Tuesday, May 30, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Police Overkill in Detroit, Art-Lovers Say

DETROIT (CN) - Thirteen people say a shotgun-waving police "vice squad" in commando gear raided a members-only dance at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit without cause and "shoved, kicked and hit" the museum's "bewildered and terrified patrons."

Represented by the ACLU, the 13 members of the Art Institute say the City of Detroit had no probable cause to suspect the "Funk Night" party was not properly licensed.

The plaintiffs say the officers forcibly detained 130 patrons and seized 40 cars, some of which were not returned.

They say the police did not announce themselves as officers when they stormed the art gallery and ran through the space pointing guns and yelling commands such as "Lie down on the fucking ground!"

When some plaintiffs asked for identification, they say, they were struck or pushed into the muddy ground of a back yard area.

The plaintiffs say they were cited for loitering. No one was charged with or using or possessing illegal drugs. They demand damages for civil rights violations, including excessive force. Their lead counsel is Daniel Korobkin of the ACLU's Detroit office.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.