Defense begins case in Ottawa Hills officer trial

Michael McCloskey testifies before a jury, Tuesday, May 11, 2010.

Witnesses for the defense took the stand Wednesday in the trial of an Ottawa Hills police officer.

Officer Thomas White faces a charge of felonious assault with a gun specification for shooting a motorcyclist during a traffic stop last May, paralyzing him.

Wednesday's testimony focused on the detailed events that took place over just a matter of seconds. "But the right hand is suspiciously down at the right on his lap," said Columbus Police Officer James Scanlon.

Scanlon told the court that Michael McCloskey's hand positioning during the traffic stop could have raised a red flag.

A close look at the police dash cam video shows it appears McCloskey's right hand does appear to brush his jacket as it rests on his upper thigh.

McCloskey said Tuesday his actions were innocent. "I believe I was shifting--taking it from gear--from first gear into neutral while being shot. It was all a sequence (Lawyer: "Very quick?") Very. It all took place very fast," said McCloskey.

Back on the defense, a former FBI agent testified the actions of the riders prior to the stop indicated McCloskey and his riding buddy Aaron Snyder were under the influence. "Their operation of the motorcycles would be consistent with that--veering back and forth across the lane," said Urey Patrick.

Patrick also stated that Officer White's actions may have been affected by the fact that the incident took place very early in the morning. "It's more perilous because of the reduced visibility," said Patrick. "You can't see as well for all the logical reasons of course." But, in the end, it just may be the close review of the dash cam video that impacts the decision of the nine women and three men sitting on the jury.

It is still unclear whether Officer White will take the stand in his own defense. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to 11 years in prison.

Testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday.