Pubdate: Fri, 13 Feb 2015
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2015 The Detroit News
Authors: Tom Greenwood and George Hunter


Couple, Who Were Not Charged, Say Detroit Police Lacked Warrant

A Warren couple whose medical marijuana operation was raided by the 
Detroit Police Department's narcotics unit have filed a civil lawsuit 
against the officers, including one who killed himself after being 
investigated for corruption by the FBI and Internal Affairs.

The complaint was filed Wednesday in federal court by Timothy and 
Hatema Davis and names the city of Detroit as well as Lt. Charles 
Flanagan, former head of the DPD's narcotics unit, Detective James 
Napier and officers "Novak" and "John Doe."

Napier, who according to sources was being investigated for narcotics 
corruption, shot himself Jan. 22 while sitting in his car outside his 
parents' home in Sterling Heights.

The lawsuit alleges that on Dec. 28, 2013, the officers illegally 
raided the Davis home in Warren, which was the site of a legal 
marijuana growing facility.

The complaint alleges officers broke down a door and pointed weapons 
at Davis and his wife while failing to produce a search warrant.

Over the next few hours, the officers allegedly tore the house apart, 
seized 50 marijuana plants and related items and then transported the 
couple to a location in Detroit where they were questioned for 
another five hours, according to the lawsuit.

The couple were eventually released and never faced any charges, 
according to the complaint.

Detroit police spokeswoman June West said Thursday the department had 
just become aware of the Warren couple's lawsuit.

"We don't comment on litigation ... but there is no indication that 
this is connected to the federal investigation, which is isolated to 
a single team in the now disbanded narcotics unit."

Flanagan told The Detroit News: "All the allegations are false. Just 
because an arrest warrant hasn't been presented yet doesn't mean 
there won't be in the future. The investigation is still ongoing."

He added Napier had left the narcotics squad by the time Flanagan 
assumed command of the unit.

Flanagan - who reportedly was not the subject of any corruption 
investigation - declined to expand his comments because of the pending lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants "have engaged in similar unlawful 
searches and seizures of other legitimate marijuana grow facilities 
in and around the city of Detroit" and that the city "has allowed an 
unconstitutional policy, custom and practice to flourish within its 
police department."

The lawsuit also accused the city of failing to properly train its 
employees and officers, which allows a "culture of corruption to 
flourish within certain ranks of its police department including the 
narcotics unit."

The complaint asks for compensation for the Davises plus attorney fees.

In July, Detroit Police Chief James Craig dismantled the narcotics 
unit in light of the investigation and replaced it with the major 
violators section.

Meanwhile, Flanagan, along with Craig and Assistant Chief Steve 
Dolunt, are accused of racism and harassment in a lawsuit filed in 
October by a former Detroit police officer.

The lawsuit was filed by Sgt. Myron Weathers, a 19-year veteran, in 
Wayne County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges Flanagan appointed an 
"unqualified white female officer" to a Drug Enforcement 
Administration Task Force.

Weathers said he was seeking damages of more than $25,000 because of 
retaliation for "questioning the assignment of an unqualified white, 
female officer to (Flanagan's) crew."

In response, Flanagan said Weathers took big screen TVs, a tablet and 
a video game system for his personal use after they were seized from 
drug dealers.

Flanagan also said rocks of crack cocaine that hadn't been logged as 
evidence were found inside the desks of officers. Flanagan's 
allegations initiated an internal investigation in May.

In his lawsuit, Weathers denied Flanagan's accusations, saying he 
hadn't improperly used the confiscated equipment and he had 
"repurposed" the TVs "for training purposes."

In an earlier interview, Flanagan called Weathers' suit a case of 
"sour grapes."

Flanagan filed his own EEOC complaint in May claiming he was the 
victim of racial discrimination by black supervisors.

He also alleged he was exposed to a hostile work environment because 
he blew the whistle on alleged wrongdoings in the narcotics unit that 
happened before he took over the squad.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom