US federal judge bars Detroit police from using excessive force against peaceful protestors
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US federal judge bars Detroit police from using excessive force against peaceful protestors

On Friday, US federal judge Laurie J. Michelson temporarily granted in part a restraining order against the City of Detroit as regards its police department’s use of certain tactics on peaceful protestors, including:

  • Use of striking weapons, chemical agents, or rubber bullets
  • Placing in a chokehold or ramming with a vehicle
  • Tightening zip ties or handcuffs to the point that it causes physical injury
  • Arresting any demonstrators en masse without probable cause

The case was first brought on by activist group Will Breathe and 14 other individuals who had been engaged in protests throughout the City of Detroit as a response to the death of George Floyd. The plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order against the City of Detroit for the police force’s use of excessive force as First and Fourth Amendment constitutional violations.

Judge Michelson ultimately agreed that there were potential Fourth Amendment violations for excessive force and unreasonable detention conditions when Detroit police beat peaceful protestors with batons and handcuffed their some detainee’s hands so tight that they turned blue. In addition, there were likely First Amendment violations because “an ordinary person would be deterred from participating in the protests by the actions of the Detroit police officers.”

The restraining order will last for a period of 14 days, but not beyond 28, absent consent from the City of Detroit on changes to their police force’s tactics against protestors.