Deputy jumps gun, then points it at men

February 21, 2004
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Lakewood-Two men searching in a friend's car for change to pay their bar tab were surprised by an off-duty Cuyahoga County sheriff's deputy who thought they were stealing from the car and stuck a loaded gun in their faces, police said.

The deputy also put his gun to the head of the car owner and aimed the weapon at a man talking on a cell phone nearby, apparently for staring, police said.

Lakewood police arrested the deputy, Jamie Bonnette, 29, who was charged with public intoxication, aggravated menacing and using a weapon while intoxicated, all misdemeanors.

Police did not test his blood alcohol level because he was not driving.

Police said Bonnette smelled of alcohol, swayed back and forth and slurred his words.

When asked by police whether he felt he was in any condition to intervene in a crime, he replied, "probably not," but that he believed it was necessary to "take action," according to police.

Bonnette has not been suspended but faces discipline, and possibly firing, said sheriff's inspector Douglas Burkhart.

Bonnette's problems began about 11:15 p.m. Thursday, when he spotted David B. Taha, 22, and Jonathan S. Zingale, 23, in a car parked near Winchester Bar at Madison and Winchester avenues.

"He confronted them, and they gave him the story that it was a friend's car who was in the bar, and that they ran out of money and needed some change," said Police Chief Tim Malley.

Bonnette had not been drinking in that bar.

It would appear Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald T. McFaul should be spending a bit more time cleaning up his own house, instead of spouting off about how concealed handgun license (CHL)-holders cannot be trusted to bear arms for self-defense.

"If somebody punches you in the mouth, do you run to your truck and get the .38?" he asked the Plain Dealer while explaining his opposition to concealed carry reform in 2002. "That's the person we need to be careful with."

Apparently, citizens may need to be a bit more "careful" with McFaul's deputies. McFaul is running for re-election in the March 2 primary. He is opposed by Woodmare Chief of Police Lamont Lockhart.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.