WARREN, Ohio (WYTV)) – A former Warren police officer was in court Wednesday facing several charges surrounding a stolen vehicle.
Reuben Shaw pleaded not guilty to grand theft and breaking and entering in connection to a vehicle that he had towed last year from a home in Warren to a private garage on Palmyra Road.
Shaw had the car removed from a Kenwood Avenue residence he was called to in his capacity as a police officer. The house appeared empty and abandoned and Shaw noticed a vehicle parked in a locked garage. He expressed interest in restoring the 1969 Chevy Nova and had the vehicle towed to a private garage without permission
Members of the Trumbull Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance were in court Wednesday to support Shaw. They believe he is not being treated fairly because he is black.
“Handcuffed and taken out of here like a criminal. It sticks in my craw after 25 years. You don’t treat a veteran like that,” said Pastor Phillip Shealey. “A lot of issues and cases were much more severe than what we are dealing with right now, and all they amounted to was pretty much a slap on the hand.”
The group points to Sgt. Manny Nites, who in 2009 was disciplined for leaving work to coach his son’s basketball games. In 2012, he was fired after he stopped by a fantasy football party while on duty.
Nites eventually got his job back after an arbitrator’s ruling.
Shaw’s father, Eddie Shaw, said his son took the junk car to restore it and believes while he broke police procedure, it should not have been investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“This is just a key to get into Reuben’s business, to get into his financial operations and just a witch hunt,” said Shaw.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said Shaw is facing charges for no other reason other than he committed a crime.
“Race had no factor in this at all,” said Merkel. “I can’t be concerned with things that went on in the past. I was chief for two weeks when this incident took place. I deal with those incidents when they come to me, and we move forward from there.”
Shaw was fired last month from the Warren Police Department after an internal investigation concluded he had committed multiple infractions in his capacity as a police officer with the city. He was also indicted by a Trumbull County grand jury in May.
Bond was set at $2,500.