Victim filmed disturbing incident on cell phone
Southfield, MI – Detroit residents, D’Marco Craft and Michaele Jackson are suing the city of Detroit and Special Operations officers Richard Billingslea and Hakeem Patterson of the Detroit Police 5th precinct for being beat-up and maced for no justifiable reason.
The suit was filed in Federal Court in Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Representing Mr. Craft and Mr. Jackson is Solomon Radner and Ari Kresch of 1-800-LAW-FIRM.
On the morning of May 31, Craft and Jackson went to a gas station on Harper in Detroit, Michigan to purchase cigarettes. Officers Billingslea and Patterson were on site when the plaintiffs arrived. When Craft walked into the store he saw the officers. Craft left the store because he experienced harassment from these officers in the past and tried to avoid them.
The officers followed Mr. Craft out of the store and verbally abused him. The officers continued the abuse but did not arrest Craft or order him to do anything.
Plaintiff Jackson entered the gas station to purchase cigarettes for Craft when the first of several unprovoked and violent physical attacks with the special operations officers occurred. The complaint filed Tuesday, details this assault and the others that followed.
On his first attempt to enter the store, Mr. Jackson was tackled and thrown to the concrete face-first. While Jackson was held down, he was subjected to verbal abuse. During Mr. Jackson’s second attempt, he was maced, kicked, punched among other abuses detailed in the complaint. Mr. Jackson suffered these physical assaults without any provocation or lawful reason whatsoever. Jackson never fought back.
The police report written by officer Billingslea, the main aggressor who initiated the assaults, indicated that he was attempting to place Mr. Jackson under arrest, but was unable to without the use of force. However, at no time did either one of the officers tell Mr. Jackson that he was under arrest, nor does the video substantiate these claims.
Mr. Craft filmed the entire incident on his cell phone in-spite of the continuous verbal and physical threats from the defendants. Contrary to some media reports, neither Craft nor Jackson was ever charged with a crime.
“The police report is clearly a fabrication and is in direct conflict with the footage from Mr. Craft’s cell phone. It’s outrageous that the officers who are supposed to protect the rights of their citizens behave in such an unwarranted, aggressive and cruel manner,” added Radner.
“When I saw the video, the police seemed to think that they had a license to abuse defenseless Detroiters. Unfortunately, we see it in our practice regularly,” said Kresch.
In 2015, Lorenzo Harris was attempting to escape officers Billingslea, Patterson and another officer during a high-speed chase that resulted in the death of two young children. Additionally, serious injuries were suffered by three other children and one adult.
The officers were found to be in violation of the police department’s policy on pursuing suspects by vehicle. Officer Billingslea, the driver of the police vehicle who has a checkered past, was suspended for three days as a result. Harris was convicted of manslaughter in March of 2016.
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