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Five Years After a Prosecutor Found No Reason to Charge a White Cop Who Violently Beat a Black Man During a Traffic Stop, a Jury Took Just Hours to Convict Him, Thanks to a Legal Loophole

An Ohio man who survived a brutal police beating after a traffic stop in 2017 is claiming victory now that the officer accused, Michael Amiott, has been convicted of assault and interfering with Richard Hubbard’s civil rights.

Richard Hubbard III, 30, was the subject of a viral video taken on Aug. 17, 2017, in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, Ohio, that shows him being beaten by Euclid police officer Michael Amiott, who now faces jail time.

“That’s really me on that tape. I really wouldn’t even think nothing like that would happen to me like that,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard and his girlfriend were on their way to the bank when they were pulled over by Amiott for not coming to a complete stop while making a right turn at a red light.

“I recently found out I did a rolling stop infraction or something like that, but I recently figured out they just profiled me all the way,” Hubbard said.

Dashcam video shows the traffic stop, and after Amiott discovered Hubbard’s license was suspended at the time, Hubbard was asked to step out of the car. Once Hubbard stood outside the driver side door, with Amiott standing behind him, the encounter quickly turned violent.

Amiott can be seen kicking and punching Hubbard, and once on the ground, Hubbard can be seen on dashcam and bystander video being slammed several times onto the street and punched by the officer while in a prone position.

“There were a couple head injuries, a couple neck injuries, back injuries for sure but the head injuries were kind of serious for sure because he was slamming my head into the pavement and everything,” Hubbard said of the assault.

Hubbard was charged with resisting arrest and not following police instructions, but those charges were later dropped. Following a 45-day suspension after the violent arrest, on October 13, 2017, Amiott was fired from the Euclid Police Department for violating department policy according to a WYKC report.

A year later, on October 22, 2017, an arbitrator ruled that Amiott must be rehired to the Euclid Police Department, given back pay and complete additional training. Meanwhile, Hubbard and his girlfriend filed an excessive force lawsuit against the city of Euclid for $450,000 that the city agreed to pay in April 2021.

“The whole time, it wasn’t really worth the money for me, because I was like, I’ve got to get some type of justice, I didn’t like just getting paid, I really wanted him to go to jail, that was my main focus for him to lose his job and go to jail,” Hubbard said of the settlement and his desire for Amiott to see jail time.

Hubbard’s attorney, Christopher McNeal, says the viral video of Hubbard’s violent arrest helped his client gain local support.

“We had to win this case in the court of public opinion, because even when we consider to be objective visual evidence of just how bad this was, you still have people who look at this and come to the conclusion, well, he must have done something,” McNeal said.

Richard Montgomery, a Euclid resident and community activist, is one of the thousands who saw the viral video early on and supported Hubbard. He also realized accountability would be hard to come by relying on local prosecutors, so he exploited an Ohio law to help Hubbard and his attorney find a path to justice.

“Ohio is just one of a few states where citizens can petition a judge to arrest somebody if they feel like they have sufficient evidence,” Montgomery described of the mechanism he used to join the effort to help Hubbard get justice.

Ohio revised code 2935.09 says, “A private citizen having knowledge of the facts who seeks to cause an arrest or prosecution under this section may file an affidavit charging the offense committed with a reviewing official for the purpose of review to determine if a complaint should be filed by the prosecuting attorney.”

“Now the judge has a legal responsibility using Ohio revised code, 2935.09 and .10, to look at the evidence, establish whether or not if there’s sufficient evidence for charges and skip right past the prosecutors, grand juries and issue an arrest warrant,” Montgomery said.

Nearly five years after the violent arrest occurred, on July 25, 2022, Euclid Police Officer, Michael Amiott found himself on trial with the possible jail sentence looming overhead if convicted of charges lodged against him. After a week of testimony, it took a jury five hours to find Amiott guilty on two misdemeanor counts of assault and interfering with Hubbard’s civil rights.

“I think it’s very telling that a jury of Euclid citizens convicted Michael Amiott of charges that the very local prosecutor didn’t even want to file against him,” McNeal said of the successful tactics used to bypass local prosecutors to get a conviction.

“It’s kind of hard to put a police officer in jail with all the resources they’ve got,” Hubbard said. “I was hoping one of them can be felony charges, but you know, I’m just going to take that and hold my hands up, and right now it feels good, I’ve got to wait for the sentencing and just solidify everything,” Hubbard continued.

Following Amiott’s conviction, Euclid Police told WKYC, the officer has been “assigned to non-enforcement, administrative duties until further notice.”

Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer released a statement about the verdict on the department’s Facebook page: “With regard to the recent ruling in the Officer Michael Amiott trial, I believe it is important that the process was allowed to reach its ultimate conclusion in the court of law and not the court of public opinion. It is my hope that this decision can start to bring closure to all of the parties affected by this five-year long process”

Even though Hubbard still suffers from PTSD while driving thanks to the violent arrest five years ago, he’s hopeful the man who assaulted him will serve time behind bars. Amiott faces a year in jail and would be eligible for probation.

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