Dearborn cop accused of groping woman to stand trial

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Dearborn — A Dearborn police officer was ordered to stand trial Friday on allegations he groped the breast of a female acquaintance during a traffic stop.

The woman testified before 19th District Court Judge William Hultgren that the incident happened around 10 p.m. at Telegraph and Cherry Hill as she was going home May 2.

Cpl. Justin Smith “reached in and touched my (left) boob,” said the woman who works at a family-owned deli in Dearborn. “I just sat there and said did he just touch my boob?”

The 32-year-old woman said that after the alleged incident, Smith got into his squad car and drove away.

Smith, 36, is charged with second-degree sexual misconduct during a felony and common law offenses. He has known the woman for about four years.

Hultgren ordered the woman’s name to not be made public by the media.

The woman said at Smith’s preliminary hearing she did not report the matter to police or tell anyone right away. She said she told her boyfriend, a Dearborn police officer, three weeks later.

“I didn’t want to tell him,” the woman said Friday. “I didn’t want him to get mad or start anything.”

The boyfriend, whom the woman admitted under cross-examination by Smith’s attorney, Greg Rohl, has had “bad blood” with Smith, told Dearborn Police higher ups about the alleged incident.

She denied her boyfriend is racist. Smith is African-American.

The woman says Smith, like other Dearborn officers, is a regular at the deli where she waitresses. .

Under further cross-examination, the woman admitted she and Smith traded text messages after the incident and that she sent him one saying “You scared me” and exclaiming “LMAO.”

“Did you ever confront (Smith) to tell him what he did was inappropriate,” Rohl asked the woman. She said she did not.

The alleged victim also said under cross-examination she is considering a civil lawsuit against the city of Dearborn.

The woman testified she is flirtatious with Dearborn police officers who frequent the family’s deli on Michigan Avenue.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark showed dash cam from Smith’s car which shows Smith conducting the traffic stop.

“He reached inside the vehicle (and) begins to walk way. He pulls his arm out of the vehicle,” said Police Lt. Gary Mann, the officer in charge of the investigation about his review of the video.

There is no audio on the video because, according to Mann, it was manually turned off. He later admitted it is not “uncommon” for police officers to turn off the dash camera’s audio if they stop someone they know.

Mann said, however, that each stop should be recorded. He agreed Smith “had to have known he was being recorded” and his actions were being monitored.

Smith has been on the Dearborn police force for about seven years. Mann said there have been no incidents filed against the officer aside from allegations made about the May 2 traffic stop.

Hagaman-Clark said there was sexual contact “during the commission of a felony” when Smith conducted the traffic stop.

After Hultgren bound Smith over, Rohl said “anyone can make a career-killing claim in hopes of getting some money out of it.”

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