Lawsuit alleges racial profiling led to false arrest of Detroit gym owner

By Larry Spruill - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - A local gym owner said racial profiling led to him being falsely arrested.

Michael Fox said police barged into his gym with guns drawn and arrested him for robbing a bank. He was held in jail for 48 hours and later released, but he said the nightmare has continued to drag on.

“Initially, all I saw was five gentlemen come in with ski masks wearing all black,” said Fox, with Detroit Thrive Training.

The incident was recorded on the cameras inside Fox's gym April 19, 2018. The video shows several officers walking into the gym with full gear on.

Fox said the incident happened when he was talking to his young athletes about doing the right thing.

“I was here talking to gentlemen about making the right decisions in life and making good decisions and right in the middle of my talk to the gentlemen, a SWAT team came in,” Fox said.

Minutes after the officers walked in, they walked back out with Fox in handcuffs. His staff and athletes watched it happen.

“I didn’t find out why they were there until I was actually in the police station with the detective. I asked them what was going on in the car, what’s this about, 'You’ll find out soon enough,' that’s the only words they would give me,” Fox said.

Fox said police wanted him for a bank robbery. Just days before the arrest, someone robbed a Chemical Bank in Gross Pointe Woods.

Fox's attorney gave Local 4 a photo of the alleged bank robber that he obtained from the bank.

“Look at the two pictures. Any picture that I have online or even my driver’s license photo. You look at all of them, it’s going to show, that that guy and I are totally different people,” Fox said.

A $25,000 lawsuit against the Gross Pointe Woods Police Department has been filed that alleges racial profiling.

“I work with people and kids all day long. My reputation is everything. People saying, 'I was told not to come to the gym because the guy there is a bank robber.' My son being told, 'Your dad is a thief, you’re a thief, you’re a N- word bank robber,' all that stuff," Fox said.

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