Man's girlfriend disputes assault charges against him

Aaron Krause • Oct 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

The girlfriend of a man accused of assaulting her said he didn't hit her.

She also told the Reflector she disputes statements from authorities that served as the basis of a story about Devin J. McGinn published in the newspaper last week.

McGinn's girlfriend, Rhonda Alsett, called the Reflector to explain the sequence of events as she said she witnessed them. The incident allegedly happened near the old Quality Foods building on the northwest side of the Jefferson and Pleasant streets intersection.

McGinn, 25, of 57 Jefferson St., is charged with one felony count each of assault on a police officer and vandalism.

Alsett said she and McGinn got into a "little argument" late Tuesday night. Soon a man came over and told McGinn "you don't hit a woman."

"I wasn't hit, though," Alsett said.

A minute or two later, police arrived. Alsett doesn't know who called authorities.

Norwalk Police Officer Dave McDonough was the first responding officer. Officer Tim Skinner and Capt. Eric Hipp also responded.

As soon as one of the officers got out of his car, she said McGinn put his hands behind his back, the officer handcuffed him and placed him in his car. Alsett said she didn't hear the officer read McGinn his Miranda rights.

"I didn't even think he was under arrest," she said.

One of the officers approached the man who told McGinn not to hit women. The officer then asked Alsett if she was OK and she said she was. Alsett said there were no visible marks on her body.

"Then things started getting bad," she said.

McGinn's hands had been cuffed behind his back, but McGinn managed to position his hands so they were in front of him, Alsett said. The officer asked McGinn to place his hands behind his back and McGinn countered by saying he hadn't done anything.

Alsett said the officer opened his car door and she noticed the officer had Mace in his hand. She asked him whether it was necessary in this situation.

"That's when he Maced Devin. He wasn't posing any kind of threat," Alsett said.

Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel shared a different perspective during McGinn's bond hearing. Christophel said the suspect "became more agitated and resisted arrest" and his behavior reportedly became more violent.

"He also kicked an officer in the shin," Christophel said, referring to Hipp. "The female stated he (McGinn) had too much to drink."

Alsett said if McGinn kicked an officer in the shin, it wasn't intentional.

"I don't think he purposely kicked the officer in the shin; he wasn't even able to see anything," Alsett said, noting he'd been Maced several times.

Two other police cars pulled up to the scene.

Meanwhile, Alsett said McGinn's eyes were burning and he kicked one of the car's windows. Then all three officers got him out of the car, got him onto the ground and were restraining him, Alsett said.

Devin was gagging and told the officers "I can't breath," Alsett said. She saw one of the officers with his hand under McGinn's neck and her boyfriend's face was turning red.

The officer then let McGinn up and put him back into the police car, Alsett said.

"That's when Devin cracked his head onto the window door a couple times," she added.

Alsett said she was trying to calm everybody down.

But McGinn kicked the window again and again was Maced, Alsett said.

She said at one point, officers held McGinn down "quite a while." In response to his complaint about his eyes burning, Alsett said the officers told him if he settled down, they would let him rinse his eyes out.

After police drove McGinn from the scene, Alsett went to the station to drop off his jacket.

McGinn has been Alsett's boyfriend for about two years. Alsett said most of the time, McGinn is laid back.

"I think he's a good guy; he has a good heart," she said. "(He) would do anything for a person."

"Sometime he drinks quite a bit," Alsett said. "He's not supposed to be drinking; (he) has a drinking problem."

She said that was the basis of the argument that led to the chain of events. Prosecutors have declined to file any other assault charges against McGinn based on her input.

McGinn must post a $15,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail.

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