Sunday, June 25, 2017 Elyria 59°


Man pleads guilty to string of charges after saying more police should have been killed by gunman


ELYRIA – Johnny Smith Jr. pleaded guilty Friday to a string of charges for a May incident in which he struggled with Elyria police officers trying to arrest him.

Smith, 46, won notoriety after Elyria police Officer Jay Loesch punched him while Smith was handcuffed to a hospital bed after Smith commented that more police officers should have been killed by Ronald Palmer, the gunman who shot and killed Officer James Kerstetter on March 15, 2010. Loesch was one of the responding officers who shot and killed Palmer after he refused to obey officers’ commands to surrender.

Smith was most recently arrested May 24 after his son called police to report his father was smoking crack in the bathroom. The son told officers that Smith had been drinking and was becoming agitated and violent.

When police tried to arrest Smith a scuffle broke out and he shouted comments about the Jan. 20, 2011, incident at EMH Elyria Medical Center. Smith was paid $50,000 by the city of Elyria to head off a planned lawsuit over the 2011 punch, which happened while he was being treated following a struggle with police arresting him for his role in the theft of steaks and beer from Apples supermarket.

Smith’s guilty plea in the latest case to assault, obstructing official business, possession of drugs, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia could carry a prison sentence, but Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi has not held a sentencing hearing yet.

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