Police officers charged in restaurant assault

Cmdr. Timothy Leach was suspended after police officials found out about the March 11 incident. Leach was moonlighting as a bouncer in the Ottava Via restaurant on Michigan Avenue when the alleged altercation occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Corktown.

A former Detroit Police Department commander and a Detroit police officer were charged Wednesday with hurting a customer who was allegedly hurled from a Corktown restaurant where the pair were moonlighting as security officers.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Lt. Timothy Larrance Leach, 48, and Officer Frederick Eugene Person, 53, in connection with the assault of civilian Michael Ryan Karpovich, 42, of Washington Township during St. Patrick's Day Parade festivities at the restaurant on Michigan Avenue.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, other Detroit officers and emergency medical technicians were dispatched to the restaurant in the 1400 block of Michigan near Trumbull, where they called to give aid to an unconscious patron on floor of the restaurant around 3:38 p.m. March 11.

Leach, who was moonlighting as a security guard at the restaurant, allegedly pushed Karpovich, who fell to the floor while Leach was ejecting him from the restaurant. 

The man sustained significant head injuries and lost consciousness, the Prosecutor's Office said. Medics transported the victim to a hospital for treatment. 

Detroit police Chief James Craig said Wednesday that Karpovich has been released from the hospital.

"Our prayers go out for a full recovery," Craig said. "He's shown tremendous improvement but he still has a way to go."

Leach allegedly failed to file a report regarding the alleged use of force. He has since been demoted from his job as commander. Leach also did not have prior approval from the Detroit Police Department to be working as a security officer at the restaurant.

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.

The other officer charged, Person, was allegedly also working as a security officer at the restaurant and allegedly gave false information when he was questioned by Detroit police officers.

 Person allegedly failed to report the use of force in the incident, failed to obtain approval to work a secondary employment and tampered with evidence, according to authorities.

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.

Person had been on full duty until the charges were filed Wednesday, Craig said.

"These are actions that do not reflect the hard work done by the men and women of this department," Craig said.

Craig called the allegations "unacceptable," noting that neither officer told the department that force had been used, which is required.

"It wasn't until days later the department became aware," Craig said. "It's unacceptable ... but these are allegations, and we want to follow due process."

In announcing the charges, Worthy said: "It is disappointing that we have to level charges against one of the Detroit Police Department’s top brass and yet another officer. These alleged actions do not represent the hard-working men and women who work each day to protect Detroit."

Both men are expected to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in 36th District Court.

Craig said an administrative investigation into the allegations is ongoing. 


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