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Rogue Detroit Police 'terrorized' Medical Marijuana Community, Lawyer Says


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ETROIT, MI -- A group of rogue Detroit police officers, including one who committed suicide in front of his parents' home last month, are accused in a federal civil lawsuit filed Wednesday of conducting illegal raids and seizures of medical marijuana businesses and users.

"This has been happening for quite some time," said Detroit-based attorney Michael R. Dezsi, who represents a couple claiming Detroit police raided their Warren home and stole 50 legal marijuana plants. "This particular segment of the police department has been terrorizing the community and terrorizing business owners ... and I'm not sure why it hasn't come to light ... "

Dezsi believes "fear of retaliation" is a large factor.

PDF: Detroit Narcotics Unit Lawsuit

Timothy and Hatema Davis of Warren claim on Dec. 28, 2013, six plain-clothes officers in masks with rifles drawn kicked in their front door, stormed into their home and handcuffed them.

Timothy Davis was a certified caretaker and Hatema Davis a legal patient under Michigan's voter-passed Medical Marijuana Act. They were allowed to have up to 72 plants in their home and were within the limit, Dezsi told MLive Thursday. 

The lawsuit says the officers for two hours "extensively tore apart" the Davis' home and, without ever presenting a search warrant or a receipt of seized property, took 50 marijuana plants and byproducts. 

Police then took Timothy Davis to a seemingly abandoned building in Detroit and questioned him for five hours, the lawsuit says.

He was eventually released and never charged with crimes or presented with any paperwork related to the raid.

It's not clear why the officers were conducting a raid outside the Detroit Police Department's jurisdiction in Warren, a city that borders Detroit's northern border.

"That's another mystery," Dezsi said. "We don't know why they were in Warren but it seems to surprise a lot of people. 

"Your guess is as good as mine." 

Dezsi said it's his understanding Warren police, he believes called by neighbors who believed the Davis' were being robbed, showed up at the scene but seemed uninvolved in the raid itself.

MLive Detroit has requested and is awaiting comment from the Warren Police Department.

"This has been going on quite some time and hasn't become common knowledge," Dezsi said. My clients told me, "We knew we were being robbed by the cops."

The lawsuit names Lt. Charles Flanagan, head of the since-disbanded Narcotics Unit, Officer James Napier, Officer Novak and several John Does, as well as the Detroit Police Department, which Dezsi claims did not adequately train or monitor the officers. 

Napier, a married father of two, shot himself in the head while parked in front of his parents' Sterling Heights home on Jan. 22.

June West, the director of communications for the Detroit Police Department, confirmed all of the officers named in Wednesday's lawsuit were already under investigation in an FBI probe that began last year.

She said Novak and Flanagan are suspended with pay.

"The city does not comment on pending litigation," West said. "There is a federal investigation into a small group of members from the (former) Narcotics Unit."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, after an internal investigation revealed possible wrongdoing in the Narcotics Unit, suspended at least four officers, disbanded it and folded narcotics enforcement into the Major Violations Unit. 

Dezsi says he expects to serve the city with the lawsuit this week and they'll file a response in federal court within a month.



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7 or 8 years ago my nephew was robbed in Detroit by suburban cops, no charges ever filed.  They where trying to break into his safe with a 2 1/2 pound sledge hammer and the top of the hammer came off as the assifer I mean officer was swinging away and knocked him out cold.  other officers plundering the other rooms came running down stairs.  Seen there butt buddy out cold my nephew handcuffed to a chair laughing his donkey off they beat him good.  took him back to suburban jail for 3 days no arraignment let him go.

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