Struthers officer suspended for ‘inappropriate language’

27 Investigates

Chief Tim Roddy said Michael Trolio was being suspended for a rant caught on Facebook containing “inappropriate language”

STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) — A Struthers police officer has been suspended 10 days without pay for “inappropriate language” while he was off duty. A recording of that was later shared on social media.

Michael Trolio was sent a letter Wednesday notifying him he is being suspended. He has 10 days from receiving that letter to appeal his suspension.

Trolio received his certification in 1998 from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

He was appointed as a Struthers reserve officer in 1999 and hired full time in 2013.

In the letter announcing his suspension, Chief Tim Roddy said Trolio was being suspended for a rant caught on Facebook containing “inappropriate language.”

The letter does not specifically state what Trolio said, but it did say his language would be appalling regardless of circumstances, but even more so now “it is especially troubling in light of recent national events.”

In an audio recording shared on Facebook, Taylor Venneri claims Trolio is the voice heard in a profanity-laden argument using a racial epithet. In a clip that WKBN has obtained, a man’s voice can be heard saying “…all over the internet, really?  With all your little f*** boys and <n-word> and all that other bulls*** f*** commenting?” Venneri, who posted the video, says she is the other voice in the video. She can be heard asking the man, “How can you say that word? You’re aware my daughter is half black?”

Trolio’s personnel file from Struthers notes that he has undergone several different training courses, including training in 2016 for cultural diversity.

Roddy wrote in the disciplinary letter that Trolio’s conduct, even though he was off duty, is conduct unbecoming of an officer of the Struthers Police Department and his words have an impact not just on the department, but the entire community.

“I recognize you do not have a history of disciplinary action for this or any other reason,” Roddy wrote. “However, your choice of words has resulted in negative comments about you and may adversely affect the public’s perception of the police department.”

But First News found a disciplinary memo dated November 23, 2011 in Trolio’s personnel file in which Chief Roddy suspended him for 30 days because of “unfavorable statements” posted on Facebook.

Struthers Mayor Cat Cercone Miller said she’s aware of the allegations and she says they’re not representative of the Struthers community.

“We feel that we’re handling it the best way that we know how,” she said.

After his current suspension is completed, Trolio must attend sensitivity training that Roddy will set up. He must also write a letter of apology and explain in the letter why a certified police officer should not use the type of language he did.

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