File Suit, Get Charged

by TChris

Bay City, Michigan resident Willie Lee filed a lawsuit against members of the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (cutely acronymed BAYANET), alleging that police officers jumped out of a van and started beating him as he was chatting with his brother and a friend. The police claim they "were doing 'street ops' in a heavy drug-trafficking area" when they stopped to investigate an illegally parked car (yeah, right) before a struggle ensued. Lee was charged with resisting and obstructing, but the officers failed to appear at Lee's trial, causing the judge to dismiss the case.

The criminal charges were dismissed a year ago, but were resurrected shortly after Lee filed his lawsuit. (The charges were dismissed "without prejudice," meaning Lee's right to be free from double jeopardy hadn't kicked in.) Lee believes the police are retaliating for his decision to sue them. He has a point.

"It's bad enough to have law enforcement officers brutalize someone in their own front yard for no reason," [Lee's lawyer, Edward] Czuprynski said. "Worse yet, however, when the rogue cops retaliate by resurrecting a phony felony charge against that person because he sued them for the injustice he suffered at their hands."

The drug squad's commander admits that he asked prosecutors to reinstate the charges, and the prosecutor admits that the lawsuit put Lee "back on the radar." But it's not retaliation, they say, because they always intended to reinstate the prosecution.

Really? It was just, um, overlooked for a year? And why didn't the cops show up when they had a chance to make a case against Lee? Were they reluctant to tell their story under oath when there was nothing at stake? Did a case that lay dormant for a year suddenly attain prosecutive merit? If it walks like retaliation and quacks like retaliation ....

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  • Re: File Suit, Get Charged (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:00 PM EST
    Not suprising. Cops can be vindictive s#$@s. Hope his atttorney plays some serious hardball on both the civil and criminal matters.

    Re: File Suit, Get Charged (none / 0) (#2)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:00 PM EST
    He will be found guilty and the cops who (in all likelyhood) f**ked up will skate.