Westland — A man whose harassment and beating by two Westland police officers was recorded by one of the officers’ lapel microphones was awarded nearly $700,000 after city officials settled the man’s lawsuit against the Police Department.
In addition, a Michigan Supreme Court decision in the case could affect future defendants charged with assaulting police officers.
Jeffrey Kodlowski suspected his wife of cheating, so on March 18, 2009, he took her cellphone in an attempt to prove her infidelity. Marilyn Kodlowski called police, hoping they would force her husband to return the phone. Officers Michael Little and Kyle Dawley came to the Kodlowski residence on South Hanlon Street to investigate.
The officers entered the home and demanded Jeffrey Kodlowski return his wife’s phone. Little left his lapel microphone engaged, capturing 21 minutes of the officers berating the husband, who repeatedly told them they were overstepping their authority, and asked them to leave.
“Try to make me leave your house,” Dawley said after several minutes of arguing. “Go for it.”
The officers later said Jeffrey Kodlowski assaulted Little, but no struggle is heard on the audio. Instead, Kodlowski apologizes twice for brushing against him.
Dawley then says to his partner, “You know what? Let's take him. (Expletive) him.”
When the skirmish was over, Jeffrey Kodlowski was bleeding profusely from a gash in his head.
He was charged with assault and resisting arrest.
District Judge Mark McConnell would not allow photos of Jeffrey Kodlowski’s injuries as evidence.
A jury acquitted the defendant of assault and battery, but convicted him of one count of resisting arrest, which attorney Joseph Corriveau appealed.
Corriveau also filed a lawsuit against the officers and Police Department for false arrest and malicious prosecution.
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the lower court had properly excluded the photos, but on Oct. 4, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed that decision. Westland settled the lawsuit for $695,000. Westland police officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“This case may establish grounds for the introduction of injuries as to why a client is being charged with assaulting a police officer,” Corriveau said.