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Legal observers allege excessive force, wrongful arrest during Detroit protests

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Detroit – A group of law enforcement officials are suing the city, Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Commissioner James Craig and other Detroit officials allege they were attacked, restrained with excessive force and wrongly detained during protests downtown last spring.

The complaint filed in the US District Court on Friday alleged five Wayne County lawyers – Emma Howland-Bolton, Marie Reimers, Sara Habbo, Clarissa Grimes and Shannon McEvilly – were soaked in tear gas and were victims of a number of other “unlawful behaviors” liked alleged encounters with officers in May, July and August 2020.

The federal complaint asserts violations of the constitution, municipal liability and gross negligence. The officers’ actions were taken “under the direction and control” of Duggan, Craig and other commanding officials who “acted in bad faith”.

Last spring, thousands of people flooded downtown and other parts of Detroit in nationwide protests in response to the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day under the care of Minneapolis police. Most of the protests in Detroit have been peaceful, although there have been demonstrations with clashes between officers and protesters.

Detroit Corporation attorney Lawrence Garcia said in a statement Friday to the Detroit News that “out of 120 days and nights of protest last summer, fewer than a dozen citizen complaints were filed against the Detroit Police Department about the way how they dealt with the demonstrations “.

“None of the complaints submitted or incidents that DPD itself investigated concerned” legal observers, “” wrote Garcia. “If those who identify themselves as legal observers have waited a year for the lawsuit to be filed and now claim the police abused them last summer, the city will investigate and defend the lawsuit.”

According to the complaint, Howland-Bolton and Reimers participated in a demonstration near Michigan Avenue and the Third as legal observers from May 30-31. When Howland-Bolton was standing on the sidewalk taping the scene, he was “exposed to tear gas and other misconduct” by an unidentified officer. She was then knocked down and handcuffed with excessive force and wrongly arrested, the suit claims.

Reimers observed and was physically exposed to tear gas multiple times from various locations on the sidewalk, including off Woodward Avenue between Grand River and John R, on or about May 30-31, July 10, and August 22, 2020 rush. “

“This excessive violence and this attack while not breaking any laws was

for no probable reason and in retaliation for doing their 1st and 14th.

Change rights “, according to the lawsuit.

Habbo, McEvilly and Grimes made similar claims on August 22, 2020, also alongside Woodward between Grand River and John R, of being exposed to tear gas and harassed by officers. The suit adds that McEvilly and Grimes were reportedly hit with “shields and batons”.

The lawsuit said the defendants had told the public they had to be on the sidewalk and still “attacked, beaten, sprayed and molested them with excessive force” even though they had “complied”.

The federal record argues that the officers failed to intervene or failed to ensure that the officers were properly trained and that they hid evidence of the wrongdoing.

Plaintiffs are seeking legal action and more than $ 75,000 in damages.

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Dusty Kennedy