I-TEAM: Woman files suit against Parma police and corrections officers, alleges excessive force

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – A Parma woman has filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court alleging excessive force by Parma police and corrections officers.

Liliya Mitina filed the lawsuit Monday. Her attorney, Paul Cristallo, states the single mother, was “wrongfully restrained, arrested, detained, and subjected to violent, unnecessary and unwarranted abuse by City of Parma Police and jail personnel.”

According to the lawsuit, Mitina was arrested July 27, 2018 after she went to the Parma police department to drop off her son for visitation with his father.

The suit further states that after her arrest she was taken to the booking room. According to the lawsuit and booking room video, officers put her in a restraint chair. She was handcuffed and officers checked to make sure she had nothing in her hands.

“Ms. Mitina clearly has nothing in her left hand and C.O. McNamee has assured himself of that. C.O. McNamee, just two seconds after checking Ms. Mitina’s left hand, yells at her “Open your *******  hand or I’m going to break your fingers,” the suit states. “ C.O. McNamee reaches into his left pocket and pulls out a sharp metal pen/nail/compliance device. Remarkably, the other Parma Officers do nothing to intervene on Ms. Mitina’s behalf. Rather, they all look on with rapt attention.  C.O. McNamee begins pressing this sharp metal object into the center of the tendon side (not the fleshy palm side) of Ms. Mitina’s left hand. “

Cristallo says the “ sharp metal object” caused injury to his client and she now has a scar.

“No one should be subjected to the brutality and humiliation Ms. Mitina endured at the hands of the City of Parma Police and Corrections Officers who are sworn to uphold the law and protect the rights of citizens,” Cristallo told the Fox 8 I-Team. “Because she could not find respect and impartiality in the City of Parma, she will now seek justice in court.”

The suit states after she dropped her son off, several Parma police officers followed her outside of the department.

Parma police told FOX 8 Mitina was arrested for violating a court order which prohibits recording inside of the Parma Justice Center/Police Department. She was charged with Contempt of Court, Resisting Arrest, and Obstructing Official Business. 

Security video of the Parma parking lot shows Mitina walking out of the department and then running. Several Parma police officers follow her in the parking lot.

Cristallo said the officers told her she is not allowed to videotape child visitation exchanges. She told the officer she understood.

“Liliya Mitina was charged with Contempt of Court (for allegedly recording the less than one-minute drop-off of her son to his father in the Parma Police lobby), Resisting Arrest, and Obstruction of Official Business,” the suit states. “Officer [John] Galinas’ signed statement also attests that he “could see that Mitina was recording the exchange on her cellular phone.” The only evidence of Ms. Mitina recording the child exchange would be Ms. Mitina’s phone, which the police never sought to recover during the months of her prosecution, and the Parma Police Department Lobby video. The Parma Police Department Lobby video, according to the Parma Police, doesn’t exist. That is to say, the only two pieces of evidence which could support Officer Galinas’ allegation that Ms. Mitina was video recording in the Parma Police Department lobby were intentionally never preserved by the police. “

The I-TEAM obtained the police report, and Officer Galinas wrote that he told Mitina to stop several times but she did not listen to him. He said she then walked out to the parking lot.

“Mitina then threw her cell phone in what appeared to be her mother’s car and walked away from me,” Galinas wrote in his report. “ I grabbed Mitina’s arm in an attempt to speak to her and she flailed. I then advised her that she was under arrest for the previously stated ordinances and attempted to put her hands behind her back. Ptl. Mackensen #515, now on scene, attempted to assist me in taking Mitina into custody. Mitina continued to be non compliant, ignoring officers requests to put her hands behind her back, flailing her arms. Officers were eventually able to place Mitina to the ground, where she was handcuffed and taken into Parma Jail. When I responded back to the visitor’s parking lot, Mitina’s mother’s car (mother) and cellular phone were no longer there. It should be noted that there are signs posted in the police lobby that state there is no recording in the station without permission.”  

The father of her child wrote a statement saying Mitina was recording on her cell phone and when the officer confronted her she ran.

Parma police also said there was not an internal investigation on the matter because no complaint was ever filed.

According to Parma Municipal Court records, Mitina pleaded guilty to an  amended charge of disorderly conduct.  Charges of contempt of court and resisting arrest were dismissed.

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