Jury awards $9.2M in lawsuit against Dearborn police officer for violating constitutional rights

DEARBORN, Mich. – A Wayne County jury ruled in favor of Luther Gonzales-Hall in his lawsuit against a Dearborn police officer for violating his constitutional rights.

The jury awarded him a $9.2-million verdict.

“I was happy with people I didn’t even know stood up for me,” Gonzales-Hall said.

The judgment came down Tuesday afternoon after a 7-day trial.

“This case is about what do you expect from the officer when you call for help or need help,” Gonzales-Hall’s attorney Azzam Elder said.

Back in 2018, Gonzales-Hall stopped to ask the Dearborn police officer for directions. He claims the officer wasn’t being nice, so he went inside a fast-food restaurant for directions. The officer followed him inside.

“He told me to like stay, leave, so I couldn’t really know what to do because he was being real rude. He was putting on his gloves, and I got pretty scared, so try to leave the situation. And it just went downhill from there,” Gonzales-Hall said.

Bodycam footage captured the exchange.

Gonzales-Hall was charged with resisting and opposing a police officer, which was later dismissed.

But his injuries from that day remain.

Elder said his client would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

“It changed my whole life, and I’m not the same as I used to be,” Gonzales-Hall said.

Elder said the judgment sends a strong message to police departments.

“This case was about not just his injury, but it was about his rights because you have a right to walk away from an officer if they’re unlawfully investigating you,” Elder said.

About the Author:

Will Jones rejoined the Local 4 News team in February 2023 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter for the station from 2012 to 2015.