Indicted North Royalton officer placed on leave; no other complaints against him

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NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — A North Royalton officer indicted on several charges, including perjury, has now been placed on administrative leave.

Law Director Thomas Kelly said Steve Zahursky was placed on leave Friday, the same day he was indicted by a special Cuyahoga County grand jury.

City officials did not say if they are reviewing Zahursky’s other arrests.

“We are not aware of any other cases that are the subject of any complaint,” Kelly said. “There is a process for that, and it’s a legal process. If any other cases are brought to our attention we will look into them promptly.”

Zahursky was named Cuyahoga County’s top OVI cop for 2018.

The charges filed against Zahursky stem from an April 2018 OVI arrest of 22-year-old Austin Smith-Skinner.

Smith-Skinner used his cell phone to video tape his arrest. The case was dismissed by Parma Municipal Court Judge Timothy Gilligan in October after he viewed the video and ruled Zahursky’s report was filled with ” inaccuracies and falsehoods.”

The judge stressed in a journal entry that Smith-Skinner did not slur words.

North Royalton police do not have body cameras or dash cameras.

“The administration and council have talked about body cameras many times before this incident took place,” Mayor Robert Stefanik told Fox 8. “We are scheduled to continue discussions this month.”

Smith-Skinner’s attorney, Tony Manning, said his client lost his job after the OVI arrest because he wasn’t allowed to drive.

“Zahursky should not be a police officer, ” Manning said. “It seems odd that the city hasn’t had any other complaints. I heard from several people who had similar situations.”

He added that Smith-Skinner has now retained Atty. Marcus Sidoti to represent him on a possible civil suit.

Agents with the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation looked into Smith-Skinner’s allegations against Zahursky after the Cuyahoga County prosecutor asked for their assistance.

“When the officer’s conduct came into question, this office notified defense counsel handling cases where the officer was a witness,” said Ryan Miday, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. “Each case where he was listed as a witness was reviewed, as his involvement varied from case to case. This office also appointed a special prosecutor to review his conduct in relation to the video.”

Special Prosecutor John Ricotta said Zahursky is expected to be arraigned on the charges soon.

The police chief has said previously that Zahursky is a good officer that has been with the department for 15 years.

**Continuing coverage**

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