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Published: Friday, 6/28/2013

Toledo police officer to appear in Sylvania court


A Toledo police officer relieved of duty this month is to appear in court today on several misdemeanor charges.

Robert Adams, 62, is charged in Sylvania Municipal Court with criminal damaging and two counts of aggravated menacing.

A 36-year veteran of the department, he has been stripped of his gun, badge, and police powers.

Mr. Adams is accused of pulling a gun on Terry Easter, Trena Cook-Easter, and their 7-year-old son, on June 1, as well as punching and breaking a window of a silver Mercedes at Kroger, 1414 Spring Meadows Dr.

The court appearance today is the first for Mr. Adams, whose leave from the department is paid.

According to a Lucas County sheriff’s report, Mr. Easter’s car was parked in a fire lane outside the store and Mr. Adams, who was off duty and wearing street clothes, asked Mr. Easter to move.

Mr. Easter moved the car, but then returned when Mrs. Cook-Easter brought out groceries.

The officer and Mr. Easter argued. Mr. Adams attempted to write him a ticket.

The dispute escalated when Mr. Easter took a picture of Mr. Adams and his vehicle.

Mr. Adams asked Mr. Easter for his identification, which Mr. Easter declined to give him, the report states, prompting Mr. Adams to open Mr. Easter’s vehicle door.

Arnold Reed, an attorney representing the Easters, said the attack was racially motivated.

Mr. Adams is white and the Easter family is black.

“When you approach a family ... use [the word] ‘slick’ twice …you look at all the reasons it could have been, OK, what conclusions are you led to?” Mr. Reed asked.

Mr. Reed said “slick” is a derogatory way in which blacks are called “slippery.”

Mr. Reed and Mrs. Cook-Easter said they want the charges against Mr. Adams to be elevated to felonies.

They claim he received preferential treatment because he is a police officer.

“We want to make sure this guy is taken through the system and make sure he’s treated like a normal, nonpolice defendant,” Mr. Reed said.

“ … We don’t want the blue code of silence coming in and affecting how this man is prosecuted.”

Mrs. Cook-Easter, whose son was injured by broken glass during the incident, said she’s trying to reteach her son to not be afraid of police and white men.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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