Warren mayor appoints deputy police commissioner with long record of complaints

Warren's controversial mayor appointed a new deputy police commissioner with a lengthy record of complaints against him -- including racial profiling.

The once-vocal Mayor Jim Fouts now seems to be communicating to his constituents through Facebook - which started after his controversial tapes of him criticizing the elderly, woman and African-Americans emerged.

On Monday Fouts posted his latest appointment - Lt. Matt Nichols will become the new deputy police commissioner. It is a major promotion for an officer, who documents show has a questionable past while serving the Warren police force for the last 17 years.

And no one knows that better than attorney Dean Elliott.

"Ideally there should never be a lawsuit against a police officer in a command position," Elliott said.

Nearly 14 years ago Elliott represented Danielle Moncrief in a lawsuit where she claimed Matt Nichols made racially insensitive comments and attacked her.

Moncrief said at the time she was stopped for a traffic violation and says she was roughed up by a Warren police officer after she was already handcuffed.

FOX 2 interviewed Moncrief and her attorney about what happened.

"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."

"What makes this case stand out is the fact that a white police officer choked a handcuffed African-American woman while she was in police station and caught on tape," said Elliott in 2003.

The tape disappeared and the city of Warren eventually settled.

But the same man at the center of that lawsuit, we discovered was named in six more with similar allegations - and now he's one of Warren's top cops.

Mayor Jim Fouts went  as far as calling Nichols "patient" and "compassionate."

"I didn't see any patience or compassion for a person who merely stood up when she was handcuffed in a booking room and he attacked her then," Elliott said.
"You are appointing a police chief who has been accused of making racially insensitive comments at the same time Mayor Fouts was under fire for making racially insensitive comments.

"It really sheds a bad light on the city and citizens of Warren."

FOX 2 contacted Mayor Fouts for comment but he declined to comment, instead referring us to his Facebook post.