A Detroit Police Department officer who is suspended with pay as he faces domestic violence charges has been prohibited from carrying a gun or having contact with the woman, according to a personal protection order granted by Wayne County Circuit Court, records show.
The protection order granted means that officer Kwame Powell cannot carry a firearm even as a law enforcement officer, said Michael Woody, director of media relations for the Detroit Police Department.
“If you have an active PPO against you, which prohibits you from carrying a firearm, as a police officer (Powell) wouldn’t be able to perform his duties,” Woody said. “As long as that PPO is in effect, he wouldn’t be able to work here.”
Powell is facing charges of assault by strangulation, felonious assault, felony firearm, interfering with a crime report and domestic violence, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. He has a probable cause hearing at 9 a.m. April 18 at Highland Park’s 30th District Court.
The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners is expected to consider whether to convert Powell’s paid suspension to an unpaid suspension at its meeting Thursday night.
But even if the suspension were lifted entirely, Woody said, the officer would have to get the personal protection order amended to be able to carry a gun in the line of duty.
Powell, 35, reached by phone Thursday, told The News that being suspended from work has been “terrible” and that the allegations he faces are “very upsetting.”
“I love my job. This has been the worst time of my life,” Powell said. “I’ve never been involved in anything, not even a parking ticket. So this is really hurting me. The allegations are very upsetting to me.”
Powell said he’s been spending this week “spending time with friends and family, getting things in order, for the worst and the best.”
“Everybody who knows me knows my character, and knowing that’s not my character.” Powell said. “I haven’t lost one bit of friend and family support because they know I’m not that man.”
The order against Powell is in effect through April 5, 2018, one year from when it was granted by Judge Eric Cholack. Woody said he doesn’t know that the department would be required to accommodate an officer who was barred from carrying a weapon.
“If a PPO is issued against you, there’s usually pretty good cause,” Woody said. “A PPO is usually pretty difficult to get. It has to meet a certain threshold or standard, so if a PPO is issued, especially if it prohibits an officer from carrying a firearm, it’s usually a pretty serious deal.”
Powell said he’d been dating the woman who filed the PPO for about a year-and-a-half before his arrest and charges April 5.
Powell’s accuser wrote in her PPO request that after going to dinner together at Inyo on the night of April 4, the couple returned to Powell’s Highland Park home. At 3 a.m. on the morning of April 5, she was awakened by Powell choking her. She tried to run into his living room to call 911 and gather her bags.
“At this point, he choked me again,” she wrote in the PPO request. “I tried calling 911 but he took my phone. The next thing I knew ... I was on the floor in his kitchen being choked by him. He choked me so hard my eyes felt like they were going to pop out.”
She escaped through the front door but wrote that Powell put her in her trunk, choked her, and held a gun to her head “saying he could kill me and nothing would happen because he’s DPD.”
She says she tried to get into her car, but Powell continued approaching on foot, so she rolled out of the car.
“He followed on foot and disappeared,” the woman wrote. “A moment later I saw headlight behind me as I approached Woodward. It was him. I turned on Woodward and went to the gas station where a Highland Park squad car was sitting.”