A black Michigan man has filed a lawsuit against his local police department a year after his brutal beating by officers was captured on video.
Frankie Taylor was arrested on a DUI charge in August, 2015, and was being processed by officers in the Eastepointe Police Department outside of Detroit when he was restrained in a chair by several officers, and struck repeatedly as he cried out in pain before eventually falling unconscious. Video of the incident obtained by Detroit's Fox 2 News shows one officer demanding Taylor "stop resisting" as he hits him.
"The guy hit me so many times, it made me cry once I seen the tape [sic]," Taylor told the station. "I was knocked out."
Fox 2 reported that Taylor was not given medical attention following the beating, and was instead booked into the county jail. He was eventually admitted to a hospital, where he underwent surgery for injuries to his eye. His attorney, Jim Rasor, claims Taylor is now suffering from permanent partial vision loss, and is suing the Eastpointe police, as well as the officers involved in the arrest.
While the Eastpointe Police Department does not comment on pending litigation, the department's Public Safety Director John McNeilance did confirm Taylor's lawsuit to me over the phone, saying Taylor had initially been arrested for driving with a Blood Alcohol Level three times the legal limit, and was placed in a restraint chair at the police department after exhibiting disruptive behavior during the booking process.
"The officers did have to use a few open-handed controls to get him to submit," McNeilance explained.
On the phone, Rasor told me that Taylor's detention and beating is not only troubling for the excessive force demonstrated by the Eastpointe police, but because of the racial discrimination he says his client faced.
"It's just another outrageous incident of an out of control police department victimizing a person of color just because there's no counterbalance to stop them from these actions, Rasor told me. "Except of course, juries."
According to Taylor's lawsuit, he was repeatedly denied a phone call during his arrest and booking—a right, Rasor claimed, that was afforded to the other, white, detainees at the police department that night. And, in fact, Eastpointe has been accused of racial bias in the past.
In 2015, the ACLU of Michigan compared Eastpointe to Ferguson, MO over allegations that a large portion of the city's revenue stemmed from court fees and fines. In a blog post published by the organization, the ACLU wrote:
"It is certainly fundamentally unfair to fund city operations on the backs of those least able to afford it by aggressively collecting fines from people living in over-policed neighborhoods—people who are disproportionately poor and of color."
Taylor's federal suit seeks both compensation for the attack, as well as punitive damages from the officers involved. However, Rasor told me, he and Taylor plan to file a revised suit alleging racial discrimination on the part of the Eastpointe police as well.
While Rasor would not disclose the amount being sought by his client, he said it would be "substantial and appropriate."