Man accused of brutally attacking Cincinnati police officer goes on trial
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The trial gets underway Wednesday for a man accused of brutally attacking a Cincinnati police officer.
Durrell Nichols, 27, is charged with assaulting Officer Doug Utecht as police tried to take him into custody at the Westwood YMCA in 2019.
Nichols is held in lieu of $100,000 at the Hamilton County Justice Center on a felony assault charge.
His case will be heard in a bench trial with Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Hatheway deciding the outcome, not a jury.
Nicholas was first arrested back in the summer of 2019.
Officer Utecht and several other officers responded to the Y on June 6, 2019 after staff reported a man was refusing to leave the gym, court records show.
Police said they found Nichols acting disorderly and repeatedly tried to get him to leave the gym before attempting to arrest him.
Officer Utecht attempted to de-escalate the situation and calm down Nichols, but the 300-pound man responded violently to the officer and his partner.
The brutal assault on the officer continued even after he was unconscious, causing serious injuries including lacerations to his face and broken facial bones, police said at the time.
Nichols was initially determined to be incompetent to stand trial.
After undergoing mental health treatment, however, he was found to be competent to stand trial in January 2020, according to court documents.
That cleared the way for the criminal case against him to proceed.
The incident prompted Officer Utecht to sue Nichols, who has mental health issues, and his mother, Lakisha McMillan, who acts as his primary caretaker ensuring Nichols regularly takes his anti-psychotic medications, according to the lawsuit.
The February 2020 suit also names “John Does #1-10” who are named as third parties unknown at that point to Officer Utecht despite “reasonable efforts to determine their identity (who) may be liable in whole or part” for his injuries.
As a direct result of the attack, Officer Utecht suffered “extreme pain and suffering and will have permanent scarring and disfigurement from the injuries,” his lawsuit alleges.
The officer also incurred “economic damages including lost wages, past medical expenses and will incur future medical expenses in an amount that cannot yet be determined.”
The lawsuit is on hold at Utecht’s request pending the resolution of the the criminal case, court records show.
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