A Westland resident with disabilities, Tyler Smith, has taken legal action against the City of Westland, #Westland #police, and state police, alleging police brutality. The 26-year-old Black man, who is paralyzed from the waist down, claims he was subjected to racial profiling, emotional distress, and physical harm during a traffic stop on April 18.
According to the lawsuit filed on October 11, Smith was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by #Michigan State Police in #Detroit for not wearing a seatbelt, which he had removed due to discomfort related to his disability. Smith alleges there was no reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop. Officers decided to detain Smith based on old warrants, and Westland police arrived at the scene, allegedly "dragging" Smith from his vehicle to a police car. This action reportedly aggravated an existing wound on his leg, which went untreated for hours.
KYRC spoke with Smith's lawyer Kama Patel, who provided additional information on the ordeal alongside access to the complaint filed.
While in the squad car, Smith informed the officers about his open wound and severe pain, but they responded with laughter, racial slurs, and an unprofessional demeanor, failing to follow proper police procedures.
Upon arriving at the Westland Police Department, the plaintiff's wound remained irritated. Medical doctors diagnosed him with a third-degree burn that had become infected due to the officers' actions. Despite medical advice, the plaintiff was not immediately hospitalized. Instead, he was returned to the jail cell, where he was left upright in a wheelchair throughout the night without proper medical attention, medications, or hygiene assistance.
He was transported in a vehicle that was not suitable for the physically disabled, disregarding the defendant's own Police Department rules and procedures. Throughout this ordeal, the plaintiff endured inhumane conditions, including being left in his own urine and being denied essential care, such as a blanket or hygiene measures including a change in catheter that was full.
Smith's legal team filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court's Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit earlier this month, aiming to shed light on the issues within the Westland Police Department and hold them accountable. The lawsuit targets five officers, referred to individually as "Officer John Doe," and seeks a jury trial, $75,000 in damages, and legal fees. Judge Stephen Murphy is presiding over the case.
Neither Westland Police Chief Kyle Dawley nor interim Mayor Mike Londeau provided comments, citing the ongoing nature of the case. James Fausone, the city's attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.
We'll be following this story for more updates.