DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Detroit police commander helped draft a warrant that triggered the arrest of an officer’s ex-wife, even though the alleged crime took place outside the city and the charges were ultimately dropped.
The ex-wife of the DPD officer, James Diguiseppe, would spend five days at the Dickerson Correctional Facility in Hamtramck. Diguiseppe and Commander Nick Giaquinto, who until recently was in charge of DPD’s 7th Precinct, are now both under investigation.
“This is a classic example of government abuse. This is a classic example of police abuse,” said attorney Chris Trainor, who represents the former wife of Diguiseppe and is now preparing a civil suit against the City of Detroit.
7 Action News is not naming the officer’s former wife because the felony charges against her were ultimately dismissed.
“The police officers and prosecutor got together and contrived this whole situation to teach my client a lesson, which is unbelievably wrong," Trainor said.
The woman had been married to Diguiseppe until 2019. Months after the two divorced, she withdrew nearly $4,400 from a joint bank account that both had shared at a Bank of America in Allen Park.
While her name was still on the account, her last name was no longer Diguiseppe.
Records show she didn’t try to hide that fact when she visited the bank, writing her maiden name on the withdrawal slip.
After withdrawing the money, she also closed the bank account. When her ex-husband found out, he went to Westland Police — where he lives — claiming his ex-wife took money that belonged to him.
Family law attorney Jennifer Lindquist reviewed records related to the bank account and divorce agreement for 7 Action News and said the officer’s ex-wife still had a claim to the money in the joint account.
“Her name was on that account, so she was, from what I read, certainly entitled to withdraw those funds,” she said.
Westland Police agreed, concluding there was no crime.
“(A)ny party listed on the account can withdraw any and all funds for any reason,” the officer wrote. “Case closed.”
“Another police department didn’t bring charges. A prosecutor looked at it and said this is a civil matter,” Trainor said. “She’s entitled to the money, as he was also.”
But Diguiseppe didn’t agree and kept looking for a police department to take the case.
Nearly a year later, he would contact the commanding officer of Detroit’s 7th precinct, where he works. Even though the alleged crime didn’t happen in Detroit, DPD showed interest.
Commander Nick Giaquinto — a 29-year veteran of the department — looked into the case and later helped draft a warrant request for the ex-wife of one of his officers.
An assistant Wayne County Prosecutor signed off, and at the 25th District Court in Lincoln Park, a sergeant with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office swore before a judge that the ex-wife “withdrew money from an account…that she did not have access to.”
Ultimately, officers with Brownstown Twp. Police — where the woman lived — placed her under arrest. She would spend five days in jail.
After being charged with two felonies, the Wayne County prosecutor would later dismiss all the charges against her.
Once free, the officer’s ex-wife said her ex-husband abused his badge. In February, she alerted Chief James White to what happened and, in response, he launched an investigation and de-appointed Commander Giaquinto.
Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore stresses that while the case is still under investigation, officers need to avoid even appearing that they’re calling in favors for one of their own.
“You have a high-ranking member of the police department getting involved in someone’s personal matters,” Moore said. Using their power and authority to take advantage of a situation that never should have happened.”
Requests for comment through Officer Diguiseppe’s union did not receive a response.
Through his attorney, Commander Giaquinto sent a lengthy statement saying he “committed no impropriety or crime in this matter, and we fear he…is being punished and publicly humiliated by persons with a sinister motive.”
He said that the decision to bring charges was supported by a Wayne County assistant prosecutor and said it’s not improper to bring a case to another law enforcement agency so long as you believe a crime took place.
Tonight, the investigation into both officers is ongoing and attorney Chris Trainor is preparing to bring a lawsuit against the city.
“People need to know that this stuff happens,” he said, “because they shouldn’t have to stand for it.
Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (248) 827-9466.