Off-duty DPD commander accused of beating man in Corktown
DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit police commander suspended accused of critically injuring a man, while off-duty in Corktown.
He was working security at a popular restaurant and tossed the man out. Now that man is on life support.
The victim is Michael Karpovich and his attorney says the 41 been unresponsive for nearly 10 days at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
Karpovich's attorney, Jennifer Damico, says Detroit Police Commander Timothy Leach beat Karpovich, hospitalizing him. The commander has been suspended with pay since Thursday as Detroit police launch internal and criminal investigations.
"Certainly our hearts and prayers go out to him (we are) hoping for a full recovery," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. "Commander Leach was off-duty and was working in an unauthorized, outside employment capacity."
Leach was apparently working as a bouncer at Ottava Via during the Saint Patrick's Day parade in Corktown on March 11. Karpovich was intoxicated and Damico says witnesses described seeing Leach and possibly another bouncer "dragging" Karpovich out.
"It was during this encounter that he was taken to the ground and force was used," Craig said.
Damico says five people called 911 and describe seeing and hearing Karpovich's head hit the pavement. But Detroit Police Chief James Craig says police and hospital staff were originally told Karpovich slipped and fell.
"As a matter of routine, we don't treat those matters as criminal," Craig said. "What we do, is turn it over to EMS."
But two uniformed officers responded anyway and apparently told by one of the bouncers the same story - and not told that Leach and another off-duty Detroit police detective were working.
"There's no indication that Commander Leach notified any member of this department immediately following the incident," Craig said.
Damico says witnesses of the alleged assault tried calling the Third Precinct with no calls returned. Craig says he wasn't notified until March 14th. A day earlier Karpovich's brother filed a report.
"It was at that point that there was an allegation of an assault," Craig said.
We are told Karpovich remains unresponsive and doctors have had to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.
Craig says the department has interviewed 16 witnesses and is searching for more. Craig reviewed surveillance video of the encounter.
"Clearly I determined based on my review of the video that force was used."
Craig did not say whether the force used was excessive or not, but added at the very least Leach failed to report the use of force and violated department policy.
Craig says charges could come and further action is expected within the next few days.