Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Detroit police officer with involuntary manslaughter, accusing him of fatally beating a 71-year-old man during a confrontation.
The officer, Juwan Marquise-Alexander Brown, 29, has since been fired by the Detroit Police Department.
On Sept. 1, Brown was sent to investigate a disorderly conduct complaint against Daryl Vance, a Detroit resident, outside a bowling alley, according to prosecutors.
A “verbal confrontation” between the two men then escalated and the officer punched Mr. Vance in the face, causing the older man to fall and hit his head, according to the charges. Medics transported Mr. Vance to a hospital. He died three weeks later.
The Wayne County medical examiner found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head, prosecutors said.
“Police officers frequently deal with citizens who are disorderly and verbally unpleasant,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Tuesday. “But the evidence in this case shows that the officer was allegedly the aggressor, and his actions went criminally beyond what was necessary in this situation.”
He added: “This behavior cannot be tolerated by our law enforcement.”
Brown was suspended the day after the altercation after the department reviewed police camera footage, the Detroit News reported. Detroit Police Chief James White then told local media that there were concerns that the officer was not “appropriately de-escalating or removing himself from the situation.”
On Tuesday, the Detroit Police Department said in a statement that Mr. Brown had been fired “as a result of his actions” on September 1. If he is convicted, involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Brown planned to appeal that decision, the department said, but in the meantime he would not be on the police payroll or have any police authority. He is scheduled to appear in a Detroit court Wednesday morning.
It was not immediately clear who was representing Brown in court.
A call to Fieger Law, a firm representing Vance's family, on Tuesday night was not immediately returned. The firm said in September, while Vance was hospitalized, that he planned to file a lawsuit against those responsible, the Detroit News reported.
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