Jury may conclude police lacked probable cause where lies in report undermined excuses for traffic stop
Nidal Bazzi sued three individuals and the City of Dearborn after a vehicle stop and false police report placed him in jeopardy for a parole violation. Bazzi had served time in prison for selling drugs and was on parole when a former friend attempted to frame him for breaking a window on the friend's van. The acquaintance recruited the help of two Dearborn police officers and made a number of unsupported claims regarding Bazzi transporting drugs and weapons. One of the recruited officers stopped Bazzi's vehicle, found nothing and released him with an apology, however, he was then arrested for a parole violation. The latter claim was immediately dismissed and Bazzi sued the conspirators for violating his civil rights. The arresting officer argued that he should be dismissed from the case because he had probable cause for stopping Bazzi for running a red light and speeding. The Court noted that there was evidence that contradicted the claim of a traffic violation and that the arresting officer described the stop as a "stolen vehicle" investigation. Given the falsehoods in the records and the immediate release of Bazzi without a traffic citation, the Court concluded that a jury may ultimately not believe that there was probable cause for a stop. The Court also refused to credit the "tipster's" multiple phone calls of drugs and weapons in the car as a basis for stopping Bazzi. It noted that the record was completely devoid of any evidence supporting the crerdibility of the tip.