Detroit officers accused of fondling male crotches and giving full body cavity searches without a warrant.
In pockets of southwest Detroit, they were known as the Booty Boys
-- two Detroit cops with a reputation for conducting stop-and-frisk
searches on men that went too far.
But within the Detroit Police
Department, Sgt. Michael Osman and Officer Michael Parish are
considered accomplished officers with awards to reflect good police
The two versions of Osman and Parish have emerged in U.S. District and Wayne County Circuit courts in suits against the city.
far, 11 people have claimed that Parish and Osman arbitrarily stopped
them and performed illegal body cavity searches, and in some cases,
grabbed the men's genitalia. Police department policy allows for body
cavity searches only with a warrant and when performed by a physician.
of the cases have been settled while others are pending. The
plaintiffs, all black men, separately claim the cops, both of whom are
white, violated their civil rights.
a city attorney who represents the officers said the accusers, many of
whom have criminal records, conspired to file the suits as a way to run
the cops out of the neighborhood.
attorney Ben Gonek, who is not involved in the lawsuits, said a large
number of plaintiffs with similar allegations is rare.
fact that there are this many plaintiffs certainly may give credibility
to the lawsuits," he said. If they don't all know each other, "the city
is going to be hard-pressed to say there's some kind of conspiracy."
Men push to have stories heard, but cop calls it 'a sick thing to say'
Green says it all started with a May 2006 traffic stop by two Detroit
cops as he and two passengers drove through southwest Detroit on their
way to a restaurant.
Green, a 32-year-old construction worker
from Detroit, said the cops pulled him over on Schaefer near Annabelle
in an area known for drug dealing under the pretense that his buddy
wasn't wearing a seat belt, though tint on the windows make it
impossible to see inside, he added.
Green said Osman, then an
officer, ordered him out of his 1994 Buick LeSabre, pulled Green's
pants and boxer shorts away from his body, then Osman placed his hand
down Green's pants in an apparent search for drugs.
(2 of 5)
search, Green's lawsuit alleges, involved an invasive body cavity probe
-- without a glove -- then Osman grabbed and squeezed Green's genitals.
said when he complained, Osman then handcuffed him and threw him in the
police car. First, Green said, Osman accused him of drinking.
"I told him to go ahead and give me a Breathalyzer," Green told the Free Press. He said the cops never tested him.
Then, Green said, Osman checked his record over the phone and released him with no charges.
"I read his name tag and said, 'You're going to see me again, Officer Osman,' " Green said.
Minutes later, Green, who has no felony record, filed a complaint with the Police Department over the phone.
guys, Osman and Parish, along with the City of Detroit, are the focus
of eight lawsuits filed by 10 men in U.S. District and Wayne County
Circuit courts in Detroit.
In April, four men sued the cops in federal court alleging civil rights violations.
allegations mirror others in the lawsuits, many of which refer to the
officers as the Booty Boys, a nickname given to them in the Detroit
neighborhood, according to the suits.
Some of the alleged victims told their stories to the Detroit City Council in June 2006.
one of the suits was filed by Green's passenger, Harold McKinney.
McKinney, along with his 15-year-old daughter was traveling with Green
on May 19, 2006, when they were stopped.
McKinney's suit claims Parish performed a similar search on him in the presence of McKinney's daughter.
McKinney is now serving time in prison on an unrelated weapons conviction.
Wrack, 23, also had a criminal record when he claimed either Osman or
Parish conducted an illegal cavity search on him in February 2006.
Wrack wound up settling a civil suit for $5,000. During an interview
with the FBI, Wrack also said two unnamed officers performed a body
cavity search and found cocaine on him during a May 2006 incident.
Fancher, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said
people should look beyond the criminal records of some of the
(3 of 5)
"Just because some of these men have criminal records doesn't mean that these things didn't happen," he said.
'I believe these officers'
34, who has since been promoted to sergeant, and Parish, 27, declined
to comment through the department. But, in depositions obtained by the
Free Press, they both deny the claims.
Osman said in a
deposition that he placed Green under arrest because he didn't have
proof of insurance. He said he turned him loose when a more serious
police call came in. He denied ever reaching under Green's clothing.
have never, that I can recall, conducted a strip search," Osman said.
"I've never reached into a person's clothing to search for anything. If
I've ever gone into somebody's clothing, it was always to retrieve
narcotics contraband or a weapon that I had felt from outside of their
Osman, a 12-year veteran, said he has never performed a cavity search but was aware of the allegations against him.
"It's a pretty sick thing to say about a police officer who's never been in any trouble," he said.
Parish, an 8-year veteran who was shot in the line of duty in 2007, also denied ever conducting cavity or strip searches.
don't do that," he said in his deposition. "If I am patting somebody
down or I'm searching somebody, I am most certainly going to check on
the outside of the clothing, the groin area, the buttocks area. ...
I feel something on the outermost garment -- and I am aware that it is
a private area and it's certainly nothing that I enjoy doing -- but if
I feel something that I believe to be a weapon and/or contraband within
somebody's pants, I will reach in and recover it."
City Attorney Paula Cole, who said that Osman and Parish are like sons
to her, says the lawsuits are being filed now because the 3-year
statute of limitations is expiring.
"I'm very sick about this because I believe these officers," Cole said.
department's internal affairs unit found no wrongdoing, and both cops
were cleared of criminal wrongdoing after an FBI investigation.
(4 of 5)
More cases, more settlements
Akins, a 31-year-old barber from River Rouge, says that on Jan. 27,
2006, he was walking along Gilroy near Liddlesdale on his way to cut
hair when Osman and Parish rolled up and asked him if he had any drugs
He said he told the cops he didn't and allowed them
to search his bags. Then, he said, Osman ordered him behind a building
and told him to pull down his pants and boxer shorts.
Then, he said, Osman performed a cavity search and grabbed Akins' genitals.
"I was like, 'That's wrong, man.' And he said, 'We do this all the time. You can carry on about your day,' " Akins said.
with Green, the officers found no drugs. But unlike Green, Akins does
have a previous drug conviction that resulted in a probationary
"I can't believe these guys are still on the streets," Akins said.
'I was humiliated'
Ogletree's case is unique in that a search of his person by the
officers did yield drugs, yet the city settled a civil case resulting
from the search even before a lawsuit was filed.
32, of Detroit settled for an undisclosed amount, Cole said. Ogletree
accused the officers of strip searching and assaulting him during a
traffic stop in which the officers found cocaine.
County Circuit Judge Carole Youngblood dismissed the criminal case
after a police technician testified that a videotape from an in-car
camera that recorded the incident had not been preserved. Ogletree's
lawyer, Daniel Reid, declined to discuss the settlement.
In yet another case that was settled, the city paid $20,000 to Elvis Ware, 37, of Highland Park in January.
said Osman and Parish stopped his car at a gas station at Schaefer and
Fort in June 2006 and forcibly removed him and handcuffed him. He
claimed Parish conducted a body cavity search and squeezed Ware's
Ware, an Army veteran who served in Operation
Desert Storm, said in an April 2008 deposition: "I was sick to my
stomach at the time it happened because I was humiliated, and I felt
(5 of 5)
Fancher, his attorney, said the incident left Ware traumatized.
"This really changed his entire outlook and his attitude toward police officers," Fancher said.
Cole pointed out in the deposition that Ware mixed up the descriptions
of the cops. She said he also stumbled through the exact date of the
alleged incident and later acknowledged that he had pleaded guilty to a
misdemeanor drug charge in Atlanta in 2002 or 2003.
the city settled the case, in part because her ex-husband, Richard
Steinberg, unexpectedly died a few days before the trial was scheduled
to start. She said she planned to go to trial but needed time after the
death, and U.S. District Judge David Lawson refused to push back the
"I feel like the judge forced the settlement because I
was unable to try it," Cole said. "I still feel like I let these
Lawson said there was no motion to adjourn the trial and that another attorney had taken over the lead for the city.
part of the settlement, the city agreed to instruct officers on proper
search procedures by reciting department policy at roll call for three
months. It reads:
"Under no circumstances shall there be a
body cavity search of an arrested person by department personnel. Where
there exists probable cause to support a body cavity search, the member
shall apply for a search warrant. If a search warrant is granted, the
detainee shall be taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital where a qualified
medical professional will conduct the search."
The officers remain on duty, though they were transferred out of southwest Detroit during summer 2006.
was told ... that the reason for the transfer was to prevent any more
false accusations against me and my partner," Osman said in his
deposition. "That's the way it was explained to me."
A year later, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division cleared the cops.
Cole, however, maintains a conspiracy exists.
officers helped keep crime down," she said. "A bunch of guys got
together and hatched a plan to get them out of southwest Detroit. And
Thanks to Injustice News Feed