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Detroit, MI — Two Detroit police officers, assigned to the department’s burglary unit, have been arrested and charged with home invasion after kicking in an innocent man’s door and falsely arresting him after he legally refused to allow them to search his home without a warrant.
According to the Detroit News, Officer Bradley Clark and Sgt. Paul Glaza were charged Friday in 36th District Court with second-degree home invasion, misconduct in office, malicious destruction of property under $200, and entering without a homeowner’s permission in connection with the alleged incident Jan. 22.
“It is alleged that (the officers) were part of the burglary task force, and entered a home without a search warrant at 22550 block of Pembroke,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement. “They also did not have an arrest warrant for the person they were searching for, who was not in the house. They instead detained and arrested the homeowner.”
The victim in the incident was 28-year-old Tashar Cornelius, who is now considering legal action against the department. Cornelius had done nothing wrong and merely asserted his 4th Amendment rights when the officers allegedly kicked in his door, held him at gunpoint, handcuffed him, and then falsely arrested him after they failed to find the person they were looking for.
“A couple cops came to the house looking for a suspect,” Cornelius said. “I told them the man they were looking for wasn’t here, but they refused to listen to what I was saying. They wanted to come in my house, and I told them ‘without a search warrant, you have no right to be here.’
“I guess that teed them off,” he said. “I shut the door on them, but they didn’t leave my property. They seemed convinced their suspect was here. So they kicked in the door and came in with their weapons drawn. Then they put me in handcuffs and searched the property.”
After not finding the person they were looking for, the cops—apparently upset that they didn’t get to arrest anyone—then falsely arrested Cornelius. They claimed a taser he had in his home for protection was “illegal,” so they brought him to jail.
“I spent 36 hours at Mound,” he said. “My lawyer assured me there were no charges against me. Finally they just released me and I walked out of there.
“They violated my constitutional rights,” Cornelius said. “I have to stand up against that.”
The officers have been suspended with pay as they await their day in court. According to Detroit police policy, officers are given paid suspensions when accused of crimes until the Board of Police Commissioners is petitioned by the chief to withhold salary. Whether or not the chief will do this remains unclear.
The officers were both given $5,000 bail and were released shortly after their arrests. They spent less time in jail than the man they falsely arrested.
Ironically enough, Clark was given the organization’s Top Cops award in 2012 and was honored by then-president Barack Obama for confronting a gunman who entered the police department with a shotgun.
If the pair are convicted, they both face up to 15 years behind bars.
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