Case: U.S. v. City of Detroit, Michigan

2:03-cv-72258 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: June 12, 2003

Closed Date: 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 12, 2003, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the City of Detroit. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141, the DOJ alleged a pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by officers of the Detroit Police Department (DPD), including the excessive use of force, false arrest, improper warrantless searches and failure to protect detainees. Contemporaneously with the filing o…

On June 12, 2003, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the City of Detroit. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141, the DOJ alleged a pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by officers of the Detroit Police Department (DPD), including the excessive use of force, false arrest, improper warrantless searches and failure to protect detainees. Contemporaneously with the filing of the DOJ's complaint, the parties filed a proposed consent decree and motion to appoint an independent monitor.

The filing followed a DOJ investigation of the DPD which revealed concerns about excessive force, holding cell conditions and arrest and detention policies and practices.

A day after the filing of the complaint, the City of Detroit filed a motion to stay entry of the consent judgment until its City Council could formally approve it. The Detroit City Council then filed a motion to intervene in the action on June 18, 2003. On July 1, 2003, the Coalition Against Police Brutality filed a motion to intervene as of right. U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. denied both intervention motions on July 14, 2003.

On July 18, 2003, Judge Cook granted the parties' motions to appoint a monitor and approve the consent judgment and motion to amend the consent judgment. Judge Cook entered two separate consent judgments: one relating to the "Use of Force and Arrest and Witness Detention" and the other relating to "Conditions of Confinement." On July 23, 2003, Judge Cook appointed Sheryl L. Robinson, with the assistance of Kroll, Inc., as the independent monitor.

On October 15, 2003, the Coalition Against Police Brutality filed a notice of appeal, but the appeal was subsequently dismissed for a reason that is not apparent.

On December 27, 2004, Judge Cook issued an order extending the duration of the "Conditions of Confinement" consent decree to July 18, 2007. The other consent decree relating to "Use of Force and Arrest and Witness Detention" was conditionally set to expire by its terms in July 2008. On October 26, 2007, however both consent decrees were extended by Judge Cook until July 18, 2011.

The independent monitor, Sheryl Robinson Wood, issued quarterly reports from the time of her appointment. Each report contains a "report card" as an appendix, summarizing the monitor's evaluation of DPD compliance with the various consent judgment provisions.

On July 24, 2009, Judge Cook accepted the resignation of the Monitor, on the basis of documents that demonstrated that "she had engaged in conduct which was totally inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the two Consent Judgments in this litigation." In particular, she had "engaged in undisclosed communications, as well as meetings of a personal nature," with the former Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Judge Cook suspended decree monitoring until selection of a new monitor, which occurred on October 5, 2009 when Judge Cook appointed Robert Warsaw to the position.

Throughout the course of this litigation, the parties amended their consent decrees several times so that the defendants could more easily comply with the terms. However, on April 19, 2010, Judge Cook issued an order requiring the Defendants to resolve all of its backlogged citizen complaints within a period of 90 days. The defendants asked for several extensions, and ultimately achieved compliance in March of 2011.

However, as of January 2012, there were over 400 backlogged complaints, which has reopened this facet of the litigation as this number was "totally unacceptable," according to Judge Cook. Judge Cook then issued an order on January 30, 2012, requiring the Defendants to fix the backlog of complaints. On April 23, 2012, the parties filed another Amended Consent Decree, amending various portions of the consent judgments related to the use of force and conditions of confinement.

On July 19, 2013, Judge Cook issued an order with respect to the consent judgments after becoming aware that the individual identified as responsible for the Conditions of Confinement Consent Judgment was no longer employed by the DPD. Judge Cook ordered the defendants to identify the head of the DPD's Civil Rights Integrity Bureau (CRIB), and required that the DPD notify the court and monitor before making any personnel changes within CRIB. Judge Cook also noted that with the appointment of Kevyn Orr as Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit, the line of authority might have been complicated. Thus, Judge Cook also required the City of Detroit provide an updated description of the line of authority to clarify accountability with respect to the enforcement of the consent judgements. The defendants filed their response to Judge Cook's order on July 26, 2013.

On July 29, 2013, Judge Cook issued an order extending the Conditions of Confinement Consent Judgment in light of the DPD's plan to transfer custody of its detainees to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Once the monitor was satisfied with the decommissioning of the DPD's holding cells, Judge Cook would dismiss the Conditions of Confinement Consent Judgment. On December 11, 2013, the monitor submitted a report confirming compliance with the Conditions of Confinement Consent Judgment, and Judge Cook subsequently dismissed this consent judgment on January 27, 2014.

On December 19, 2013, Judge Cook issued a new order for "enhanced monitoring." Judge Cook acknowledged that substantial progress had been made with respect to enforcement of the consent judgments, as the City of Detroit was now in compliance with 93% of the consent judgment requirements. However, Judge Cook also noted that the City was still out of compliance with 12% of the Use of Force Consent Judgment requirements. As such, Judge Cook directed the monitor to increase the frequency of visits to the City in order to expedite enforcement of the Use of Force Consent Judgment.

On December 22, 2013, the defendants moved to suspend monitoring of provisions of the Use of Force and Arrest and Witness Detention Consent Judgment which have been in compliance for two or more years. However, on June 16, 2014, Judge Cook denied the motion, finding that there were no changes in circumstances which warranted a revision of the consent judgment.

On May 14, 2014, due to his impending transition to inactive status, Judge Cook ordered that this case be reassigned to another judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was eventually assigned to U.S. District Judge Avery Cohn on June 16, 2014.

On August 8, 2014, the parties jointly moved to terminate the remaining consent judgment, arguing that the intent of the consent judgment had been substantially satisfied. The parties noted that the independent monitor found 90% overall compliance, and any remaining compliance could be achieved through a transition agreement under which the DOJ could maintain oversight of the DPD's ongoing reform efforts without the direct oversight of an independent monitor. On August 25, 2014, Judge Cohn granted the motion terminating the consent judgment, and entered the transition agreement as an order terminating on March 2, 2016. Judge Cohn also provided final comments with respect to the order, suggesting that control of the DPD be transferred away from the Emergency Manager and back to the mayor of Detroit. Judge Cohn also suggested that the Board of Police Commissioners continue as a civilian review body dealing with complaints.

This case is effectively closed.

Summary Authors

Joshua Arocho (7/2/2012)

John He (2/21/2016)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4912691/parties/united-states-v-det-city/


Judge(s)

Cohn, Avern Levin (Michigan)

Cook, Julian Abele Jr. (Michigan)

Grand, David R. (Michigan)

Scheer, Donald A. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Collins, Jeffrey (Michigan)

DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan)

Dueker, Alice K. (New Jersey)

Judge(s)

Cohn, Avern Levin (Michigan)

Cook, Julian Abele Jr. (Michigan)

Grand, David R. (Michigan)

Scheer, Donald A. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Collins, Jeffrey (Michigan)

DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan)

Dueker, Alice K. (New Jersey)

England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)

Gonzalez, Gregory (District of Columbia)

Hart, Charles W. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Henderson, John A. (District of Columbia)

Levy, Judith (Colorado)

McCullough, Regina R. (Michigan)

McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan)

Moran, Molly J. (District of Columbia)

Murray, Jeffrey Robert (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Thompson, Pamela (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Daryl (Michigan)

Braceful, Brenda (Michigan)

Carter, Ruth (Michigan)

Charlton, Allan M (Michigan)

Crittendon, Krystal A. (Michigan)

Dones-Carson, Kathie D. (Michigan)

Feeney, James P. (Michigan)

Hollowell, Melvin J. Jr. (Michigan)

Johnson-Wynn, Nkrumah M. (Michigan)

Kilpatrick, Kwame (Michigan)

King, Stephen W. (Michigan)

Kolozsvary, Andrew J (Michigan)

Lee, Maura K. (District of Columbia)

Oliver, Jerry A. Sr. (Michigan)

Osborne, Pamela (Michigan)

Philo, John C. (Michigan)

Quinn, John P. (Michigan)

Raimi, Charles N. (Michigan)

Schapka, John A. (Michigan)

Whitaker, David D. (Michigan)

Other Attorney(s)

Blau, David M (Michigan)

Davis, Hugh M. Jr. (Michigan)

Dawson, Donald H. Jr. (Michigan)

Heenan, Cynthia (Michigan)

Kupelian, Peter B. (Michigan)

Sankbeil, William A. (Michigan)

Stephens, Thomas W. (Michigan)

Swanson, Joanne G (Michigan)

Turner, Katherine M (District of Columbia)

Williams, Amos E. (Michigan)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Robinson, Sheryl L. (Michigan)

Warshaw, Robert S. (New Hampshire)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

U.S. v. City of Detroit

Sept. 8, 2014 Docket

Investigation of the Detroit Police Department

U.S. v. City of Detroit

March 6, 2002 Findings Letter/Report

Findings Letter

U.S.v. City of Detroit

April 4, 2002 Findings Letter/Report

Findings Letter

U.S.v. City of Detroit

June 5, 2002 Findings Letter/Report
1

Complaint

U.S.v. City of Detroit

June 12, 2003 Complaint

Consent Judgment: Use of Force and Arrest and Witness Detention

U.S.v. City of Detroit

June 12, 2003 Order/Opinion

Consent Judgment: Conditions of Confinement

U.S.v. City of Detroit

June 12, 2003 Order/Opinion

Justice Department Files Consent Decrees Concluding Investigation of Detroit Police Department

U.S. v. City of Detroit

No Court

June 12, 2003 Press Release
70

Report of the Independent Monitor for the Detroit Police Department – First Quarterly Report

U.S. v. City of Detroit

Jan. 20, 2004 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Report of the Independent Monitor for the Detroit Police Department – Second Quarterly Report

U.S. v. City of Detroit

No Court

April 15, 2004 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4912691/united-states-v-det-city/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint

June 12, 2003 PACER
2

Motion

June 12, 2003 PACER
3

Request

June 13, 2003 PACER
4

Order

June 13, 2003 PACER
5

Summons Returned Executed

June 16, 2003 PACER
6

Attorney Appearance

June 18, 2003 PACER
7

Supplemental Brief

June 20, 2003 PACER
8

Response to Motion

June 26, 2003 PACER
9

Response to Motion

June 27, 2003 PACER
10

Motion to Intervene

July 1, 2003 PACER
11

Deadline Notice

July 1, 2003 PACER

Status Conference

July 2, 2003 PACER
12

Deadline Notice

July 2, 2003 PACER
13

Notice - Miscellaneous

July 3, 2003 PACER
14

Response to Motion

July 10, 2003 RECAP
15

Answer (Free)

July 10, 2003 PACER
16

Affirmative Defenses

July 11, 2003 PACER
17

Response to Motion

July 11, 2003 PACER

Minutes - Miscellaneous

July 14, 2003 PACER
18

Notice (Other)

July 16, 2003 PACER
24

Notice (Other)

July 16, 2003 PACER

Minutes - Miscellaneous

July 18, 2003 PACER
19

Motion to Amend/Correct

July 18, 2003 PACER
20

Order

July 18, 2003 PACER
21

Order

July 18, 2003 PACER
22

Consent Judgment

July 18, 2003 PACER
23

Consent Judgment

July 18, 2003 PACER
25

Transcript

July 22, 2003 PACER
26

Motion

Aug. 4, 2003 PACER
27

Motion

Aug. 4, 2003 PACER
28

Certificate of Service

Aug. 5, 2003 PACER
29

Deadline Notice

Aug. 6, 2003 PACER

Minutes - Miscellaneous

Aug. 19, 2003 PACER
30

Order

Aug. 26, 2003 PACER
31

Order

Aug. 26, 2003 PACER
32

Certificate of Service

Aug. 28, 2003 PACER
33

Order

Aug. 29, 2003 PACER
34

Order

Sept. 8, 2003 PACER
35

Answer (Free)

Sept. 11, 2003 PACER
36

Notice (Other)

Sept. 12, 2003 PACER
37

Order

Sept. 23, 2003 PACER
38

Description not available

Sept. 25, 2003 PACER
39

Order

Oct. 1, 2003 PACER
40

Motion for Reconsideration

Oct. 2, 2003 PACER
41

Notice (Other)

Oct. 2, 2003 PACER
42

Notice - Miscellaneous

Oct. 2, 2003 PACER
43

Notice (Other)

Oct. 2, 2003 PACER
44

Certificate of Service

Oct. 2, 2003 PACER
45

Order

Oct. 14, 2003 PACER
46

Notice (Other)

Oct. 15, 2003 PACER
47

Notice of Appeal

Oct. 15, 2003 PACER
48

Certificate of Service

Oct. 17, 2003 PACER
49

Certificate of Service

Oct. 17, 2003 PACER
50

Description not available

Oct. 27, 2003 PACER
51

Acknowledgment

Nov. 3, 2003 PACER
52

Motion

Nov. 5, 2003 PACER
53

Notice (Other)

Nov. 7, 2003 PACER
54

Transcript Order Form

Nov. 14, 2003 PACER
55

Order

Nov. 14, 2003 PACER
56

Notice of Change of Address/Contact Information

Nov. 20, 2003 PACER
57

Transcript

Dec. 1, 2003 PACER
58

Motion

Dec. 2, 2003 PACER
59

Notice (Other)

Dec. 5, 2003 PACER
60

Order

Dec. 8, 2003 PACER
61

Deadline Notice

Dec. 8, 2003 PACER
62

Motion

Dec. 16, 2003 PACER
63

Order

Dec. 18, 2003 PACER
64

Notice (Other)

Dec. 23, 2003 PACER
65

Notice to Appear

Jan. 20, 2004 PACER
66

Order

Jan. 20, 2004 PACER
70

Statement

2 Document Continuation

View on PACER

3 Document Continuation

View on PACER

Jan. 20, 2004 PACER
69

Notice to Appear

Jan. 21, 2004 PACER
67

Notice (Other)

Jan. 22, 2004 PACER
68

Notice (Other)

Jan. 23, 2004 PACER
71

Motion for Attorney Fees

Jan. 23, 2004 PACER
72

Notice (Other)

Jan. 29, 2004 PACER

Status Conference

Feb. 2, 2004 PACER
74

Order on Motion for Attorney Fees

Feb. 17, 2004 PACER
73

Motion

2 Exhibit 1-2

View on PACER

Feb. 20, 2004 PACER
75

Notice (Other)

Feb. 24, 2004 PACER
76

Response to Motion

March 2, 2004 PACER
77

Motion for Attorney Fees

March 8, 2004 PACER
78

Reply to Response to Motion

March 9, 2004 PACER
79

Order

March 12, 2004 PACER
80

Notice (Other)

March 24, 2004 PACER
81

Statement

2 Document Continuation

View on PACER

3 Document Continuation

View on PACER

April 15, 2004 PACER
82

Motion

April 19, 2004 PACER
83

Motion

April 19, 2004 PACER
84

Notice (Other)

April 22, 2004 PACER
85

Order on Motion - Free

April 27, 2004 PACER
86

Order on Motion - Free

April 27, 2004 PACER
87

Order on Motion - Free

April 27, 2004 PACER
88

Motion

May 19, 2004 PACER
89

Order on Motion - Free

May 26, 2004 PACER
90

Notice (Other)

May 28, 2004 PACER
91

Motion to Pay

June 21, 2004 PACER
92

Notice (Other)

June 24, 2004 PACER
93

Order on Motion to Pay

July 1, 2004 PACER
94

Status Report

2 Document Continuation

View on PACER

3 Document Continuation

View on PACER

July 15, 2004 PACER
95

Notice to Appear

July 16, 2004 PACER

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 12, 2003

Closing Date: 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Detroit Police Dept. (Detroit), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2003 - 2014

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Reporting

Recordkeeping

Monitoring

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Issues

General:

Conditions of confinement

Excessive force

Failure to discipline

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

False arrest

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures

Racial profiling