‘I couldn’t breathe’: Lawsuit says Farmington Hills police tackled innocent man during pursuit

Officers did not have body cameras at time of incident, police say

David Hurley said that encounter a year ago outside of his home wasn’t even close to justified. Now he’s filed a federal lawsuit against the department claiming a lot more than just excessive force.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – A man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Farmington Hills Police Department after he said an incident left him fearing for his life.

David Hurley said an apology is not enough for what he said he experienced a year ago outside his home. Farmington Hills police Chief Jeff King said his officers did nothing wrong.

When the incident happened, officers were pursuing a young man outside of Hurley’s home. Hurley saw someone dart into the bushes, and when he walked outside of his home he said police piled onto him.

“For me, it was life or death. I couldn’t allow the discretion of them at that point for my survival, so I immediately fled to my home and got indoors to only find my children inside crying,” David Hurley said.

Hurley was 58 years old at the time. He said the person the police were pursuing was about 20 years old.

“They look nothing alike whatsoever, but how is it that my client gets tackled by this officer,” his attorney said.

“I couldn’t breathe, I expressed that to the officer I says, ‘I can’t breathe, what you’re doing to me is killing me,’” Hurley said. “I feel ultimately betrayed by the very same people that I give resources to protect me and my family.”

Local 4 has been told the officers did not have body cameras at the time of the incident. Hurley’s attorney said they have not received any dashcam footage of the incident.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.