Former Hamtramck cop sentenced to prison for assaulting motorist

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A former Hamtramck police officer was sentenced Thursday in federal court for using "unjustified and unreasonable excessive force" during a traffic arrest seven years ago and for violating the driver's civil rights, the United States Department of Justice said Thursday.

Ryan McInerney, 45, of Grosse Ile Township was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain to three years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to a release by the Justice Department.

McInerney pleaded guilty in January to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. McInerney also voluntarily gave up his law enforcement license as part of the plea agreement.

McInerney was accused of assaulting a motorist during a traffic stop in 2014. As a result, the victim suffered broken facial bones and other injuries, officials said.

"The defendant abused the trust given to him as a law enforcement officer when he pistol-whipped two arrestees on two separate occasions,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division in a statement.

“The vast majority of police officers are decent, caring and honorable men and women who are dedicated to protecting and serving the public and safeguarding civil rights,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“We live in a nation governed by the rule of law and no one is above the law. Police officers like McInerney who use unreasonable and excessive force and who inflict harm on the very citizens they are sworn to protect will be vigorously prosecuted and brought to justice.”

McInerney during the plea hearing admitted that while he was on duty as a Hamtramck Police Department officer on the night of June 22, 2014, he initiated a traffic stop on the victim, identified by officials as D.M., officials said. 

McInerney approached the driver’s side door and ordered the man to put his hands up. The man complied, officials said.

“Regardless, and without justification, the defendant used his service firearm to pistol-whip D.M. several times in the face, through the open window of D.M.’s car door,” officials said. “D.M. did not present a danger to the defendant, and there was no lawful reason for the pistol-whipping.”

Officials said McInerney also admitted that he intentionally gave a false account of the incident in an official Hamtramck Police Department use of force form in order to cover up his actions.

McInerney also admitted to pistol-whipping a second person that night during an arrest, breaking that person’s teeth.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN