Saturday, April 1, 2006

Officer Ronald Dupuis - Trial - Hamtramck PD - Taser trial - 04/01/2006

*Scroll down to bottom of page for Dupuis' law enforcement history*

Michigan cop with troubling history accused of imprisoning two women for days with no charges
byWalter Einenkel
FRI APR 24, 2015 AT 11:50 AM PDT

Highland Park Officer Ronald Dupuis is in trouble—again. This time it is a lawsuit from 2 women claiming he detained them for 4 days without charging them. The 2 women, Rhianna Turner and Kera Hill are domestic partners, they are represented by attorney Robert Morris:

Morris says in September of 2013 – Turner was working as a uniformed Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer.  While she was stopped in front of the old Detroit police headquarters at 1300 Beaubien, Hill showed up.  They were playfully wrestling over a set of keys when a nearby by Sheriff’s deputy feared that Hill was assaulting Turner.

Officer Dupuis came in to see what was the problem. Well, that sounds reasonable.

Despite the couple’s explanations that were was no assault – Morris says Dupuis arrested them.

“The fact that he actually took them to Highland Park, which has no jurisdiction with anything that could have occurred in Detroit, and he was able to convince his supervisors, who were already skeptical and didn’t understand why my clients were locked up – he was actually able to override their authority and keep my clients for four days,” Morris says.

They were never charged with a crime – but Morris says getting locked up cost Turner her job with the city.

That's not good. But, it's a he said she said situation here, right? Here's a video that was posted by Emma Craig on her Facebook page back in January. It shows Officer Dupuis beating a handcuffed suspect, facedown in the snow.

The suspect in that video may very well be a pretty crap human being but it isn't up to police officers to deal out punishment. Here is a report from when Officer Dupuis accidentally shot himself.

And here is Ronald Dupuis's history as a law enforcement officer, care of Detroit Free Press:

■ In 2012, a woman sued Dupuis, alleging he refused to let her use the restroom while she was in a jail cell — thus forcing her to urinate in her cell — and later "began to choke her" and began to call her vulgar names. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2013 because the plaintiff did not provide sufficient documents to the defense.

■ In 2004, while working as a Hamtramck police officer, Dupuis was sued by a man who alleged Dupuis wrongfully arrested him and had him jailed for no reason. The man was released without being charged. His lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

■ In 2006, Dupuis sued the city of Hamtramck after a female officer accused him of assaulting her with a Taser. He was fired as a result of the accusation, but was later acquitted on the assault charge. He ended up suing the city over his firing and its handling of the assault accusation. The case was settled.

■ In 2008, Dupuis sued the city of Hamtramck a second time over the Taser complaint, alleging the city had a duty to defend him in that lawsuit. That case was dismissed.

■ In 2012, Dupuis filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of Highland Park, alleging he was treated unfairly compared to his African American counterparts and that he was unfairly demoted in the police department. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2013.

Oh yeah, he resigned from the Southgate Police department back in the 2000s. It was in that same department he was reprimanded, in 1998, for allegedly assaulting a mentally disabled man...and stalking a woman, repeatedly pulling her over.

Innocent until proven guilty. But the police employment system that keeps him employed seems very guilty.

VIDEO: What Does It Take To Fire A Bad Cop? Just Ask Ronald Dupuis
By MintPress News Desk
Minneapolis, MN
April 17, 2015

Ronald Dupuis, a police officer from Highland Park, Michigan, has a record of questionable -- and even outright bad -- behavior dating back to the 1980s. These decades of missteps don’t seem to be hampering his career, though.

With almost daily reports of brutality and fatal shootings of unarmed black people by police, activists in America are asking why officers so rarely face lasting consequences for their actions.

With almost daily reports of brutality and fatal shootings of unarmed black people by police, activists in America are asking why officers so rarely face lasting consequences for their actions.

When Darren Wilson left his post with the Ferguson Police Department, crowdfunding efforts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the man who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Investigations into Wilson’s past revealed that he’d first been employed by a Missouri police force that was disbanded for corruption.

A similar pattern emerged in the recent slaying of Walter Scott. Writing for Counter Current News, Jackson Mariana reported that Scott’s killer, North Charleston Police Officer Michael Thomas Slager, had a history of violent incidents:

“Back in 2013, Mario Givens, an African American North Charleston man, had been ‘roughed up’ when Slager came to his door, demanding to be let in ‘as part of an investigation.’”

North Charleston Police have faced 46 federal lawsuits since 2000.

But few cops can match the checkered past of Sgt. Ronald Dupuis, the officer from Highland Park, Michigan, who remains employed despite a string of incidents that have followed him through multiple departments. Highland Park is the seventh police force to employ Dupuis.

A new lawsuit alleges that Dupuis held two women in jail without charges for four days. Shockingly, the incident didn’t even begin in Highland Park, where Dupuis is employed as a cop and where he allegedly imprisoned the two women, “Rhianna Turner and her domestic partner Kera Hill.” Instead, Dupuis is accused of intervening in an incident in Detroit.

In September 2013, a sheriff’s deputy witnessed the pair “playfully wrestling over a set of keys,” and intervened because he feared an assault had occurred. Although both women denied a crime had occurred, Dupuis arrived on the scene, arrested the two women, and took them to jail in nearby Highland Park. Though no charges were filed, Turner lost her job as a Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer.

Just this past January, Dupuis made headlines when he was videotaped beating a man suspected of carjacking.

“The video of the arrest, which was recorded by Detroit resident Emma Craig on Monday on the city’s northwest side and posted on Facebook, shows Dupuis striking the suspect several times while apparently trying to handcuff him and administering a final blow after Jackson’s hands were secured behind his back,” reported George Hunter in The Detroit News.

In 2012, Dupuis was hospitalized for shooting himself in the leg with his own gun, which discharged accidentally outside a cell block. Another incident involved him choking a woman he had in custody.

He was previously fired from the Hamtramck, Michigan, Police Department for using a taser on his own partner. Although a jury declined to convict him for it, courts refused to force the city to reinstate Dupuis, which is how he ended up employed by Highland Park.

ReneƩ Harrington, creator of the Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence Project, compiled a lengthy timeline of Dupuis-related incidents dating back to 1997. According to the timeline, the Southgate, Michigan, Police Department fired him in 1999 for stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over.

Because there is a lack of national data on police violence in general, it is difficult to determine how often police face consequences for their crimes. But in 2013, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey estimated that 90 percent of officers fired from the Philadelphia Police Department force were later rehired through arbitration with police unions — even those accused of crimes including shoplifting and sexual assault.

The Trial
Posted on April 1, 2006 by Hillary
The Hamtramck Star

On Friday, Steve and I attended the “Taser Trial” at City Hall. First, I must say the renovation of the 31st District Court is beautiful; a classic courtroom with wood accents and vintage furniture. The seats for the public were at one time pews in a Catholic church with kneelers and hymnals.

Family and friends of Dupuis packed into the pews on the right with a few college students attending for a class. We sat on the left with Graham’s family and friends, and numerous visiting Hamtramck PD officers. A cameraman from FOX2 also sat in the back briefly.

The jury consisted of 4 men and 3 women. Three of the men were non-white, possibly Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian. Mr. Hammoud, the attorney sent by the prosecutor’s office, is an ESL speaker, Arabic possibly being his first language. The investigating officer, Sgt. Bielecki, was seated next to the prosecutor. A Mr. Sullivan represented Dupuis.

Graham testified first. She has been employed by the HPD 8 years. She said that on that day, she was driving, and Dupuis asked her to stop at a gas station for a drink. She drove to a gas station, but past the first entrance “messing with him”. He grabbed the wheel for a second, and then stopped. She told him to “calm down”, and he pulled out his taser, removed the cartridge, removed the safety, and “cranked it once”. She was intimidated by the crackling and said, “I know you’re not going to tase me.” Dupuis jabbed towards her twice with the taser off, and then jabbed her thigh and “cranked it again”. She went straight to the station, made a report, and offered to show the marks to Lt. Mathias. She did not seek medical attention.

On cross examination, Graham agreed that she wrote 2 reports about the incident, one immediately after, and another more detailed report later. That day, they stopped at a bank and a jewelry store immediately before. She admitted that Dupuis may have bought her a gift while vacationing in Hawaii, though she didn’t remember receiving a call from him after she had been in an auto accident. Graham received training on tasers, but did not accept a shock herself as some officers did. She was positive the trigger was pulled twice, and was told by someone that the firing data matched. She tried to withdraw her complaint a couple hours after filing it, but her request was not honored.

Lt. Mathias, a 40-year veteran (possibly misheard “14 years”) of the HPD, testified that Graham came into the station and made an excited utterance that she couldn’t work with Dupuis anymore because he “dry stunned her”. He said it was improper for Dupuis to pull the taser. He did not confiscate the taser, and had to retrieve it from another officer Dupuis passed it onto in order to preserve it as evidence. Mathias said he sent Graham and Dupuis home. He did not look at Graham’s thigh because he felt it would have been inappropriate.

On cross examination, Mathias was asked about Graham’s testimony that she finished her shift, and he conceded that may have been true, and Dupuis also may have worked at a desk the rest of the night. Dupuis was not arrested, a warrant was not requested, nor was his statement taken that night. Mathias said he called an off-duty detective in “within the hour”, but it was actually over 2 hours. Mathias was asked if police officers have a “different sense of humor”, and if he had ever said something to the effect that he could “trump up charges”. He agreed he had, but felt the quote was taken out of context.

Detective Crachiola, HPD officer 11 years, testified that she took the photos of Graham’s thigh. She is not trained as an evidence technician and no scale was shown. She described the marks as 2 circles, approximately an inch apart, less then 1/8th inch across. She had never seen a taser injury before, and agreed there were no lines between the marks or swelling.

Lt. Sarafino, HPD officer for 20 years, testified that he downloaded the data from the taser, and printed a report on November 30. The report showed the weapon was fired on November 3, at 15:24 hours, once for 1 second. Sarafino believed the report would show two entries if the weapon were fired twice. The defense attorney asked if information had been downloaded when Officer Nolan was tased, but it was ruled inadmissible.

Officer Aiello, HPD officer the last 11 years, trains Hamtramck officers on taser use and gave a demonstration (later seen on FOX2 news). The attorney for the prosecution claimed to be afraid of the tasers, and gingerly moved them from his table to the witness stand. Aiello testified that taking the cartridge out of a taser is like removing the magazine from a gun. A drive stun only affects the local area. It is protocol to perform a function test at the beginning of each shift. Tasers fire for 5 seconds when the trigger is pulled. Turning the safety on during the 5 second period is the only way to stop it, which is common practice when performing a function test.

Sgt. Bielecki, HPD officer for 24 years, testified that he wrote the warrant request to the prosecutors office, and asked for the video and taser report in the course of his investigation. When asked why he didn’t get the report or video sooner, he said downloading was “not immediately urgent” and the video shows outside of the car and has no sound. He was assigned to this case by Chief Doyle. The investigation was not referred to Michigan State Police, nor were they consulted, which was also Doyle’s decision. He was asked if he saw any problem with the discrepancies between his report and the report from the taser, he said he didn’t. The defense attorney said Bielecki led the prosecutor’s office to believe the taser was fired twice when he didn’t have the report yet, and asked if he felt he had a responsibility to present exculpatory evidence. Bielecki said he had sent a report to the prosecutor’s office “by mistake”. A warrant was issued on December 2.

The prosecution rested. The defense moved for a mistrial on the grounds that improper statements were made and hearsay introduced. His motion was denied.

The first witness for the defense was the president of Michigan Taser. He explained that a “drive stun” effects the localized area between the probes. If the trigger is pulled twice during the 5-second firing time, only one is recorded. Turning on the safety is the only way to cause a 1-second firing. While cross examining this witness, the attorney for the prosecution was holding a taser very comfortably; so comfortable that he used his own leg to illustrate his questions. He also referred to the probes as “arrows”, and continually talked about the probes until the defense objected on the grounds that they were irrelevant.

The expert said the printed report was correct assuming the software, computer, and taser were working properly, and other than printing a report, there is no way to tell when a taser had been fired. He recommends a function test before every shift. He still instructs courses, though not for Taser International, and was not paid for his appearance in court. He said injuries vary depending on the duration of contact, and can include swelling or blisters.

Ronald Dupuis testified that there are many practical jokers at the police department. That day, Graham was working a double shift. They stopped at a bank, and a jewelry store, and then he asked if she would stop at a gas station so he could buy something to drink. She told him he would have to wait until lunch. Lunch wouldn’t be for another 4 hours, so he didn’t believe her. On the way there, she slowed down to tease him more. They were joking back and forth, when he realized his vest had opened his holster, and it reminded him to perform a function test. He tested the taser, and said something like, “I don’t want to accidentally tase you when I collapse from dehydration.” He pointed it at her a couple times while it was off. She said, “You can get something to drink after I put some paper on this,” and started to return to the station. He thought she was joking. Practical jokes are common at the police department, like hiding equipment in the freezer.

Dupuis said he did not intend to touch Graham with the taser and had no reason to because they were friends. He called to tell her about extra shifts, and bought her a gift while he was on vacation. The prosecutor asked why Dupuis had said he accidentally tased Graham in a meeting with the prosecutor on November 15. Dupuis said he had started to doubt himself because he didn’t think Graham would lie. He denied grabbing the steering wheel.

During closing arguments, the prosecution tried to portray Dupuis as an abuser who was blaming his victim, and claimed the records were faulty. The defense said that tasers are designed to stop false accusations against police officers, and encouraged the jury to look at the physical evidence. He left them with the thought that if the marks on Graham’s leg were from a taser, it was not the taser in evidence.

Within an hour of deliberation, the jury returned a not guilty verdict.

Dupuis Not Guilty
Timeline and comments
Posted on March 31, 2006 by Steven
The Hamtramck Star

11/03/05: Graham reports “taser incident” to superiors.

11/15/05: Case referred to prosecutor’s office.

11/16/05 anonymous comment: “the citizen reported that this poor excuse for a cop was fired this week.”

11/17/05 anonymous comment: “I am not assuming the worst. I am just stating that the tasering was no accident.”

11/18/05 anonymous comment: “I am aware that said officer is now denying it but now he knows he is not getting away with it. Once again, this is going to cost the city money. This officer has already cost the city too much.”

11/19/05 anonymous comment: “With the proper releases and in a controlled environment I would be happy to come over and “accidentally” taser you. You might find that you have an change of opinion towards “accidental” use of the taser.”

11/19/05 anonymous comment: “I agree with you that in a fair and just world the officer is assumed innocent until proven guilty, we do not live in a fair and just world.”

11/20/05 anonymous comment: “I have no problem in labeling this guy a bad cop, mainly because he is.”

11/30/05: Electronic records on Dupuis’ taser accessed”

12/02/05: Warrant was issued for Dupuis

12/08/05: Rob Cedar comments: “Hmmmm, maybe it wasn’t an “accidental tasering”, maybe the dismissal was justified, maybe it had nothing to do with Whittie.”

12/09/05: Rob Cedar comments: “Like I’ve said before I prefer- need to deal in facts and do not have the luxury of public speculation.”

12/09/05: Rob Cedar comments: “Think what you like, but my posting was to point out that it looked as though the tazering was not an accident, and was not a “trumped up charge” by as Julia would say, a corrupt police administration. If there is any satisfaction on my part its that the charges would indicate that maybe it was not a corrupt system -of which I have some responsibility for but simply a cowboy cop with questionable judgment. to say the least”

Dupuis Trial Friday
Posted on March 27, 2006
by Steven
Hamtramck Star

Judge Keith Hunt from the 43rd District Court in will preside in Ronald Dupuis’ misdemeanor battery trial which is scheduled for Friday, March 31st at 8:30 AM in the 31st District Court, Hamtramck.

There was a huge amount of speculation about the specifics of this case and the outcome his highly anticpiated.

The Citizen reported on March 15th:

And there’s some critical facts working for Dupuis, such as the fact that his taser has a recording chip that says the taser was fired up for recharging for a mere one second prior to the alleged assault. That’s hardly proof of tasering his partner three times.

Which is very similar to our source who reported that Graham’s stroy was “physically impossible”.

Officer Ronald Dupuis' past law enforcement history:

Feb. 17, 1997: Officer Ronald Dupuis written up for careless driving while on duty. Ecorse Police Department.

Between 1997 and 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis leaves the Ecorse PD and becomes an officer with the Southgate PD.

October 08, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis allegedly beat up a mentally disabled man. Southgate PD.

November 04, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis reprimanded by the Southgate Police Department for the October 8th beating incident.

Dec. 24, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis accused of falsifying overtime slips. Southgate PD.

March 16, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis accused of stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over while he was on duty. Southgate PD.

March 30, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis was informed that he would be fired from the Southgate PD [Stalking incident].

April 02, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis resigned from the Southgate PD, to avoid being fired for stalking incident.

Sometime after April 02, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis was hired by the Highland Police Department [after resigning from the Southgate PD, to avoid being fired for stalking incident].

Nov. 7, 2000: Officer Ronald Dupuis was laid off by the Highland Park Public Safety department.

Sometime after November 07, 2000: Officer Ronald Dupuis was hired by the Hamtramck PD, after being laid off by the Highland PD.

April 21, 2002: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of assaulting a man during a traffic stop. Hamtramck PD. Resulted in a lawsuit, which was settled for $20,000 on November 05, 2005. Dupuis was not fired from the Hamtramack PD. for this incident.

2004: Hamtramck police officer Dupuis was sued by a man who alleged Dupuis wrongfully arrested him and had him jailed for no reason. The man was released without being charged. His lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Nov. 3, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of discharging a Taser stun gun and striking his female partner, Officer Prema Graham, in the leg with the weapon. [Hamtramack PD]

Nov. 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis was fired from the Hamtramck Police Department for tasering Officer Prema Graham.

Sometime after November 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis won legal challenges related to the tasering incident Officer Prema Graham, and the Hamtramck PD's firing of him.

Sometime after November 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis returned to duty at the Highland Police Department [previously laid off from department in November 2000].

Dec. 7, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in connection with the Taser incident.

April 01, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis found not guilty at trial of November 2005 taser incident against Officer Prema Graham

June 16, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis won an unemployment claim dispute against the City of Hamtramck for their firing of him after the November 2005 taser incident Officer Prema Graham. Chief of Police also refused to reinstate Dupuis.

2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a lawsuit against the City of Hamtramck and Officer Prema Graham [November 2005 taser incident]

August 2006: City of Hamtramck lost appeal on Officer Ronald Dupuis' unemployment.

November 01, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a lawsuit against the City of Hamtramck: Civil Rights / Employment. Police Chief refused to reinstate him. [November 2005 taser incident of Officer Graham].

January 2007: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed suit to be reinstated to Hamtramck PD, following his being terminated after November 2005 taser incident against Officer Prema Graham.

October 31, 2008: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed suit against City of Hamtramck.

2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of choking a woman who was in custody.

February 28, 2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a suit against Highland Park: Civil Rights / Employment.

May 22, 2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis' gun "accidently" went off outside the department's cell block. Dupuis was shot in the leg. Sources at the Highland PD said there would be no disciplinary action taken against Dupuis.

September 19, 2013: Highland Park Officer Ronald Dupuis arrested uniformed / on duty Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer Rhianna Turner and her girlfriend Kera Hill, in front of Detroit PD. Dupuis transported them back to Highland PD and had the women jailed for four days - without charges. Turner lost her job due to the unlawful arrest and imprisonment.

January 12, 2015: An online video from Emma Craig surfaced, showing Officer Dupuis beating a handcuffed Andrew Jackson during an arrest. "Highland Park city attorney Todd Perkins said he's aware of Dupuis' checkered past, although he said he will "draw no conclusions" from it." In April 2015, Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney stated that Officer Dupuis was not facing discipline for the beating of Andrew Jackson.

January 14, 2015: Michigan State Police investigation of Officer Ronald Dupuis and other officers for the January beating of Andrew Jackson. Officer Dupuis was not suspended from duty during this criminal investigation.

February 09, 2015: Officer Ronald Dupuis was shot in the leg during a raid. Officer Dupuis was still on active duty despite an MSP investigation of the beating of Andrew Jackson during a January 2015 arrest.

February 13, 2015: Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy began criminal investigation of Officer Ronald Dupuis and other officers for the January 2015 beating of Andrew Jackson. Officer Dupuis was not suspended from duty during this criminal investigation.
"According to the office, it received a warrant request from the Michigan State Police, which investigated the arrest of Andrew Jackson Jr. on Jan. 12 by officers...One of the officers shown in the video making the arrest is Highland Park Sgt. Ron Dupuis..."

February 25, 2015: Lawsuit filed by Andrew Jackson against Officer Ronald Dupuis for January 2015 beating.

April 15, 2015: Lawsuit filed by Rhianna Turner and Kera Hill against Officer Ronald Dupuis for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment [September 2013]

April 20, 2015: Officer Dupuis cleared by Prosecutor Kym Worthy of criminal charges in the January 2015 beating of Andrew Jackson.
"Worthy did not defend some of the officers’ conduct.  She said some of Sgt. Dupuis’s behavior was improper and warrants possible punishment from his superiors. Still, Worthy said, charges aren’t warranted."

April 20, 2015: Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney announced that Officer Ronald Dupuis was not facing disciplinary action for the January beating of Andrew Jackson.

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