Police are immune from liability after failing to comply with mandatory arrest statute in domestic disturbance
The Estate of Leon Smithers filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Flint and two police officers after the officers failed to detain Shirley Washington for the 20 hours mandated by statute in cases of serious domestic disturbance. Washington, Smithers' girlfriend, was at Smithers' home when a verbal altercation commenced; he called police, who removed the intoxicated Washington from his home. The family alleged that despite her threats to kill Smithers, police charged Washington only with trespass and did not comply with the statutorily-mandated 20 hour "holding" requirement. She returned to the home and shot and killed Smithers and wounded another man who was at the home watching television. This week the Sixth Circuit dismissed Smithers' Estate's wrongful death claim, holding that the officers retained the discretion to charge Washington with a different offense and were not the proximate cause of Smithers' death.