Man allegedly assaulted by off-duty DPD commander at Corktown bar files lawsuit

(WXYZ) - The man who was allegedly assaulted by an off-duty Detroit Police Commander at a restaurant in Corktown has filed a lawsuit against the city, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, Former Detroit Police Commander Timothy Leach, Frederick Pearson, five unnamed police officers, T. Leach Enterprise and Ottava Via.

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Michael Karpovich filed the lawsuit, through his guardian brother, after he was allegedly assaulted by Leach at Ottava Via during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Corktown earlier this year.

Leach was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, aggravated assault, neglect of duty, possessing no license as a security guard, and tampering with evidence. Person was charged with obstruction of justice, neglect of duty, and tampering with evidence.

The assault occurred in a Corktown restaurant during St. Patrick's Day Parade festivities. Leach, 48, was demoted to the position of lieutenant shortly after the incident.

On March 11, officers and EMTs were dispatched to a restaurant in the 1400 block of Michigan Avenue in response to multiple 911 calls regarding an unconscious man on the dining room floor.

Leach, off-duty at the time, was working as a security guard at the restaurant. Officials say he did not obtain approval for secondary employment from DPD and did not have a license to work as a private security guard.

It is alleged that he forcibly escorted Karpovich to the front door and, while doing so, allegedly forcibly pushed him, where he fell to the floor and sustained a significant head injury, causing him to lose consciousness.

Karpovich has been released from the hospital, but continues to recuperate from his injuries. Leach allegedly failed to file a report regarding the use of force.

The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages, and alleges:

  • Ottava Via hired Detroit police moonlighters to provide crowd control services for its St. Patrick's Day event.
  • Chief Craig had knowledge that defendants were engaging in off-duty or outside employed, and had received prior approval.
  • Leach and officers dragged Karpovich into the main dining room, where they caused bodily harm including traumatic brain injury.
  • Officer Person lied to patrol officers and told them Karpovich had fallen and hit his head. Leach instructed restaurant employees to draft written statements saying Karpovich tripped and hit his head.
  • Defendants attempted to erase the cell phone videos, recorded by restaurant patrons, and surveillance video of the attack.
  • Karpovich's brother made several attempts to report the incident to Detroit police, and they did not take the report until March 14 citing it was "speculation" and "hearsay."
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