LYONS — The suspect in an alleged Newark drive-by shooting has filed a precursor to a potential lawsuit, claiming he was not given a chance to testify before the Wayne County Grand Jury that indicted him.
Richie Stokes Jr. filed a notice of claim Wednesday at the Wayne County clerk’s office. The legal document gives him up to a year to file a lawsuit.
Stokes, 33, of Clyde, was arrested Jan. 26 by Newark police on felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and attempted assault. Newark Police Chief Mark Thoms said the charges stem from an alleged Jan. 17 incident on High Street in the village.
Responding officers spoke to two people who said they were in a vehicle about 9 p.m. when a person in another vehicle shot at them and drove away. Thoms said while no one was hurt, the vehicle was damaged by gunfire.
Stokes was arrested following an investigation that involved the Newark Police Department and Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. Thoms said officers from both departments consulted with the county district attorney’s office on the case.
Stokes was remanded to the county jail after his arrest. In his notice of claim, he alleges the DA’s office violated his due process by not giving him a chance to testify before the grand jury, which heard the case while he was in jail.
Stokes emailed the Times a letter from the DA's office, dated Jan. 27, to the jail notifying Stokes of the grand jury proceeding at 9 a.m. Jan. 29. Stokes said he did not receive the letter until 1 p.m. on Jan. 29.
Named as defendants in the notice of claim are Wayne County, the sheriff’s office, Newark PD, several Newark PD officers, and the district attorney’s office.
The Times sent emails to several officials from those offices. Thoms and District Attorney Mike Calarco replied, saying they could not comment due to pending litigation.
In his notice of claim, which he filed on his own, Stokes says he was unlawfully detained by Newark PD officers in Clyde on Jan. 17 and taken to the Newark police station for questioning. Stokes said he was released at that time but arrested more than a week later.
Stokes, currently free on $15,000 bail, also claimed sheriff’s deputies have continued to intimidate and harass him since his release. He alleges deputies have been sitting in their patrol vehicles outside his home, following him and threatening him.
Sheriff Barry Virts did not return an email seeking comment on the notice of claim.
Stokes is seeking $15 million in damages. He added that he filed a federal lawsuit nearly three years ago seeking $10 million in damages for what he claims is an illegal DWI arrest.
Stokes is representing himself. He is scheduled to be in Wayne County Court on Feb. 25. He said at that time, he will be filing a motion to dismiss the charges in the Newark case due to “tactics” by the district attorney.