Detroit, MI — Calvin Jones was apparently kidnapped, choked unconscious, and caged in his underwear, all for wanting to know why he was pulled over in a traffic stop by Taylor police.
It all started when Jones and his wife were pulled over by a Taylor Police Department officer in April 2016. At the same time the officers’ dashcam was recording, Jones’ wife was also recording the incident on her cell phone.
Michigan law states a citizen is required to present identification upon request. The video shows Jones refused at first, only wanting to know what crime he was suspected of committing.
That’s when the conflict escalated. The unnamed officer told Jones he was going to be arrested if he didn’t present his ID.
Again, Jones asked to know what crime he was suspected of committing. Instead of explaining the reason for the stop and the subsequent reason for being arrested, the officer chose to grab the car window, break it, and drag Jones out through his window.
Jones told the ACLU he was then choked unconscious. His wife was also arrested when she refused to hand over her cell phone, choosing instead to toss the phone.
Presumably, she didn’t want the police to erase her cell phone footage of the incident as TFTP has reported often occurs.
To get an outside professional opinion, Fox 2 reporters spoke with former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godby. The former chief of police said the incident could have been avoided if the officer had “advised the gentleman what he’s being stopped for.”
He described the de-escalation techniques some officers are trained to employ in the line of duty. Godby said, “we’re trained in verbal judo, how to de-escalate situations.”
The former chief implied the officer’s actions, while justified, may not have been the wisest. “Just because something is legal to do doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
When asked if the officer went too far, Godby said, “I think most reasonable people would say from a policy standpoint there’s an opportunity for some training.”
As TFTP reported Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Police Department has been able to significantly reduce its number of deadly encounters with the public by retraining its entire police force in using de-escalation techniques. They haven’t shot and killed anyone since 2015, and are even giving medals to officers who de-escalate situations such as Jones encounter with police.
The incident in Taylor could have ended differently. Had the police officer “feared for his life” by saying “I thought he was reaching for a gun,” the officer could have been justified in taking Jones’ life.
Thankfully, the incident ended with Jones being able to live another day but not without the humiliation he experienced after his kidnapping.
Jones said he was forced to strip to his underwear and lie on the floor of his jail cell. He claims the air conditioning was then lowered to an extremely uncomfortable temperature and that he was forced to stay on the floor for hours.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) it’s a particularly troubling encounter with police. They’re now conducting their own investigation.
Attorney Mark Fancher said the subsequent arrest of Jones’ wife, for tossing a cell phone instead of remanding it to police custody, should not have resulted in her kidnapping either. “That mere act should not, at least from our perspective, should not result in the arrest of someone who was trying to cooperate with police,” Fancher told reporters.
Jones’ brother-in-law, also in the vehicle, was also arrested. While the kidnapping, assault, and caging of three seemingly innocent people (for questioning officers’ probable cause) happened in 2016, it wasn’t until all the charges were dropped that the Jones family filed a complaint against the Taylor Police Department.
Taylor Police Chief, Mary Sclabassi, addressed the Jones’ and ACLU’s concerns in a statement but would not comment on the matter;
We have just received this complaint today. We take all complaints seriously. A thorough and diligent investigation will be conducted. We will refrain from commenting until the investigation is complete.
The Free Thought Project will continue to bring you updates to this story as more information comes available. In the meanwhile, tell us what you think. Should the officer have reacted the way he did?