There is a line between criminals and cops
Toledo police officer charged in shooting plot
Lt. Ramirez charged with felonious assault, obstruction, evidence tampering
A Toledo police lieutenant was arraigned today on charges that he helped to plot the shooting of a woman who testified in a high-profile murder case.
Police Lt. Frank Ramirez, 58, a 31-year veteran of the police department, was charged Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court with felonious assault, obstructing official business, and tampering with evidence. Lietuenant Ramirez appeared in Toledo Municipal Court this morning, shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Lieutenant Ramirez has been suspended without pay from his position, said department spokesman Sgt. Joe Heffernan. Toledo police arrested Lieutenant Ramirez, Sergeant Heffernan said. He declined to comment on the investigation.
"He was taken into custody without incident," Sergeant Heffernan said.
Chief George Kral has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Friday to discuss the case, he said.
During the arraignment, Judge Joshua Lanzinger set bond at $100,000 at the request of Jennifer Bainbridge, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor. He set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 19. The lieutenant remains this afternoon in the Lucas County jail.
Defense attorney Gretchen DeBacker, who is representing Lieutenant Ramirez, said her client "intends to cooperate as part of this investigation." She said he is the afternoon shift commander at Scott Park.
According to court documents, police allege that Lieutenant Ramirez, who is not identified as an officer in any of the documents, “participated in the planning of a felonious assault” in which Tiffany Williams was shot at on Dec. 26 in the 1300 block of Colburn Avenue.
Ms. Williams testified at the murder trials of Samuel Williams, who is of no relation to Ms. Williams, and Cameo Pettaway, who were accused of killing Johnny Clarke and Lisa Straub in Springfield Township in January, 2011.
Johnny Clarke's parents, John Clarke, 45, and Maytee Vazquez-Clarke, 44, were arrested after Ms. Williams was shot at twice. Police accused the elder Clarke of shooting twice at Ms. Williams, 28, in an alley.
Police allege that the lieutenant, who is known to be a personal friend of Ms. Vazquez-Clarke, also “did direct another to remove and delete evidence related to the crime and his involvement in the same.”
An affidavit states there was “evidence of communications between the defendant and another,” and the evidence was deleted “in an attempt to shield the defendant's involvement in a felonious assault plot.”
Mrs. Vazquez-Clarke was charged Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court with felonious assault for her alleged role. She had previously been charged with obstructing official business. The elder Clarke, who has since been indicted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, is charged with felonious assault.
Jerome Phillips, who represents Mrs. Vasquez-Clarke, declined to comment today.