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City police captain resigns

Harbert cleared of criminal violation

April 24, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Former police Capt. Paul Harbert did not violate any laws when he fired several rounds into his personal car parked in his garage on Jan. 31, according to a special prosecutor hired by the city to investigate the incident.

A press release issued Monday by City Law Director S. Gary Repella said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker was hired as a special prosecutor to review possible criminal charges against Harbert.

Harbert, a 22-year veteran of the city police force, submitted his resignation to Police Chief William McCafferty on Monday effective immediately.

"Becker has made a determination he could not find any violation of laws under the Ohio Revised Code or the city's Codified Ordinances that would apply to Capt. Harbert's actions on Jan. 31," said Repella.

He had been placed on sick leave following the Jan. 31 incident at his home.

Repella said investigating officers found evidence that several rounds of ammunition had been fired into Harbert's vehicle parked in his basement garage at his west end residence.

"The facts clearly indicate that Capt. Harbert fired the firearm into his own property and therefore did with privilege to do so. Additionally, both sections 2909.06 and 2909.07 (of the Ohio Revised Code) require the property damaged be that, 'of another' - clearly, the property damaged was Harbert's," Becker wrote in his report to city officials.

"Similar to the analysis under sections 2909.07 and 2923.161 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person is authorized to destroy their own property. Hence, Harbert was authorized to destroy and or damage his own property. Therefore there is no violation of section 549.08 the Codified Ordinances of the city of Steubenville," Becker continued.

"There is no evidence indicating Harbert was under the influence of alcohol or any drug of abuse. There is no evidence that there were empty alcoholic beverage containers or any drug use of any sort," concluded Becker.

City Manager Cathy Davison and McCafferty declined comment and referred questions to Repella.

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