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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) - A local couple has filed a federal lawsuit of police brutality against the City of Eaton Rapids. The case is now waiting in a Grand Rapids federal court with these defendants: the police chief, sergeant and their attorney.
A September night in 2010, Melissa and Keith Minaya went out to celebrate a friend's birthday at a bar in Eaton Rapids. They say it was around 1a.m. when their group of eight met in the parking lot figure out driving arrangements.
It was then court documents say an Eaton Rapids officer pulled up in his patrol car and ordered them to disperse. Melissa allegedly made a dance move as she walked to her car and that's when she says the officer told her she was under arrest. She and witnesses claim what followed was brutal treatment that left Minaya with back and neck injuries. Injuries she alleges came at the hands of the officer, who court documents claim, grabbed her by the arm and neck, jerked her around and slammed her against his patrol car, hitting her head against it twice.
Court documents also say, at one point, the group pleaded with the officer to stop choking Melissa. When her husband told him he was recording video of it on his cell phone, he was placed under arrest.
Of course, this is just one side of the story.
The couple did spend the night in jail and were charged with misdemeanors, including resisting a police officer and assault and battery. Those charges were later dropped. They're now asking the court for damages for pain and suffering and financial losses. They say the police chief was negligent, failed to train his staff and ignored previous complaints against the sergeant who remains on duty.
6 News spoke with the chief by phone who said he wouldn't comment on the case. Neither the attorney's for the city or the Minaya's returned our calls.
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