Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Man says undercover officers beat him unconscious: Civil suit against police

A 23-year-old man says he was tackled and choked unconscious by undercover officers who were searching for a fugitive in Grand Rapids.

Article here (via mlive). 

James King claimed he thought he was being mugged when a plainclothes Grand Rapids Police detective and FBI special agent asked for his identification and held him against an unmarked SUV on July 18, 2014. He said didn't know the men were law enforcement.

King, who wasn't the man police were seeking, says he tried to run but was assaulted during a chaotic, confusing scene described in a lawsuit filed Monday, April 4, in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. King is represented by attorney Patrick Jaicomo, of the firm Miller Johnson.

King, who was charged in the earlier incident and found not guilty, was previously a GVSU student.

On a side note: this case brings up the legality of whether police can be videotaped during the course of their jobs. One of the officers allegedly involved in Mr. King's arrest asked that bystanders delete any video they may have captured with their cell phones.

This article (from 2012) says that "Slowly but surely the courts are recognizing that recording on-duty police is a protected First Amendment activity. But in the meantime, police around the country continue to intimidate and arrest citizens for doing just that. So if you're an aspiring cop watcher you must be uniquely prepared to deal with hostile cops." Michigan does allow recording of police - this doesn't mean that it will make the police who are being recorded very friendly to the subjects who are doing the recording. Or that it will prevent any charges from being filed - even in connection with the recording, such as disturbing the peace, obstruction of officers, etc.

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