WATCH: Detroit Police Duo Named in 2 Excessive Force Lawsuits in One Month

Aug 24, 2017

DETROIT – Cellphone video of two Detroit police officers roughly subduing and arresting a man they say physically threatened them and failed to obey orders at a gas station is spreading quickly online.

Many on social media are criticizing how officers Richard Billingslea and Officer Hakeem J. Patterson handled the situation, based on the footage.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said there is additional gas station surveillance video shows the suspect swinging at the officer; however, he’s not releasing it because the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is currently reviewing the incident for possible criminal charges against an officer involved.

While the incident occurred in late May, it wasn’t submitted until Aug. 18.

Craig said Billingslea was placed restricted desk duty some time in June following an internal investigation.

“Force is only used to overcome resistance,” Craig said. “Any time you put hands on an individual we evaluate that.”

The pair has been named in two separate federal lawsuits filed in federal court this month. Both involve excessive use of force and unlawful arrest.

The most recent lawsuit naming Billingslea and Patterson was filed Wednesday by D’Marco Craft, the man who recorded the video of the May 31 gas station arrest, and Michaele Jackson, the man whom police took to the ground twice, injured and arrested.

After the initial confrontation, during which the officers took Jackson to the concrete outside the gas station near an ice cooler and knelt on his back, Jackson walked into the gas station, he says, to purchase cigarettes.

The video shows Billingslea follow, and there is some physical contact before Billingslea pulls out his pepper spray and sprays Jackson in the face. Jackson appears to be standing still with his hands down at his side when Billingslea wraps his arm around Jackson’s neck and slams him to the ground, knocking a shelf of snack items to the floor in the process.

According to the lawsuit, police arrested Jackson and, after treatment at a hospital, jailed him for three days, threatening a charge of felony resisting arrest. But the charge was never filed and he was released.

MLive has asked whether a warrant review was ever submitted to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and is awaiting a response.

Craft says he was handcuffed and threatened with arrest if he didn’t turn over the key code for officers to access the contents of his cellphone. He claims police slammed the phone, broke the screen and threw it into a garbage can, but it was later retrieved by another office when Craft explained what happened.

The phone, however, was not immediately returned and was taken by police as evidence without a search warrant, according to the lawsuit.

It was returned days later, broken, but the video was eventually recovered.

The incident began when Craft and Jackson arrived at the gas station at 17046 Harper to buy cigarettes.

The lawsuit says Craft spotted the officers, who he claims has harassed him in the past, and turned around, at one point saying, “f**k you” when an officer said, “you ain’t buying nothing today?”

There was a verbal exchange that escalated over a period of minutes, after which Jackson exited the car and attempted to walk into the store. He claims Billingslea got in the way, intentionally drawing contact. According to Billingslea’s police report, Jackson approached the officer aggressively with a clenched fist and threw a punch, but missed.

Billingslea ordered Jackson to the ground, but Jackson didn’t comply, so Jackson was placed under arrest with force, the officer’s report says.

Another lawsuit filed against Billingslea, Patterson and a third officer, Clinton Mack, in federal court on Aug. 8, by Terry Parnell of Detroit claims the officers unlawfully arrested him while using excessive force after his wife fired a gun outside their home on Greensboro on Jan. 14.

Billingslea was previously suspended for three days following an internal investigation into a fatal police chase in June of 2015. Billingslea, who was driving, began to chase Lorenzo Harris after his partner claimed he saw a gun in Harris’s hand. No gun was recovered.

Harris’s vehicle reached in excess of 100 mph during the short chase through a busy Detroit neighborhood. He lost control, struck and killed two children, Michael A. Jackson, 6; and Makiah Jackson, 3, who were playing in their yard. They later died.

The Detroit police officers, who had no working dashboard camera, claim they never exceeded 50 mph and called off the chase and lost sight of Harris prior to the crash.

Witnesses testified the police vehicle was only about 6 houses behind when Harris lost control.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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