AG files charges against 2 officers for police misconduct

By: - September 15, 2020 2:37 pm

Attorney General Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel on Tuesday detailed criminal charges her office filed against officers in Saginaw and Jackson counties in two police misconduct cases.

A third officer under investigation — who is from Washtenaw County — was not charged, Nessel said. 

The attorney general’s office took on the three cases because county prosecutors said they wanted to avoid conflicts of interest involving local officials. 

Former Saginaw police officer charged

Nessel’s office on Monday charged former Saginaw police officer Adam Collier with one count of misconduct in office and two counts of assault and battery. He was arraigned Tuesday in Saginaw County’s 70th District Court. Court dates for Collier have not been scheduled. 

Nessel said at a Tuesday press conference that the charges stem from a July 11 incident in which Collier, who is white, allegedly physically assaulted a Black woman in his custody.

Collier on July 11 responded to a report that said the woman assaulted another person at a Saginaw residence. He arrested her. Nessel’s office found Collier handcuffed the woman, pushed her into the backseat of his patrol car and punched her in the face when she resisted.

Collier allegedly assaulted the woman a second time as she was getting out of the patrol car at the county jail in Saginaw. When she spit at him, Collier struck her three more times in the face and head with a closed fist.

The AG’s office determined Collier used excessive force, Nessel said. Collier was fired from the Saginaw Police Department on July 17. Misconduct is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and $10,000 fine. An assault and battery charge is a 93-day misdemeanor.

The Saginaw County prosecutor also has filed charges against the woman for her actions during the incident.

Jackson County public safety officer charged

David Lubahn, a Blackman-Leoni Township public safety officer also under investigation, was charged Tuesday with one count of felony record perjury and one count of misconduct in office. Perjury of a record or document is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

Lubahn responded to shots fired near Comfort Inn and Suites in Blackman Township on Oct. 23 last year. After locating suspects, officers found a gun safe and its key in a hotel room. Lubahn allegedly used the key to open the safe — before obtaining a search warrant to do so.

Lubahn then allegedly locked the safe back up and went to a court with an affidavit, or request, for an actual search warrant. The affidavit he presented to the court contained false and misleading information, Nessel said. 

A press release says Lubahn was set to be arraigned Tuesday in Jackson County’s 12th District Court in Jackson. Court dates have not been set for him, either. 

“Law enforcement officers take an oath of office and we fully expect them to uphold that promise,” Nessel said of the officers in the Saginaw and Jackson cases. “Those who betray their oath behave in a manner beneath their position as trusted public servants and undermine the credibility of every upstanding officer who serves.” 

Washtenaw County officer not charged

The Saginaw and Washtenaw incidents under investigation had “similarities to each other,” Nessel said. In both cases, the officers involved are white males and the detainees are Black women. 

Austin Pearson — a deputy with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office — responded to a May 26 shooting in Ypsilanti. A secure perimeter was established as Pearson and officers searched for the shooter, Nessel said. 

Nessel’s office said two individuals — Shatina Grady and her husband, Daniel Grady, who are both Black — interfered with police operations and did not follow orders to leave the perimeter. Pearson moved to arrest the two of them for not complying. As she was arrested, Shatina Grady allegedly bit Pearson’s forearm. In response, he punched her in the head three times. Shatina Grady allegedly bit his other forearm and scratched his head as she was escorted to a patrol car. 

Nessel said her office had reviewed video footage of the incident and determined Pearson committed no criminal offense in his interactions with Shatina Grady.

“We have determined Deputy Pearson’s use of force was justified and appropriate given the suspect’s level of resistance,” Nessel said Tuesday. 

Nessel said Shatina Grady was charged with three counts of resisting and obstructing an officer, a two-year felony; one count of resisting and obstructing an officer causing injury, a four-year felony; and one count of malicious destruction of police property, another four-year felony. 

Daniel Grady was charged with two counts of resisting and obstructing an officer. Arraignment for the Gradys is pending in Washtenaw County, Nessel said.

Nessel also said video footage and photographs from the Saginaw and Washtenaw cases won’t be released in advance of trials because prosecutors in the cases “have an ethical obligation to protect the evidence and to ensure a fair-minded jury that has not been tainted by graphic visuals parlayed by the media.”

“Once the criminal prosecution is complete, it is likely all the video and photos available in this case will be subject to public disclosure under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” Nessel said. 

Twenty-one cases of this nature are ongoing, Nessel said. Some of them involve multiple officers. She said Tuesday she doesn’t have a definitive date for when her office will announce findings into these police misconduct investigations.

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C.J. Moore
C.J. Moore

C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.