In Rataj v. City of Romulus, plaintiff Michael Rataj, a Detroit-area attorney, learned that a Romulus police officer had assaulted a citizen who was under arrest while the citizen's hands were handcuffed behind his back at the Romulus Police Department in the early morning of Aug. 1, 2012. It was later revealed that the arrested citizen had provoked the police employee by spitting on him and calling him a racial epithet.
An employee of the police department confirmed that the assault did take place, and that it was caught on video.
When Rataj requested a copy of the video under Michigan's FOIA law, the city told him it was exempt from disclosure because the video would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy," that it was related to "departmental discipline," and that it "consisted of police personnel records."
So, Rataj sued in Wayne County Circuit Court, which ruled that the video, and some other requested records, were exempt from disclosure under MCL 15.243(1)(a). Rataj appealed.
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Posted by Samantha Meinke