Meridian Officials Release All Materials Relating to a Retail Fraud Arrest

Meridian Officials Release All Materials Relating to a Retail Fraud Arrest

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township officials held a virtual press conference today, April 23, to release all materials from the criminal investigation and the independent external review relating to a retail fraud and an assault of a detective that took place on March 10, 2021.

On March 10, the Meridian Township Police Department (MTPD) responded to a retail fraud complaint at Meridian Mall in Okemos, Michigan, which escalated into an assault of a detective. A witness of the arrest provided a video to the police department on March 11. In the press conference, Police Chief Ken Plaga went through the witness’ video in three parts, along with the body cam footage of the two uniformed police officers on the site.

Plaga said the videos did not capture the assault of the detective, but he said the detective was punched in the face.

According to the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office Memorandum, the arrest occurred in the parking lot of the Meridian Mall near the south entrance to Macy’s. During the course of the arrest, the suspect resisted and the officers used force to accomplish the arrest.

After a careful review of the evidence submitted, the memorandum said the use of force in this incident was reasonable and does not rise to the level of a criminal violation of the law.

Plaga said those videos and any other information on the investigation and arrest will be available to the public to follow through on the Township’s commitment to transparency.

Due to the nature of the arrest, Plaga said Meridian Township officials sought a criminal review by the Michigan State Police and the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office. In addition, the Township retained retired Commander of the Michigan State Police Professional Standards Section Twana Powell to provide an external, unbiased review on the use of force in the arrest.

Powell’s external review was to provide an opinion on the reasonableness of force utilized by the detectives on site. In her findings, Powell said the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office determined the detectives’ actions were in self-defense and reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.

Powell said it is her opinion that the force utilized by the detectives were objectively reasonable force and their actions were in accordance with MTPD’s policies and procedures.

Plaga said the suspect has been charged with retail fraud and a pending charge of assaulting a police officer.

The full press conference can be viewed below.

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