Since the Lorain Police Department stomped through his Wickliffe home in 2008, ex-LPD officer Joseph Montelon has been a constant megaphone for misconduct allegations against his former employer. Law enforcement claims the raid was done because Montelon — who was booted from the force in the 90s after pleading guilty to sex charges — wrote threatening letters to the department’s Chief Cel Rivera.
But since the search, Montelon hasn’t been charged with a crime and maintains the raid was retaliation for speaking out (read all about it in Scene’s cover story “Excessive Force”). But now, new information obtained by Scene shows the Feds are investigating whether the 2008 raid was legit.
Montelon is currently suing the department and Rivera, but the suit has been spinning wheels while the Lake County prosecutor decides whether to pull the trigger on charges related to the events of 2008. In the meantime, Montelon fired off a request to Rep. Steve LaTourette’s office earlier this year asking the congressman to look into possible federal investigations related to the raid. In turn, the congressman batphoned the Department of Justice and received word that yes, the Feds are sniffing through the aftermath.
“We have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gather additional information regarding the circumstances of Mr. Montelon’s complaint. Once we have obtained this additional information, attorneys in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division will review it and determine whether prosecution is warranted,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in a letter to LaTourette obtained by Scene.
“Please be assured that if the evidence shows that there is a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes, appropriate action will be taken,” Perez signed off.
The letter shouldn’t be taken as a brush off, according to Montelon’s attorney, Terry Gilbert.
“I don’t think they just send those letters out unless there’s some merit to the idea of the investigation,” he tells Scene. “I think you’ve got to take it seriously that they’re looking into potential criminal activity.”