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Two Detroit cops may learn Tuesday whether they'll stand trial on charges related to assaulting a customer in a Corktown tavern where they were moonlighting as security officers, and then trying to cover up the incident.

Lt. Timothy Leach, 48, and Officer Frederick Person, 53, were charged last month in connection with the alleged March 11 assault of patron Michael Karpovich, 42, of Washington Township during St. Patrick's Day festivities at the Ottava Via tavern on Michigan Avenue.

A preliminary examination is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday before 36th District Judge Deborah Lewis Langston.

 At 3:38 p.m. on March 11, Detroit officers and emergency medical technicians were dispatched to the restaurant in the 1400 block of Michigan near Trumbull, where they rendered first aid to an unconscious patron on the floor of the tavern.

Leachallegedly was removing a drunken Karpovich from the tavern when the former commander pushed the customer.

Karpovich fell to the floor and sustained significant head injuries, losing consciousness. Medics transported him to a hospital for treatment.

Karpovich has been released from the hospital and is recovering, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said last month.

Leach allegedly failed to file a report regarding the alleged use of force. Leach and Person also did not notify the department they were working in the bar, which Craig said is a violation of department policy.

After learning of the alleged incident, Craig demoted Leach from commander to lieutenant.

Leach has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, a 10-year felony; aggravated assault, a one-year misdemeanor; neglect of duty, a one-year misdemeanor; possessing no license as a security guard, a four-year felony; and tampering with evidence, also a four-year felony.

Person also was working as a security officer at the restaurant and allegedly gave false information when he was questioned by Detroit police officers, and tampered with evidence. Craig said Person also failed to report the use of force, and did not get departmental approval to work at the tavern.

Person has been charged with obstruction of justice, a five-year felony; neglect of duty, a one-year misdemeanor; and tampering with evidence, a four-year felony.

Both officers are suspended with pay, although Craig said he will ask the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners to withhold their salaries. Days after the incident, Craig asked the board to withhold Leach's pay, although the board voted down the request.

Craig is expected to again ask the police commission to approve suspending Leach and Person without pay at Thursday's board meeting, board spokeswoman Teresa Blossom said.

Craig said an administrative investigation into the allegations against both officers is ongoing. 

ghunter@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2134
Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

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