Detroit lieutenant sues department for his suspension after telling a protestor to 'go back to Mexico'

A Detroit police lieutenant who was suspended after telling a pro-Palestine protester "why don’t you just go back to Mexico?" is now suing the department. 

On May 19, outside the NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner at Huntington Place in Detroit –that President Joe Biden spoke at– a pro-Palestine rally took place and Detroit police were there to make sure things remained peaceful.

Lt. Brandon Cole, 45, was there and began arguing with Palestinian protester and organizer Lexis Zeidan. The incident was captured on video and went viral. Detroit police also provided body-camera footage.

"Why don’t you just go back to Mexico? Cause that's where you were hanging out," Cole shouted at Zeidan. "That's why you were hanging out there and having a good time there."

"I’m not even Mexican, you idiot," Zeidan responded.

"No, you were there. You went there," Cole continued.

Eventually, Zeidan asks Cole if he was stalking her on Instagram. 

When asked by FOX 2 why he shouted those remarks at the protester, he said, "I used what I had."

Cole was suspended days after the incident. Detroit Police Chief James White even submitted a referral to the Board of Police Commissioners to have Cole's pay withheld. 

Cole had been with the Detroit Police Department since 1999. And on Tuesday, he filed a lawsuit in federal court against White. 

"(My comment) was more of me individualizing her," Cole said. "Could I have said some better wording? Absolutely, but at that particular moment in time, maybe I should’ve said 'How was your vacation in Mexico?"

Cole's attorney, Soloman Radner, said Cole’s civil rights were violated.

"He's not making reference to her ethnicity, that is making reference to her Instagram," Radner said. 

However, a statement from the Detroit Police Department says:

"The allegations are baseless, unfounded, and lack any semblance of merit. The decision to suspend Lieutenant Cole from duty was based on evidence that he had engaged in bias-based policing tactics and other misconduct during the recent NAACP event. Under no circumstances will such conduct be tolerated by any member of the Department, and this lawsuit will in no way deter the Department from administering appropriate discipline based on all of the facts." 


Detroit lieutenant suspended after telling protester to 'go back to Mexico'

A Detroit police lieutenant was suspended after telling a pro-Palestine protester "why don’t you just go back to Mexico?"