TAYLOR, Mich. - A Michigan man is accusing police officers of using excessive force during a 2016 arrest outside his home.
"I stopped at a stop sign, and they followed me home from there," Cody Meredith said.
What started as a drive home for Meredith ended with him landing in the back seat of a Taylor police car with injuries from the arrest.
"Somebody I expected to protect me basically didn't protect me," Meredith said.
On March 29, 2016, two Taylor police officers saw Meredith heading home at 2:30 a.m. Police reports claim he "braked heavily in order to not run a stop sign" and "(went) 35 mph in a 25 mph zone."
Meredith was just a block from his house, and when he turned into his driveway, he didn't use a turn signal, according to police. That's when the officers turned on their lights.
"Not using your turn signal is not a crime," said Amir Makled, Meredith's attorney.
The incident was captured on audio and video. The audio recording began the moment officers turned the lights on. At the time, Meredith was already out of his car.
"Oh s---, get back in the car, man," an officer said.
"Where you guys coming from? Get up off me," Meredith said.
Video shows a fight ensuing, and that's the core of a federal lawsuit.
"I was tased twice," Meredith said.
"An officer said stop. Why didn't you stop?" Local 4's Jermont Terry said.
"At that point, in my mind, I'm thinking, 'Why did I get stopped?'" Meredith said. "Why did I get followed home when they could have pulled me over before I got to my home?"
Video shows several blows being thrown during the fight.
"Look at that: one, two, three right to his face," Makled said. "They still haven't told him what he did wrong."
"There was no opportunity to say anything," Meredith said. "As soon as they got close to me they threw me to the ground and started beating me."
Taylor police claim the then-18-year-old resisted officers, resulting in the aggressive takedown.
"Outrageous conduct," Makled said. "Totally against the policy and procedure of any law enforcement agency."
Meredith and his attorneys said police used excessive force, especially when additional officers arrived.
"They join in on the fray, and he's continued to be kicked while a supervisor is there," Makled said.
Makled said the supervisor witnessed an officer kneeing Meredith in the back while he was already in handcuffs.
"I was being choked," Meredith said. "I was being beaten. I was in handcuffs being kicked in my face. There was a lot of stuff going on."
The incident happened in front of Meredith's mother's house, and he can be heard in the video screaming for her during the arrest.
Meredith has since moved out of Taylor and hopes to move forward. He said he never resisted officers and didn't deserve to end up in the hospital.
"They're police officers," Meredith said. "I'm a black male. That answers the question. They're going to do and say what they can to protect themselves."
But the officers aren't saying much. Local 4 requested an interview with the police chief, but he said he isn't allowed to talk about the case, the lawsuit or the actions of five officers. That's especially troubling to attorney Cyril Hall, who believes the case points to bigger problems with Taylor police.
"I don't believe it's isolated because we've had one of the officers listed in the complaint," Hall said. "He's been sued on other occasions (for excessive force)."
In the video, an officer told Meredith, "Shut the f--- up you piece of s---" and claimed Meredith had a warrant out for his arrest.
Meredith didn't have any outstanding warrants, and the moment that police realized they had the wrong person was caught on video. But police did find a small bag of marijuana inside the car when the searched it.
"They had no right to go into the vehicle," Makled said.
"It feels good to beat me a--?" Meredith asked in the video.
"No, you gripped onto me, buddy," an officer said.
"I didn't grip you guys at all," Meredith said.
"Yeah, you did," two police officers said.
Meredith said it isn't easy for him to watch the video of the arrest, even though two years have passed.
"It puts a terrible feeling in my body," Meredith said. "I feel empty, like I was worth nothing."
He said it's hard for him to visit his mother's house.
"Every time I go to the house I pull up and I look at that little spot and I remember every little thing and how it happened," Meredith said. "It's not a place I like to be. I don't call it home anymore. Your home is where you're supposed to feel safe. I don't feel safe there. I don't even feel safe being in the area."
Meredith said he hopes nobody else will experience what he did.
Police charged Meredith with drug possession and two counts of assaulting a police officer. Meredith had a medical marijuana card, so the drug possession charge was dropped.
Taylor police insisted in reports that Meredith was resisting arrest. But he now has a criminal record for what he feels was an incident escalated by Taylor police. He's seeking more than $70,000 in damages from the lawsuit.
The Taylor Police Department hasn't revealed if any of the officers involved were disciplined or whether they remain on the force.
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