Deceased Detroit narcotics cop reportedly tied to FBI probe is named in pot lawsuit

A Detroit police officer who committed suicide last month while he was reportedly being investigated for corruption is named in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday that alleges he — and several other officers — unlawfully seized marijuana plants from a Warren grower.

Timothy and Hatema Davis, of Warren, say members of the Detroit Police Department's now-disbanded narcotics unit forcibly entered their home in December 2013 with assault rifles drawn, demanded to know if they had any money, and seized nearly fifty marijuana plants, according to the complaint. Timothy Davis was legally licensed to operate a marijuana grow facility, the complaint says.

One of the officers named as a defendant in the complaint, James Napier, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last month while he was being investigated by the FBI and Detroit Internal Affairs for narcotics corruption. Detective Napier was identified by The Detroit News, citing two police sources "familiar with an investigation into corruption in the Narcotics Section," as one of the officers under investigation.

June West, director of communications for the Detroit Police Department, confirmed Wednesday evening that "a small group of former members of the narcotics unit" remains under investigation by the FBI. No officers have been charged. A message was left for FBI Special Agent David Porter seeking comment. 

The Davises say the Detroit officers who conducted the raid never presented a search warrant, according to the complaint. The couple was handcuffed while the officers "extensively tore apart Plaintiffs' property and removed ... nearly fifty marijuana plants and other related legitimate and lawful by-products of Plaintiffs' business," the complaint says. The Davises were eventually released and never charged with any violations, according to the complaint. 

Besides Napier, the City of Detroit, Lt. Charles Flanagan of the narcotics unit, an officer "Novak" of the narcotics unit, and several John Doe officers are named as defendants. Attorney Michael Dezsi, who filed the complaint on behalf of the Davises, says his clients believe six officers were present during the raid. 

John Roach, spokesperson for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, declined to comment Wednesday, saying the city doesn't comment on pending lititgation. 

Last year, Flanagan, who is white, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying he was the victim of racial discrimination by black superior officers. Flanagan also claims he was forced to endure a hostile work environment for blowing the whistle on suspected wrongdoing in the narcotics unit

Detroit Police Chief James Craig disbanded the narcotics unit in July because of "systematic problems uncovered during an Internal Affairs investigation that began in May, including how drugs and evidence were handled," according to the News. In November, a lieutenant and a police officer in the narcotics unit were suspended for alleged criminal wrongdoing, the News reported.

The Davises' complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief. 

About The Author

Ryan Felton

Ryan Felton was born in 1990 and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Livonia. In 2009, after a short stint at Eastern Michigan University, he moved to Detroit where he has remained ever since. After graduating from Wayne State University’s journalism program, he went on to work as a staff writer...
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