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Michigan man cleared of drug charges after police beating

As video cameras have increasingly captured police interactions with civilians in the U.S., one of the unfortunate lessons we have learned is that we cannot always trust police officers at their word. Too often, what goes into the police report departs from what really happened, perhaps in an attempt to cover up inappropriate or illegal behavior by the officers involved.

Not long ago, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge formally dismissed drug possession charges against a man who was beaten by a police officer during a traffic stop in January. The beating was caught on the officer’s dashboard camera.

Police claimed that they found cocaine in the defendant’s car, but it appears prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to convince the judge to put the defendant on trial. The man, who had no prior criminal record, was previously charged with obstructing a police officer, but that charge was also dismissed.

Meanwhile, the arresting officer has been fired from the two Metro Detroit police departments he worked for. He also faces felony charges in connection with the traffic stop. Dashboard cam footage depicts him hitting the man in the head 14 times. The man had to go to the hospital for treatment. An article by the Detroit Free Press does not mention if he is suffering any continued effects of the beating.

After the cocaine possession charge was dismissed, the defendant said it was a big relief, and that the case has been highly stressful, even though he knew he was innocent. His son is pursuing a job as a state trooper.

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