Police officers in a Detroit suburb used excessive force during a traffic stop and tased a Black father in front of his young daughter, according to a lawsuit filed on Sept. 10.
Imani Ringgold-D’Abell and his girlfriend La’Shanna Taylor are suing five Taylor, Michigan, officers and the city in federal court.
“The events we allege in the complaint represent serious misconduct by Taylor police against our client, causing lasting harm to the whole family,” said Julie Porter, the couple’s attorney. “This should never happen to anyone again, and we hope this lawsuit will bring accountability to Taylor.”
Body camera footage of the incident has also been released and obtained by FOX2.
On Sept. 13, 2019, Ringgold-D’Abell and Taylor were taking their 3-year-old daughter to a dentist‘S appointment. Ringgold-D’Abell had a temporary license and registration with him, but he did not know that the temporary license plate on the vehicle had fallen off.
Jeffrey Adamisin, a lieutenant with the Taylor Police Department, noticed the tag was missing and pulled Ringgold-D’Abell over.
Adamisin radioed for backup without giving an explanation for why it was needed and four other officers arrived at the scene. According to his legal claim, officers “expressed shock” that registration showed that Ringgold-D’Abell really owned the Audi he was driving and that he provided the correct documents.
One officer wrongly assumed Ringgold-D’Abell’s license must have been suspended.
Adamisin then decided to arrest Ringgold-D’Abell for failure to carry a driver’s license. Officers pulled Ringgold-D’Abell out of the vehicle, then shoved him against the window of the vehicle where his daughter was sitting inside.
When Taylor exited the vehicle, officers forcefully restrained her and pushed her back to the passenger seat before taking her to a patrol car. Officers tased Ringgold-D’Abell while he was pressed against the window in view of his daughter. Then, while he was complying with officers’ order to get on the ground, he was tased again.
While Ringgold-D’Abell was pinned against the ground, an officer held a taser against his back and threatened “You’re going to get it again!” the lawsuit says.
After Ringgold-D’Abell had been beaten, and after the couple’s daughter had been left alone in the vehicle for 10 minutes, an officer looked around and said, “It’s too bad. It’s a nice neighborhood,” the lawsuit says. A search of the vehicle yielded nothing but candy.
Ringgold-D’Abell was taken to a squad car and received citations for speeding, lack of insurance, registration or plate violation, failing to display a valid license and interfering with police authority.
He spent three days in jail before posting bond. Prosecutors offered to dismiss the criminal charges against Ringgold-D’Abell if he agreed to release potential civil claims in connection with his arrest but he declined, his court filing says. The charges against him are pending.
The court documents further outline what the couple’s attorneys describe as a pattern of police brutality against African-Americans that is at least tacitly condoned by the city.
The claim listed seven other incidents in which Taylor officers beat and arrested Black and women without provocation or cause, including one case from April 2020 where seven cops beat a driver, after which one officer told the man “welcome to Taylor.”
Ringgold-D’Abell suffered injuries to his face, neck and back as a result of the arrest, the suit says, and the couple continues to be concerned about how the incident may have affected their daughter, who still brings up the incident in conversation.
In addition to suing for excessive force, the couple is suing for unlawful seizure and false arrest, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, assault and battery and emotional distress and violating their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights. The suit seeks the financial damages incurred by the arrest, the amount of which they request to be determined in court.