ACLU of Michigan alleges Taylor police use excessive force, demands DOJ investigation

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a complaint Thursday demanding that the Department of Justice investigate the Taylor Police Department.

The ACLU asked for the investigation after allegations of excessive force and brutality by Taylor police.

"The city of Taylor police department has maintained a notorious reputation for racial profiling," said Jeffrey Edison, with the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

In the complaint, the ACLU cites 20 "alleged and documented acts of unconstitutional, extreme violence committed by Taylor police officers."

The complaint comes as many lawsuits have recently been filed against the department.

Instances referenced include situations where police allegedly unnecessarily escalated encounters, accusations of physical abuse, and allegations that officers have blackmailed victims of police brutality.

Related: Citizen journalist sues city of Taylor after being arrested for livestreaming crash

In September, a suit was filed alleging that officers used excessive force when they stopped Imani Ringgold D’Abell for not having a license plate on his vehicle in 2019. Video from body cams and police vehicle cameras showed D'Abell being tased. The suit alleges that he posed no threat to the officers and was not armed.

In August, body cam video emerged showing a police officer punching and throwing a man, Brendan Morgan, on the ground in 2020. That officer was charged and placed on unpaid leave.

The complaint also includes Dale Bryant's case. The double-amputee with no use of his right arm alleges that when he called police when his dog got tangled in his crate, the animal was taken and Bryant was charged with animal abuse. He said he eventually got the dog back malnourished. The charges against him were later dropped.

"Deal with people like human beings," Bryant said.

Other cases mentioned in the complaint include a violent arrest in 2016 after a driver, Calvin Jones, wouldn't give an officer his license or registration until he was told why he was pulled over, beatings during traffic stops, and other allegations of force.

The ACLU pointed to a case in which a white man open carrying in the city was treated with respect and restraint as evidence different types of people are treated differently in Taylor by police - but apparently, anyone can end up in a violent encounter with law enforcement there.

Kristina Katterman-Saul says her 18-year-old son with autism did nothing to provoke police to this reaction, but he was subjected to that treatment anyway.

"When Chris stopped at a traffic light - the vehicle was swarmed by police with their guns drawn, he was violently pulled from the car and tackled to the ground by multiple officers," she said. "I know what happened to Chris is not an anomaly. I’ve seen numerous reports of Taylor police resorting to violence for no reason."

The ACLU wants better training, transparency, and accountability. 

The Taylor Police Department said it takes all of the matters very seriously. The department also said it will cooperate with the DOJ.

Read the full ACLU complaint below: