DETROIT – There have been few developments in the case against two off-duty Detroit police officers who were working security at a Corktown bar when one of them allegedly threw a drunk patron to the ground, putting that person in a coma.
Both officers were suspended and are facing charges, but 20 months after, they’re still getting paid and haven’t gone to trial. The incident happened during St. Patrick’s Day Parade festivities on March 11, 2018.
Former Cmdr. Timothy Larrance Leach, 48, and Officer Frederick Eugene Person, 53, are accused of assaulting Michael Ryan Karpovich, 42, of Washington Township. Chief James Craig said that 11th Precinct Cmdr. Leach was off-duty and in an “unauthorized outside employment capacity” on March 11 when Karpovich was hurt.
Craig said Karpovich was “involved with a person working as a bouncer” and was “taken to the ground.” Leach was demoted to lieutenant shortly after the incident, police said.
In May 2018 Leach was charged with assault to do great bodily harm, aggravated assault, neglect of duty, no license security guard and tampering with evidence. Person was at the scene working as a security guard at the restaurant, police said. In May 2018 Person was charged with obstruction of justice, neglect of duty and tampering with evidence.
Some are wondering if the delay in the trial has something to do with the men being highly-decorated veteran officers, one a well-liked commander of the 11th Precinct with an outstanding record and the other a rising detective.
It has been 18 months since the two were charged with injuring Karpovich and 13 months since they were bound over for trial. Some appeals by Leach’s attorney have stalled the case, but nearly two years after the incident the officers are still getting paid.
At the time, Craig recommended an unpaid suspension.
“What triggers me bringing a case like that is if they’re charged with a felony,” Craig said.
Leach was charged with a felony, but he was overruled by a majority on the Board of Police Commissioners, which included Willie Bell.
“We don’t rubber stamp. We look at it from on its own face value, look at the video, look at the facts and we made a decision to keep him on leave with pay,” Bell said.
Bell said they reviewed surveillance video of the incident and despite criminal charges, he thinks Leach should be back on the job.
Craig said the criminal case may be on hold indefinitely, but he is ready to make a decision on his standing with the department.
“We’re going to move forward with the administrative part of the investigation,” Craig said.
It has been a month since there’s been any activity in the court case. Leach’s attorney said a couple issues, including having one of the charges thrown out, have been appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court and until it decides everything is on hold.