Three police officers in Michigan have been charged with assaulting a cyclist who they had stopped for riding without lights on his bike.
State troopers Justin Simpson and Ryan Fitzko were charged last week with misdemeanour assault and battery, while a third officer, Cody Lukas, also faces the additional felony charge of misconduct in office in relation to the shocking incident, which took place on 24 August last year in Owosso, Michigan.
Dashcam footage of the incident, released by Michigan State Police “in the interest of transparency”, shows the officers turning onto a street where a cyclist can be seen riding on the side of the road and travelling in the opposition direction.
However, in the police report, the troopers claimed (incorrectly) that the “subject” was cycling “in the middle of the road”.
After the officers had turned their vehicle to pursue the victim, he can next be seen riding on the pavement. Leaving the car to question the cyclist, one of the troopers can be heard in the video saying: “A few things, man. You’re in the middle of the road, you don’t have lights on your bike”.
At that point, the man begins to slowly ride away, which prompts the officers to tackle him to the ground.
The state troopers, who are soon joined by another officer, can then be clearly seen punching, kicking, and deploying a taser to the cyclist, who they placed under arrest for “resisting and obstructing police”, along with possession of a controlled substance. The substance was found after the officers cut the straps of his bag before searching it.
The victim, who can be heard in the video shouting “Are you f***ing kidding me? For lights on a bike?” as the officers continued to hit him, was injured in the assault and taken to hospital for treatment.
Along with releasing the footage and police report of the incident, Michigan State Police confirmed that all three officers have been suspended for the duration of the criminal case and any resulting internal investigation.
“The use of excessive force by a Michigan State Police trooper against anyone is unacceptable and inexcusable,” the force’s director, Col. Joe Gasper, said in a statement.
“In this department, we have zero tolerance for police officers who engage in criminal misconduct. Policing is a privilege bestowed upon those who swear an oath to uphold the constitution and protect the public’s safety, and it is incumbent on every officer, and those who lead police officers, to hold themselves and those around them accountable for their conduct.”
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Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.
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