Detroit scrap metal company's lawsuit accuses Detroit police of planting evidence, harassment

Southwest Metals Inc. lawsuit names city, mayor, Detroit Police Department, police chief as defendants

DETROIT – A metal recycling company is suing the Detroit Police Department on accusations that a police task force member planted evidence in an effort to shut down the business for buying allegedly stolen scrap metal.

Southwest Metals Inc. and its owner Joseph Fawaz accuse Sgt. Rebecca McKay, who is a member of the Detroit Police Department's Copper Theft Task Force, of falsely accusing the company of knowingly buying metal stolen from DTE Energy.

The allegedly false accusations ultimately led to the arrests of Fawaz and two of his employees. According to the lawsuit, Fawaz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge to avoid a felony conviction.

The lawsuit accuses McKay of abusing her power, harassing Fawaz and his employees, planting evidence at his company, lying to prosecutors and prejudice toward Fawaz and his company because he is Arab-American and Muslim.

Moreover, the lawsuit claims the city of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan, the Detroit Police Department and Chief James Craig allowed McKay to continue with her alleged unlawful conduct despite being notified about it.

The metal company wants a jury trial.

Local 4 reached out to the Detroit Police Department for comment, which said it cannot comment on pending litigation.

Statement from city of Detroit:

"We have carefully reviewed this complaint and have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Sgt. McKay.  The city is committed to protecting homes, businesses, schools and other public assets from metal theft.  We will continue our efforts to make sure scrap yards across the city are operating lawfully. We look forward to vigorously defending this case in court."

Butch Hollowell, Corporation Counsel

Here is the 44-page lawsuit which details all events and allegations, right here: