Warren deputy police commissioner accused of excessive force

The deputy police commissioner in Warren has been placed on administrative leave after an accusation of excessive force, FOX 2 has learned.

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer told FOX 2 the deputy commissioner is being placed on administrative leave pending an open investigation. Dwyer said the deputy commissioner on leave is Matt Nichols.

Dwyer didn't give further details about the alleged excessive force. 

Nichols was appointed deputy police commissioner in February of 2017, despite a long list of complaints against him. He'd served with the Warren police force for 17 years before being promoted.

Nearly 15 years ago, though, a lawsuit claimed Nichols roughed up an already-handcuffed Black woman after she was stopped for a traffic violation. 

"I stood up and he grabbed me by the neck and started choking me," she told FOX 2 in 2003. "He laid me on the bench choking me, I couldn't breathe." A recording of the incident disappeared and the city of Warren eventually settled. FOX 2 learned Nichols was later named in several similar allegations. 

At the time of his promotion, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts defended the decision and called Nichols "patient" and "compassionate."

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.