EASTPOINTE (WWJ) – A man who claims he was beaten so badly by Eastpointe police that he lost partial vision in one eye is suing the department.
Attorney Jim Rasor says his client, Frankie Taylor — who is black — was picked up for drunken driving in August of 2015, and taken back to the Eastpointe Police Department for booking. That’s where he claims he was strapped to a chair and brutally beaten.
Rasor believes Taylor’s race played a role in officers’ handling of the incident, which was caught on video.
“They clearly are demeaning, and just going after Mr. Taylor,” Rasor told WWJ’s Zahra Huber. “Calling him short, asking him if he’s tough, swearing at him — and what happens next is enough to shock anyone’s conscience.”
Rasor said an officer threatened to strap his client to a chair, and when he falls due to a serious leg injury, officers claim he’s resisting. That’s when officers put Taylor in the chair and allegedly beat him unconscious.
Rasor called the incident “sickening.”
“Frankie Taylor wasn’t a threat to the police officers; Frankie Taylor wasn’t a threat to himself,” Rasor said. “The only time that he could be considered a threat to himself is that he falls because he’s been standing so long, and he falls when the officer pulls him.”
Taylor also claims he wasn’t immediately taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, but instead tossed unconscious into a cell. He underwent surgery on his eye three weeks later.
The police report from that night tells a different story. The report states that Taylor’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit; that Taylor was uncooperative, tried to hurt himself, and spit at and attacked officers.
Cursing and belligerent, he allegedly threatened to kill every police officer in Eastpointe.
Rasor suspects the chair involved has been used by Eastpointe police in the past, adding that this is not the first alleged incident of racial discrimination by officers within that department.
“And I’m going to make sure that Eastpointe is accountable to the public; that they have to show us how many people were strapped into that chair, show us how many of those people were black, show us how many people have endured this, and show us the records of these officers that are still out on the street,” he said.
Contacted by WWJ, police say they cannot comment on pending litigation.