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Victim of overly-aggressive arrest can sue the involved police officer

Jermaine Sutton was working at his job in the kitchen of the local hospital when he was accosted by Richard Martin, a Metro Police officer.  Martin had been informed that a suspected shoplifter dropped his jacket in the local Kroger store while in the process of shoplifting a meat item.  Martin discovered a cell phone in the pocket of the jacket and called contacts until he was told that someone knew a "Jermaine Sutton" who worked at the local hospital.  Martin confronted Sutton and asked if the lost phone was his.  When Sutton denied the phone, Martin demanded that he present his own phone, which he promptly confiscated.  He then suggested that Sutton kept two phones to cheat on his wife and arrested Sutton.  Although the Kroger security employee positively identified Sutton as the shoplifter, the video of the store did not appear to confirm the identity and ultimately Sutton was acquitted of the crime.  Sutton then sued Martin for violating his Fourth Amendment rights.

The Sixth Circuit rejected Martin's immunity defense, but limited Sutton's claim to the events surrounding the overly aggressive arrest at Sutton's workplace.  In essence, it held that he had probable cause to detain Sutton, but exceeded his authority by his other actions.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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