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Ferndale cop charged with assault on robbery suspect

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Ferndale — A former Ferndale police officer has been charged with assault and battery involving the arrest of a 17-year-old Detroit suspect believed to have been stealing items from vehicles.

Jason White, 37, a nine-year veteran of the department, was charged in the April 18 incident following an investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office after the arrested suspect complained of abusive treatment.

The suspect and a companion were found leaving the Ferndale neighborhood with items taken from cars. It was the man’s fifth similar arrest in the past two years — all five arrests made by White — according to Police Chief Timothy Collins.

“It’s a sad event for the department, and White and his family,” Collins said. “As bad as it is, and as deplorable as his actions, it was properly reported by other officers and up the chain of command. He was placed on leave during the investigation.”

White resigned from the Ferndale force May 1, one week after the start of the investigation, which used White’s in-patrol car video tape, Collins said.

“In viewing a recording of the arrest (taken via the officer’s in-car video system), I was deeply troubled by what I witnessed,” Collins said. “There are no excuses to be made: the arresting officer involved in this incident did indeed use excessive (force).

“I can speak for the entire department when I say that I am shocked and disappointed by what occurred during this arrest,” Collins said. “Every individual, regardless of his or her alleged actions, is entitled to safety and respect; I apologize that this young man did not receive this.”

White was formally charged with assault and battery and released pending a future court date on the offense, a misdemeanor.

White started working in the police department out of high school as a service aide and dispatcher, Collins said.

“After Sept. 11 he enlisted in the Army Reserves and spent a year overseas in the Iraq War. He came back and rejoined the department, becoming an officer in 2007,” Collins said.

“He is a hard worker and a patriot. It’s a shame this happened. It was unnecessary and behavior that will not be tolerated.”

The suspect in the car break-ins subsequently pleaded guilty to the offenses, served time in the Oakland County Jail and has since been released, Collins said.

The Ferndale District Court has recused itself from the matter, which will be reassigned to another court by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319