Former Detroit cop gets probation for assault, misconduct in office

A former Detroit police officer was sentenced to probation on Thursday in a case that left a man beaten and the officer facing assault charges.

Edward Hicks, 29, was sentenced to 18 months probation, 80 hours of community service and must complete an anger management program. Hicks was convicted by a jury of misdemeanor aggravated assault and felony misconduct in office in June.

Police say in August 2016, Deonta Stewart was walking through the Martin Luther King Homes in Detroit when Hicks yelled for him to stop. Stewart fled and Hicks caught up, then beat him until he bled, police say. 

Prosecutor Kim Worth says Stewart was not immediately taken for treatment for what turned out to be very serious injuries to his eye and face. Hicks also allegedly tried to get Stewart to lie about how he got the injuries. 

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Hicks was charged in the incident with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. 

During the sentencing hearing Thursday, defense said there's a reason to believe Stewart fell and suffered the injuries from that fall. He also said that losing Hicks job as an officer was punishment in itself.

"He will almost undoubtedly never engage in police work again and that will hurt him severely," the lawyer said.

Hicks was also given the opportunity to speak before learning his sentence.

"I have been a Detroit police officer from 2008 until 2017, I have always served my community with complete honesty and integrity," he said.

He said throughout the case, a lot has been said about him that made him appear to be a bad person.

"I have always had the utmost respect for the law and the citizens of Detroit," he said.

Prosecution argued that because of Stewart's criminal history, defense acted like it didn't matter what Hicks did. And in reference to Hicks suffering his injuries from falling to the ground:

"That is just so vile and offensive to say because that is not what the jury found. The jury did not believe the defendant. The jury believe that he assaulted him. They jury believed that he abused his power," the attorney said.

As he handed down his sentence, the judge said some excessive use of force cases, the facts and the appropriate outcome can be a very muddy issue. 

"Adding to the confusion of course is the current wave of populous rage against police officer in many cases of national attention involving the alleged excessive use of force by police officers against usually African American males, usually unarmed," he said.

The judge said he was not going to be guided in his sentence by that populous rage. He added that policing the Martin Luther King Homes has to be the most stressful and "fruitless undertakings that any police officer can be assigned to." He said when he was 29 years old, no one could pay him enough money to do that. 

The judge said they didn't necessarily hear the whole truth from either side. He's confident that when Stewart ran, he knew who he was running from.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.