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Black Man Sues Michigan Police Department After He Was Detained While Walking Because an Officer Thought He Was Going to Steal: ‘You Look Like You Have a Weapon’

A Black man has filed a $10 million civil rights lawsuit against a suburban Detroit police department and an officer on the force after he was stopped and detained, then injured, while walking along a road earlier this month.

Brian Chaney, a 48-year-old Farmington Hills, Michigan, man, filed the suit on Monday against the Keego Harbor Police Department and Officer Richard Lindquist, alleging he was wrongfully detained while walking along the commercial street.

Brian Chaney, a 48-year-old Farmington Hills, Michigan, man, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Keego Harbor Police Department and Officer Richard Lindquist over what Chaney says was a police detention that violated his civil rights. (Photo: Brian Chaney/ Facebook)

According to the lawsuit, Chaney, a health therapist, was walking on the morning of July 14 about 30 miles northwest of Detroit after dropping his teenage sons off for a weight-training class when Lindquist approached him. The encounter allegedly began when Lindquist pulled up behind Chaney and shouted, “Get your hands out of your pocket.”

Chaney said at a news conference on Wednesday, July 21, that he ignored the officer and was just trying to enjoy his walk.

“When I first saw him, I ignored him. I was simply on a walk,” Chaney said. “I’m just in a good mood. I’m in a good space. It didn’t cause anxiety, initially. It caused anxiety when he was behind me yelling and I didn’t know he pulled up behind me. I have on headphones. I don’t know what he’s saying to me. He’s screaming at me, running back to his car. I was afraid I was going to get shot. I just didn’t know.”

Lindquist then told Chaney “I’m going to frisk you because you look like you have a weapon and were going to break into cars.” The officer then pushed Chaney against the police car, causing injuries to his groin, while his wrists were injured by the handcuffs.

Lindquist called Chaney “a dog” and when other officers arrived as backup, none provided an explanation about why he was being detained.

Chaney said the police only let him go when he referenced George Floyd’s death, asking, “What are you going to do next, put your knee into my neck?”

Chaney told reporters that Wednesday that bringing up the incident that led to Floyd’s death wasn’t something he wanted to do. “I hate that I had to say that, though. I went from being scared and upset at that point to just really angry. I’m cuffed like an animal for walking, drinking my coffee.”

According to the lawsuit, Chaney was transported to the hospital when he suffered migraines and vomiting after the incident.

The lawsuit says the defendants “Failed to train and or adequately train, supervise, and/or discipline officers and other employees and agents of Defendant KHPD, with regard to racial discrimination and racial harassment and the constitutional and statutorily protected Civil Rights of citizens.”

Chaney’s attorney, Leonard Mungo, wants the suit to lead to reforms in the department.

“These cities have to come to grips with the fact that their men and women who are out there doing a job that requires a lot more training, care and feeding than what these departments are providing these ladies and gentlemen,” Mungo said.

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