One can only imagine the thoughts and emotions you’d feel being convicted of a crime and facing significant time behind bars. In the case of David Chislton, who was sentenced after pleading guilty to an array of offenses including arson, domestic violence, and animal cruelty, his reaction was a violent rage.
In 2017, Chislton instigated a stand-off with police after he pistol-whipped his girlfriend and set his apartment on fire when she accused him of sexually abusing a teenage girl. He also pleaded guilty to killing a dog.
A handcuffed Chislton was standing next to his attorney, Aaron Brockler, as Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo sentenced him to 47 years in prison, minus two years for the time he’d already served awaiting trial.
Chislton and Brockler looked at each other in the video before Chislton lifted his cuffed hands and blindsided Brockler with a hefty blow to the head.
The courtroom erupts in chaos
At that point, courtroom police rushed the pair in order to subdue Chislton and get Brockler to safety.
Mr. Brockler was later treated for a concussion at a local medical center. He said in an interview that he “went to go turn to tell him ‘I’ll come and see you privately to discuss what your options are,’ and before I could even get the words out, I just got sucker-punched right in the side of the head.”
Following the incident, Judge Russo’s colleague Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge John J. Russo, issued a statement, saying in part that he’s grateful Mr. Brockler wasn’t seriously injured.
“This incident is a reminder that the safety of our employees, citizens and anyone else in our courtrooms should be a top priority,” he wrote. “We thank the deputies and others who responded during the incident for their quick actions, and we encourage the sheriff’s department to fully review safety protocols for court proceedings.”
Cuyahoga County’s Justice Center, which includes the Common Pleas Court, came under scrutiny in the third season of the popular podcast series, “Serial.” Regardless of any systemic problems, Chislton’s violent outburst shows just how precarious courtroom situations for even those trying to help can be at times.
This is a good reminder of what our police go through on a daily basis trying to get scum like Chislton where they belong – behind bars.