By EILEEN MCCLORY and DENISE GRANT
Former Findlay Police Capt. Sean Young has filed an appeal of his firing from the department last September.
He also has filed a case with the Ohio State Personnel Board of Review, alleging he was fired because he was a whistleblower.
Don Rasmussen, Findlay’s law director, said the whistleblower case is claiming that Young was fired in retaliation for a 2016 incident when then-police Chief Greg Horne and Young clashed with Mayor Lydia Mihalik. Mihalik was bypassing Findlay Municipal Building security while carrying a concealed 9 mm Glock pistol. The mayor has a concealed-carry license.
Police wanted to know if Mihalik could legally carry a gun into the municipal building. The mayor is not specifically mentioned in state law as someone who may do so.
Police sought guidance from the Ohio Supreme Court, which said the question needed to be referred to the city’s law director. Rasmussen decided the mayor was considered a law enforcement officer under Ohio law, so she could conceal-carry within the municipal building.
Rasmussen pointed out this week that the gun dispute in September 2016 happened well before a Feb. 4, 2017, incident in which Young threw a video camera at his wife’s head, for which he was charged with domestic violence, placed on administrative leave, and eventually fired.
Young was serving as acting police chief at the time of the camera incident.
If the city had been trying to punish him for the gun dispute with the mayor, “Then why would we have appointed him acting chief?” Rasmussen said this week.
Rasmussen said the state, which has complete jurisdiction over whistleblower cases, has halted proceedings on the whistleblower case until the separate appeal of Young’s firing can be completed.
If Young’s firing is overturned during legal appeals, it would make the whistleblower case moot.
Kevin Greenfield, Young’s lawyer, did not return several calls seeking comment.
Young was fired in September 2017 after the video camera incident was investigated by the internal affairs section of the Toledo Police Department.
Mihalik has said the outside review by Toledo police found that Young committed a “willful violation of domestic violence and other administrative violations.”
During the investigation, Young admitted his guilt to a domestic violence offense on several occasions during interviews, and admitted that he “intentionally” and “deliberately” threw the camera at his wife in an attempt to harm her.
The report also found that Young committed administrative violations when he was not completely accurate and truthful about all details concerning the incident. He did not initially accept responsibility for his actions, the report found.
Young was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for the camera incident. The case was dismissed in Findlay Municipal Court in January after he completed a diversion program.
Young had served the police department since 1996. He was named acting police chief following Horne’s retirement in January 2017, and was among three officers being considered for police chief at the time of the domestic violence incident.