A Michigan man has sued the city of Grand Rapids and its police department in federal court, accusing them of employing excessive force. His lawyers claim the crime was racially motivated, asking “would this horror have happened if his skin had been white?”
Fahirri Jasmall Dannah, 44, filed a claim in U.S. District Court on Thursday, April 28, accusing the Grand Rapids Police Department and five of its officers of violating his civil rights after being beaten unconscious in November 2019 during a traffic stop that left him with brain damage, a cut on his head, and a dislocated shoulder.
Anthony Barberino, Harvey Barker, Zachary Kaiser, Melissa Moninger, and Michael Spees are the five police listed in the case, which claims that the department officers are incorrectly educated and not reprimanded for brutality. Although the lawsuit does not allege that all of the policemen were involved, the lawyer claims that no one did the proper thing.
“We want to know why all those other police who were there, five officers, why no one did the proper thing,” said Jon Marko, Dannah’s attorney. “Justice appears to entail holding people accountable for their conduct and, hopefully, bringing about some change in Grand Rapids.”
The lawsuit argues that “the deprivations (of Danna’s constitutional rights) were created by a succession of purposely callous policies, customs, and established practices by the City of Grand Rapids, including inadequate training.”
Dannah was not driving when the car was stopped for speeding along 11th Street and having an object dangling from the rearview mirror, according to the lawsuit. He was sitting in the back seat.
The car’s female driver came to a halt and allowed cops to search it. According to FOX 2, she then proceeded to the back of the officer’s patrol SUV.
Dannah declined to be searched when the cops ordered it, according to the accusation. He thought the authorities had “no probable cause” to search him.
“What exactly are you on about?” Dannah stated, “I ain’t had no warrant.”
Despite the man’s claims to the contrary, the officers insisted on “patting” him down to ensure he didn’t have any weapons.
“Nope. Nothing compares to that. One of the officers remarked, “You’re not going to jail.”
“After several minutes of being harassed by the officers for no reason, Mr. Dannah attempted to end the engagement,” according to the allegation.
Dannah is seen strolling to the side with an officer whose bodycam is not recording. Then a scream can be heard off camera.
As a result, the officers dashed for him, grabbing him and dragging him back to their cruiser. The officers then begin to slam the man’s head on their patrol car. Even after he lost consciousness, the officers proceeded to beat him and threw him to the ground.
The female officer, out of the three police present, slammed her whole weight into the man, dislocating his shoulder. According to the lawsuit, the other two “punched the defenseless Mr. Dannah.”
“They took him to the ground abusively, causing significant injury, and striking him,” Marko said. They knocked him out and charged him with cocaine use.”
The policemen handcuffed the Black guy, accusing him of assault, violence, resisting, impeding a police officer, and falsely accused him of using cocaine while he was still unresponsive. That would eventually be proven false by toxicology testing.
The published bodycam video does not show any of the altercation that resulted in his injuries. The lawyer believes the video was either destroyed, deleted, or is still in police custody.
Dannah was photographed in the hospital after the beating, indicating that something violent had occurred. Was that, however, a violation of his civil rights or of the police code of ethics?
If a detainee continues to resist following verbal warnings, the GRPD handbook of operations states that officers may use physical force, such as empty hand blows and kicks. “Escalation of force may be authorized when an officer reasonably judges that the degree of force being used is insufficient to quell or control the resistance,” says Section 3-B of the use of force escalation and deescalation division.
Dannah has “severe bodily, emotional, psychological pain, and trauma” as a result of the altercation, according to her lawyers.
Marko took advantage of recent news that were critical of the GRPD. He mentioned Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old African immigrant who was shot in the back of the head by a police officer after being pulled over for a traffic stop because his car had an unregistered license plate.
“Another tarnish on the Grand Rapids Police Department involving a minority suspect,” Marko said of his client’s case.
“We have to ask the GRPD if this crime would have happened if his skin had been white,” he stated in a statement on Friday, April 29. When is this going to end?”
The lawyer claims his client was upset by the news of Lyoya’s death and now suffers from PTSD.
Grand Rapids City’s counsel claims that the city has not been served.
The city’s lawyer stated, “To date, the city has not been served with any litigation brought on behalf of Fahirri Dannah.” “If and when the city is served with such a suit, it will react in accordance with the applicable court procedures and the applicable law.”
The cops involved in the assault on Dannah’s employment status is unknown, and they may still be on the force.