The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 5, 2012

Cop faces charges

Officer who said he was shot charged with falsification, business obstructio

ASHTABULA —  A police officer, who was fired in February 2011, now faces charges of falsification and obstructing official business, City Solicitor Michael Franklin said.

Patrolman Robert Wolford, 41, was fired because of insubordination, then-City Manager Anthony Cantagallo said at the time.

Wolford said he was shot in the arm with his own gun in August 2010, police said. Later, he refused to take a polygraph test, city officials said.

“The account of the shooting has been determined to be false,” Franklin said.

Consequently, Wolford has been charged with two counts of falsification and two counts of obstructing official business, Municipal Court records show. He pleaded not guilty to all counts and is free on a $4,500 personal bond, court records show.

Wolford has hired a private attorney, court records show.

A pretrial has been set for 1:45 p.m. Dec. 13 in Municipal Court, records show.

After Wolford was terminated by the city, he took the matter to arbitration and the arbitrator ruled in his favor.

The arbitrator was chosen by the police union and the city.

Franklin said the city is appealing the ruling in Common Pleas Court. “We don’t believe he (the arbitrator) applied the correct law in the situation,” he said.

On Aug. 21, 2010, Wolford said he was shot at 3:52 a.m. near West 38th Street along a section of railroad tracks while chasing two fleeing suspects, police reports said.

At the time, Wolford said he suspected the men were burglars and a struggle with one of the suspects resulted in his gun discharging, according to police reports.

In a Feb. 2, 2011 letter, Police Chief Robert Stell and former Lt. John Koski warned Wolford about alleged non compliance with police department orders and procedures, including not honoring subpoenas and not showing up for a grand jury.

Franklin said Wolford is not working for the city at this time.

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