Special prosecutor will be asked to review actions of North Royalton police officer

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NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio-- A special prosecutor is being asked to review the actions of a North Royalton police officer who is currently the subject of an internal investigation.

A spokesman with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office told the FOX 8 I-Team Friday that Prosecutor Michael O'Malley plans to ask a special prosecutor to review the actions of North Royalton Police Officer Steve Zahursky.

This comes a week after the FOX 8 I-Team broke the story that Parma Municipal Court Judge Timothy Gilligan wrote an opinion Oct. 24 saying Zahursky's report on the arrest of Austin Smith-Skinner, 22, contained numerous inaccuracies and falsehoods.

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

"We have also filed a formal complaint on Officer Zahursky and the other two officers," 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.

"You could hear Austin speaking clearly and taking the field sobriety tests," Manning said. "Officer Zahursky said my client was slurring his speech and listen to the video; that wasn't true at all."

North Royalton police do not have dash cameras or body cameras. FOX 8 requested the booking room video but were given only audio of the booking room procedure.
Manning said he also requested the booking room video in June but was told the department no longer had it.

North Royalton’s police chief said he started an internal investigation last week. City officials say Zahursky is working but will not be on the road while the investigation is pending.

Smith-Skinner has had several prior traffic and misdemeanor charges in the past.

Smith-Skinner told FOX 8 he lost his job due to the arrest because he couldn't drive.

"I just want justice for me and everybody else this has ever happened too," Smith-Skinner said.

Read more, here.

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