LIMA — For what amounted to a $50 fine and a guilty conviction on a minor misdemeanor, Jason Upthegrove had his chance to stand up to the Police Department without fear of arrest.Upthegrove, a bar owner and head of the Lima chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was found guilty of disorderly conduct during his half-day trial at Lima Municipal Court on Tuesday. The charge accused him of getting loud and making inappropriate comments to officers conducting an inspection of his bar, The Brownstone, on St. Patrick's Day weekend. The charge included an allegation he argued and was loud with an officer at the Police Department that day.Magistrate David Cheney said Upthegrove crossed the line in the words he used during the inspection at his bar and at the police station when he went to file a complaint.“I have some sympathy for Mr. Upthegrove. I think he was terribly, terribly distraught over it. I sense he thinks he was picked on and it could be argued that was the case,” Cheney said.After the hearing, Upthegrove said he was not surprised by the outcome. “It's rare that any court system will accept the testimony of anyone other than a police officer,” he said.He said the case was not about guilt or innocence. “What I was here about today is to be able to voice my opinion about the corruption that I believe exists within the Lima Police Department,” he said. He said he accepts Cheney's decision and would be paying the fine before leaving the building.“What I don't accept and I will never accept is the cavalier attitude of the Lima Police Department,” he said. “They don't understand the difference between people's rights and that's what I'm here for today.”He said officers are out to get him for advocating for the black community, especially during the fatal police shooting of a black woman holding her baby four years ago. He said officers are intentionally creating situations to try to get him to respond in order to charge or arrest him.During the hearing, four Lima officers testified about the inspection they conducted at the Brownstone. They said Upthegrove called them “Nazis” and “rats” when objecting to officers performing a compliance check at his bar. They also said he was loud with an officer, argumentative and allowed for a song to be played that was derogatory to police.Later, in the early hours of March 18, Upthegrove got into it with a police sergeant who initially refused to give him a complaint form to fill out.Upthegrove gave a statement in his own defense. He said officers were lying and said he didn't call them Nazis. He said he told them this was not Nazi Germany and wanted a valid reason they were in his bar for an inspection. He said he never disobeyed an officer's commands and only was sticking up for his rights in a passionate way.“I didn't like what was going on and I didn't like the fact they were running all of my customers out for the fourth or fifth time,” he said.At the police station, Upthegrove said he got into an argument with an officer at the front desk for referring to him as a “devil” when a sergeant came out to intervene.“I felt his characterization of me as a devil was inappropriate. It was unprofessional,” he said.Upthegrove also called a bar patron and a co-owner of the business to the witness stand. Both testified in his favor disputing what officers said. Lima Prosecutor Tammie Hursh said Upthegrove could have dealt with his frustration in another way instead of challenging officers and swearing at them while conducting the inspection.“There's a line in advocating your cause and acting in a disorderly way,” she said.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.