Detroit police officer announces $10 million lawsuit against Warren PD
WARREN, Mich. (FOX 2) - A Detroit police officer is suing Warren Police for $10 million, accusing the department of discrimination and wrongful arrest. But Warren PD is pushing back, releasing body cam and dashcam video that they say tells a different story.
You can hear on the video Detroit police Officer Donald Owens complaining after being arrested by Warren Police, saying the handcuffs were too tight and that his wrists hurt. Owens also says his head was slammed, among other claims.
"It went wrong at the point they tried to intimidate me by telling me they were going to arrest me for something that was not even true," Owens said during a news conference announcing the lawsuit.
"They tried to embarrass and humiliate him. There is no reason they tried to do that other than the fact he's a Black officer," his attorney Michael Fortner also said at the conference.
"[They] spoke all type of racially and disturbing things to me," Owens says. "I asked for medical attention for the injuries and they told me no. I then was being booked and a lady immediately that was processing me, the officer that was processing me, began to tell me I was ignorant, stupid and that I was going to lose my job and she was going to contact my internal affairs herself."
Warren police commission Bill Dwyer says all of this is untrue, saying Owens had no injuries and the handcuffs weren't too tight. Dwyer says things were getting out of control outside of Owens' home in Warren.
"We were doing our jobs. No one wants to get involved in arresting another police officer. I think our officers went above and beyond attempting to resolve the matter just asking him to identify himself," Dwyer said.
Which is one thing both sides agree on - that Owens would not provide all the information Warren police were asking for.
"The officer walked up to me and asked me what was my profession. I politely told him that my profession was irrelevant at the time," Owens said.
"The woman that was injured had been in his home. He has an obligation. He's a homeowner; the incident happened on his front porch. He has an obligation to identify himself," Dwyer said.
Warren Police released the 911 calls, video and audio of the incident that they're referring to, along with a redacted police report.
It's clear there was a lot going on that night outside of Owens' home in November of 2019.
The report indicated police found a car crashed into a home after the person driving allegedly tried to run someone over. Police say there had been a lot of fighting, too.
"I think he should look and talk to the Detroit Police Department internal affairs. He went before them; he was found guilty. The specification is there - it's clear. So I think the officer has a lot of explaining to do," Dwyer said.
But the attorney representing Owens and Reverend Horace Sheffield claim this is part of a broader problem with how Black people are treated in Warren.
"Warren's policy is you can live here, you can visit here, but you ain't free here," Rev. Sheffield said during the news conference.
And now Spectrum Legal Services and the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) are asking people who have been assaulted and mistreated by the Warren Police Department to come forward.