Woman's excessive force claim against deputies is dismissed
Danyelle Burrell sued three Macomb County deputies, Booms, Anderson and "John Doe" after the fractured her wrist during an arrest for drunken driving. She claimed that the officers used excessive force, assaulted her with racial disparaging language and threats and then failed to secure needed medical care. The trial judge ruled that the video tape of the incident was not dispositive of what happened and that there was enough evidence of excessive force and assault for the case to go to a jury. The Deputies appealed and two Court of Appeals judges voted to dismiss the case. Judge Kirsten Kelly, who can be counted on to vote for insurers in virtually every case, and a second judge offered the opinion that Burrell's accusations were "too conclusory" and that the broken wrist --although it raised question[s] of fact regarding the officers' conduct--was only evidence of negligence. They also held that Burrell could not prove when she brought the injured wrist to the officers' attention, and therefore she could not claim delay in treatment.
To her evelasting credit, Judge Amy Krause dissented from the most extreme opinions in the majority's decision. She pointed out that "I have read plaintiff's deposition, and I cannot comprehend how the majority arrives at such a conclusion [that plaintiff made merely conclusory statements about the assault]. Plaintiff testified with specificity about particularized hostile, malicious and threatening comments...not mere conclusory assertions, but rather unambiguous and detailed descriptions of threats ...and racial slurs...with otherwise unmotivated acts like push-punching plaintiff...[etc.]"
Some judges are so eager to clear the docket of cases that they are willing to take away an individual's "day in court." This sounds more like the Chinese system of justice than our own.