WARREN, Mich. – Deputy Commissioner Matthew Nichols, of the Warren Police Department, is on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation around accusations of excessive force.
There are a lot of allegations in this case. An alleged shoplifter was arrested and police had him in custody, where he allegedly became unruly, and that's when the deputy commissioner got involved.
Nichols helped swear in and promote police officers at a ceremony Friday at Warren City Hall. At the same time, he faced investigation for alleged improper use of force on the job the week prior. After the ceremony, Nichols questions from internal affairs for allegedly striking a man already in police custody in the throat with an open hand.
Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer put Nichols on administrative leave with pay Monday.
"Use of force is important as far as when you have to use and justify it," Dwyer said." We don't tolerate and I don't tolerate the use of force when it's not necessary. If a use of force is used when it's not necessary, then it's going to be disciplinary action will be taken."
Nichols was at home when Local 4 knocked on his door, but he did not answer.
There are six civil lawsuits filed against him as a Warren police officer, dating back to 2004. Some claim police brutality, allegedly hitting people while handcuffed, and others claim the allegedly abusive officer arrested them under false pretenses.
"If the allegations are true, if there is foundation, then I'm disappointed and we'll take the appropriate action," Dwyer said.
Dwyer said the shoplifter who was struck was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
In the current investigation, police cruiser dashcam footage is being reviewed and three other officers have been questioned about what happened.
Nichols' version of events differs from those of other officers questioned.
The investigation is ongoing.