Ex-Hamtramck cop sentenced 3 years for pistol-whipping innocent civilian during traffic stop

A former Hamtramck police officer was sentenced Thursday for using excessive force during an arrest of a civilian and violating his rights in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Ryan McInerney, 45, of Grosse Ile Township, was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. McInerney pleaded guilty on Jan. 8 to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. As part of the plea agreement, McInerney also voluntarily relinquished his law enforcement license.

McInerney admitted to pistol-whipping a civilian during a traffic stop causing the victim to suffer broken facial bones and lacerations requiring stitches the night of June 22, 2014, while one duty.

After the civilian stopped his car, McInerney approached the driver’s side door and ordered his hands up, and the driver complied. Then with no justification, the defendant used his service firearm to pistol-whip the victim several times in the face, through the open window of the car door.

Investigators say the victim admitted that he intentionally memorialized a false account of this incident in an official HPD use of force form in order to cover up his excessive use of force against D.M. and to impede any further investigation of this incident.

McInerney also admitted that later the same night during a different arrest, he pistol-whipped a second civilian, also without justification, breaking the person's teeth.

"The defendant abused the trust given to him as a law enforcement officer when he pistol-whipped two arrestees on two separate occasions," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute law enforcement officials who violate federal civil rights laws to ensure that the rights of all individuals, including those being taken into custody, are protected."