell phone to videotape his arrest. That videotape was played in court during a suppression hearing.

North Royalton officials said Zahursky is a hardworking officer.

Continuing coverage, here.

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