The Lima bar owner who has publicly claimed that the Lima Police Department is racist, represented himself in court Tuesday.
Brownstone owner Jason Upthegrove spent most of the day questioning Lima police officers regarding his actions during a recent administrative compliance check of his bar. Upthegrove was served a summons days later on a charge of disorderly conduct that occurred March 18th. His question to all the officers testifying, why didn't they give him a citation the night of the incident. The answer: officers did not want to elevate a situation that they say was already heightened.
Several Lima police officers testified that Upthegrove was frustrated, aggravated and yelling not only at the Brownstone but also later at the police department when he wanted to file a complaint. Upthegrove took the stand in his defense testifying he was asking questions of the officers as to why they were there and not getting answers. He feels he was not being treated professionally by the officers. He also testified that he believed the officers were baiting him into a confrontational situation and that he was advocating for his business because the police keep harassing him and driving customers away.
In closing arguments, Lima City Chief Prosecutor Tammie Hursh says that Upthegrove crossed the line from advocacy to disorderly conduct in his actions that night and should be found guilty. In his closing, Upthegrove stated that the Lima police officers lied about events of that night and that a message should be sent to them by finding him not guilty.
Magistrate David Cheney found that Upthegrove's actions that night did constitute disorderly conduct and found him guilty. Disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor. Upthegrove was fined 50 dollars and court costs.
Upthegrove is still facing a keeping disorderly house charge related to the Brownstone with a trial date set in June.