Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Washtenaw County deputies and a sheriff's sergeant face federal criminal charges

From the Ann Arbor News:
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Deputies Joseph Eberle, 35, and Eric Kelly, 37, and Sgt. Shawn Hoy face civil rights violations in the June 1, 2006, incident in the West Willow neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township. They were indicted March 12, but the indictments were not unsealed until Monday.

Eberle is charged with 'excessive' force while Kelly and Hoy are charged with using 'unreasonable' force. The cases stem from the death of Clifton Lee, who, along with his brother Bruce Lee were involved in a traffic stop with their nephew near the corner of Cayuga Street and Eugene Avenue in Ypsilanti Township in June 2006. Details are sketchy coming from both sides.

It IS of note Washtenaw County has paid out in the lawsuit brought by Clifton Lee's family. They paid out 4 million dollars. Does this make the Sheriff deputies guilty? Certainly not. Does it mean this more than likey needs it's day in court one way or another? You bet it does.

We depend upon police every day and they in turn don't get called when you are having a good day, that being said YCD will NEVER just side with police because they are police. This makes no sense. We've all seen police break the law and they must be held accountable. No doubt this case will raise emotions, but since this is Washtenaw County and we constantly seem to be dealing with edgy cases that cause consternation, there is no need to panic over this one and overreact.

We'll let this play out before passing judgements. Everyone gets their day in court, even cops.


ypsidixit said...

What struck me was the chemical attack, and the violence of it. Why would you spray someone in the mouth? Did the guy say something that infuriated the cop? I doubt we'll ever know the whole story.

I couldn't find a story that said what chemical it was. Was it mace, perhaps?

Johnny Action Space Punk said...

I don't know ypsidixit. I DO know they chased him and held him down to do it. RED FLAG there to be sure.

They will have to release the video of the incident as captured by the dashboard cam which they have thusfar refused to do. I have a subscription to CourtTv (Where it will be shown) and will broadcast that video when it becomes available to let everyone make up their mind.

glimmertwinfan said...

As a son of a cop it is always hard to hear when officers are in the wrong. I personally think they are held to a higher standard and rightfully so.

I don't know the specifics of this case so I won't rush judgement. If they were in the wrong, then let them be judged.

On the flip side - the amount of tolerance that police have to display these days is completely unreasonable. While I would never condone ganging up, beating, spraying someone in the mouth with chemical or brutality of any kind, sometimes people just need a little thumping when out of line. Much like the kind they should have received as a kid when they did something wrong by their parents.

We've all seen it - a Cops episode on TV where all that is really needed is just somebody to shut the hell up - which often can be achieved by a good smack across the face rather than tie up jail and court resources.

I guess all that I am saying, is don't pass judgement on all police just because on the rare occasion something bad and unfair happens at the hands of them. In most cases, police really are there to protect you, not harm you.

Johnny Action Space Punk said...

No, glimmertwinfan, I don't want to jump out and declare anybody anything here. We have this case, the Orange Taylor III retrial coming up as well and so I just want to keep things here on an even keel. Cases can be discussed, opinions can be voiced (pro and con) but nobody is judging YET publically. To me, even if it's a blog that's irresponsible.

If somebody wants to scream they are guilty, that's what the comments section is for. It's just not going up out front until a verdict is reached.

I have an online penpal if you will, lives in England. She and I vehemently disagree on the troubles in Northern Ireland as her father was a cop too. We've agreed to disagree...

ypsidixit said...

I agree with glimmertwinfan ("In most cases, police really are there to protect you, not harm you.")...imagining the city without any police is not a happy prospect. I am not an apologist for the police, but the Ypsi police officers I happen to know are thoroughly professional, helpful, and compassionate.

Michael Schils said...

ArborUpdate has a thread regarding the videos involving Clifton Lee and Bruce Lee, here: