LFC Comments by Brian Massie:
Thanks to a Portage / Trumbull lobbyist for sending us this disturbing article:
Yesterday there was a military coup in Trumbull County when the Junta overthrew Commissioner Frenchko for refusing to apologize to the sheriff. They arrested her and took her off to jail.
Portage / Trumbull Lobbyist
LFC Comments: Here is a video of the Commissioners’ Meeting showing Commissioner Frenchko being arrested by the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Deputies. It appears that you are not allowed to criticize law enforcement in Trumbull County. Speaking up on behalf of your constituents is also not acceptable in Trumbull County.
At the 10:36 minute mark you will see how the Trumbull County Sheriff deals with citizens exercising free speech. This was not their finest hour, and the Sheriff should resign immediately.
Frenchko arrested at meeting
Accused of disrupting public county session
July 8, 2022
Raymond L. Smith, reporter
[LFC Comments: This picture gives the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department a very bad image. Arresting a Commissioner elected by the people for criticizing their boss. Sorry, but she does not look like a domestic terrorist to us. Shame on Sheriff Monroe and the other two Commissioners for selling out their fellow Commissioner. We would hope that citizens in Trumbull County will have the Sheriff and the other two Commissioners removed from office.]
WARREN — Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko was arrested by sheriff deputies Thursday morning on charges that she disrupted the board of commissioners meeting.
Frenchko was placed in handcuffs as she attempted to defend herself on statements made by Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe in a letter sent to the commissioners.
She claims the sheriff set her up; he says that’s not so.
The commissioner is charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor of disrupting a public meeting. She was booked, photographed and released.
Monroe had sent a letter to the commissioners demanding an apology from Frenchko for statements she made during a June 1 public meeting questioning the medical treatment of a jail inmate.
Frank Fuda, commissioners board president, had the commissioners clerk read the entire letter aloud into the record at the meeting. Frenchko repeatedly made comments while clerk Paula Vivoda-Klotz read.
Monroe, in the letter, requested a public apology from Frenchko as a first step to regaining public trust.
“Commissioner Frenchko provided commentary in connection with her reading of the letter suggesting a factual basis existed to support the alleged denial and withholding of medical attention when requested,” Monroe wrote. “Such a public presentation prior to initiating an appropriate investigation through well-established, existing investigatory protocol is contrary to sound government and procedural justice safeguards.”
Monroe noted that Frenchko on at least two separate occasions was told of the proper procedure to initiate regarding a complaint or allegation of improper treatment of inmates.
“Instead, without any investigation or corroboration to verify whether the letter was factually based or simply unfounded allegations, Commissioner Frenchko chose to read it publicly without even having initiated or attempted to initiate a proper investigative procedure,” he wrote.
Monroe noted Frenchko has not provided an official complaint, a copy of the letter to the sheriff’s office nor sought an official investigation.
Monroe, however, said he began an investigation on his own.
“Not only did the inmate’s records establish an absence of any request for medical attention being made, but jail records and other relevant information, as well as relevant jail personnel, substantiated that no request for medical attention was made, let alone denied,” Monroe wrote.
Monroe noted that the inmate himself said: “This sheriff is doing a great job.”
“The complaint had no basis in fact,” he continued. “Nonetheless, Commissioner Frenchko presented a letter to the public that was neither accurate nor factually based in a manner clearly indicating that the contrary was true.”
She negatively portrayed both the performance and the professional reputation of the third-party vendor providing medical care to inmates of the Trumbull County jail, Monroe continued.
“I expect the apology to be delivered in the same public forum as was the publication of the false accusations,” Monroe wrote.
Frenchko immediately began defending her original June 1 statements.
She noted there was a letter from an inmate’s mother about someone who requested medical treatment.
“They were told that a kiosk was broken,” Frenchko noted. “They ended up getting meningitis and being in a hospital. I sent a copy of this letter to the mother and she emphatically said her son did not say “the sheriff is doing a great job.”
Frenchko said once she brought the information up in a public meeting, she began receiving more complaints about things occurring in the jail.
The commissioner noted she asked the sheriff for standardized policies and jail operating procedures.
Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said she was disruptive.
At that point, two sheriff deputies approached Frenchko and asked her to stand.
“We are not going to deal with this,” the deputy noted. “You are being very disruptive. You’re disrupting the meeting.”
“I’m disrupting the meeting?” she asked.
“That’s right, ma’am,” he responded. “Stand up, you can be removed for being disruptive in a meeting.”
“I’m not being disruptive,” she responded.
She was then escorted out of the meeting room, as the meeting continued to take place.
A few moments later, sheriff Sgts. Harold Wix and Robert Ross could be seen taking Frenchko, who was handcuffed, to the elevator.
Cantalamessa suggested that while he did say out loud that Frenchko was being disruptive, he did not call the two deputies over to have her removed.
“They did that on their own,” he noted. “They took it upon themselves to take action.”
Frenchko said she was set up by the sheriff because she brought to light during the June meeting what has been happening in the Trumbull County jail.
“I saw a copy of the legal definition of disrupting a meeting on our clerk’s desk a couple weeks ago,” Frenchko after she was released from the jail. “Last week, during our meeting, there were two lieutenants from the sheriff’s office in the meeting. Since I was sick, I guess, they decided they did not want to do it then.”
Frenchko said the sheriff has not allowed his deputies to attend meetings on a regular basis for several months.
“I was set up,” Frenchko said. “I was arrested for exercising my First Amendment rights.”
Frenchko said the deputies did not come up to her until they were signaled by Cantalamessa that she was being disruptive.
“I did not raise my voice,” she said. “I did not curse. I was careful in my language.”
Monroe denied Frenchko’s allegation that she was set up. Cantalamessa also said his colleague was not ambushed.
Monroe said he agreed once again to send deputies to the meetings only at the request of at least two of the commissioners.
The sheriff had stopped sending deputies to the meeting several months ago after Frenchko had a confrontation with a deputy.
“We are there to protect the rights of the public as well as the commissioners,” Monroe said.
“The clerk was crying and asking not to be recorded by the commissioner. She kept interrupting the clerk as she was reading the letter. She was in distress.”
Monroe noted that Fuda and Cantalamessa repeatedly asked Frenchko to stop interrupting the clerk while she was doing what she was ordered to do by Fuda.
Categories: Free Speech Zone