TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — The ACLU of Michigan is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Taylor Police Department and cites 20 incidents that suggest an “ongoing pattern and practice of excessive force.”
The request also states, “the particularly brutal treatment of several African Americans raises concerns about possible racial discrimination.”
During a news conference on Zoom, ACLU Michigan Attorney Mark Fancher said, “We're not after blood. We're after a police department that's responsible, and which treats. The residents of the community and visitors to that community with respect, respects their civil and human rights.”
Taylor Police Chief John Blair declined to comment on the ACLU request today.
In one incident cited by the ACLU, last year 33-year-old Brandan Morgan, an African American man from Southfield was arrested by Taylor Police after he took a half-minute to drive into a lit parking lot of a gas station.
Taylor Police body cam video shows Morgan was forcefully removed from his car, thrown down onto the pavement hard, and cuffed.
One officer said, “Welcome to Taylor. You shouldn’t fight with the police, brother.”
Chief Blair told 7 Action News last year his officers have gone through Diversity, Implicit Bias and De-escalation training. And that the comment, “welcome to Taylor” was not racist.
“Absolutely not. It's a 'this is you're not going to screw around the city of Taylor',” Chief Blair said.
The City of Taylor issued this statement:
The City has been made aware of the complaint filed by the ACLU and will cooperate as requested by the Department of Justice as we always do. The City takes all matters of public concern seriously, especially any alleged improper police conduct.
The ACLU made a 7-minute video of the incidents as an exhibit to the request to the Justice Department. This is a link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoHBbMCzVX4
It is not known how long the feds will take to consider the request.