Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Police report on Taser usage

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Information provided to Council a year after purchasing weapons

By Dan DuChene
Feb. 24, 2009    ·    1:42 a.m.

Tasers have been deployed by Ypsilanti police seven times, including one accident, since they were purchased by the city last year.

In a report to City Council, who approved the $45,000 purchase in Jan. 2008, Police Chief Matt Harshberger summarized each instance a Taser was used by officers on duty. The report was located in the packet of information letters provided Feb. 9.

“The Tasers have worked extremely well so far,” Harshberger said. “We anticipated having more than seven deployments for the first year, but are very happily surprised that the number of deployments is so low.”

When he made his presentation to have Council approve the purchase of 45 X-26 Tasers, which came from drug forfeitures obtained by the department as well as grant funding, Harshberger predicted the Tasers would be used more in the first year than in following years. He said word would get out the department was using the Tasers, and officers wouldn’t use have to use them as much.

This is the reason he attributed to what he described as a low number of deployments.

“The word (got) out of how effective Tasers really are as several area departments got them prior to our department,” Harshberger said. “We were fortunate that many folks that complied saw that we had Tasers on our belts and made comments to the effect of ‘Ypsi’s got Tasers now.’ ”

Harshberger said this incident, when Tasers achieved compliance without any action from officers, occurred “numerous times.”

According to his report, officers unholstered Tasers and did not have to deploy the weapon to get compliance in 12 instances.

“The person that they pulled it out on immediately (gave up) upon seeing the Taser being pointed at (him or her),” Harshberger said.

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he is pleased with the report from Harshberger. He said he was happy with what he considered a low number.

“They’re better than a billy club,” he said.

Harshberger recommended Tasers as a safe alternative, both for officers and combative subjects, to batons. He said Tasers don’t inflict as much injury to a subject as batons, and officers can deploy Tasers from a safer distance.

“I think the Tasers were used the way they were supposed to by the department,” he said. “I have confidence in the chief.”

Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, was the only member to cast a vote against the purchase. He said he is still cautious about the devices.

“Tasers are going to continue to be a controversial issue,” Robb said. “It’s important to monitor the incidents as they occur.”

Robb said City Council used to receive updates on Taser usage as soon as they were deployed. He said he would rather see Council updated after each use than in cumulative report. He also pointed to the accidental deployment as a cause for concern.

The accident, which occurred as an officer was jumping over a fence with his Taser in hand during a foot pursuit, caused the weapon discharged into a tree. Protocol calls for officers to holster the weapon during such maneuvers.

“The officer was counseled and re-trained on proper foot pursuit tactics,” the report said.

Robb said, “As long as that continues to happen, I will continue to be cautious.”

Below is a list of the deployments contained in the report.

April 26, 2008
Officers deployed the Taser at 11 S. Summit St. to control a combative subject who had stopped taking prescribed medication for mental illness.

The report said his girlfriend called police requested officers to the location because she wanted him committed to the hospital for psychological evaluation because he had begun to make statements about 'hunting people down" and targeting specific people to harm them.

The subject refused to cooperate with officers, who were trying to get him to go to
the hospital voluntarily. The report said the subject told the officers he had been “Tasered” before for pulling a knife on an officer.

The report said officers tackled the subject in a final effort to control him without the Taser, with Huron Valley Ambulance paramedics standing by. The subject was able to wrestle away and began swinging at the officers.

A sergeant deployed the Taser on the subject and he was immediately incapacitated and handcuffed. In the report, the subject told the officers that they would have fought him all day if they had not used the Taser.

The subject was cooperative after the Taser deployment and was transported to the hospital.

July 15, 2008
Officer deployed the Taser in the Brandy's Party Store parking Lot.

According to the report, officers observed a subject duck behind the dumpster as they pulled into the parking lot. They asked the subject what he was doing and he said he went to urinate behind the dumpster and had left his 4-year-old son in the store.

As Officers went to pat him down, he began struggling with officers and tried to pull away. The subject swung at one of the officers and knocked handcuffs out of the other officer's hands.

The report said the officer deployed the Taser and the subject was incapacitated and fell to the ground The subject was also found to be a sexual offender who was in non-compliant with his registration.

Aug. 8, 2008
A sergeant deployed the Taser in the area of Grove and High streets during a foot pursuit.

Officers were dispatched to a domestic violence situation involving a 4-year-old child being improperly taken by his father who had an outstanding felony warrant for carrying a concealed weapon and bench warrants for domestic violence, drug possession, and providing false identification to police, the report said.

A foot pursuit started from Grove Street and continued north across Michigan Avenue. The report said officers attempted to apprehend the suspect and the sergeant deployed his Taser, however, one of the probes missed the subject and he continued to flee.

The suspect was finally apprehended several blocks away. One Taser probe was found in his leg.

Sept. 4, 2008
An officer accidentally deployed the Taser at 311 Jarvis St. when investigating a suspicious subject who had gained access into an apartment building.

The subject fled on foot over a fence and the officer, who pursued the subject over the fence, accidentally activated his Taser when jumping the fence with the weapon in hand.

The Taser struck a tree that was growing over the fence.

The officer was counseled and re-trained on proper foot pursuit tactics that included holstering the Taser before using his hands to jump over fences and other objects that may cause an accidental discharge.

Oct. 1, 2008
Officers deployed the Taser in the 600 block of Armstrong to control a combative subject who was chasing his sister around the Parkridge apartment complex.

The report said the suspect had an object in his hand, which officers first believed to be a knife.

Upon confronting the subject, the report said he displayed behavior that indicated he was suffering from a mental illness. Officers later discovered the suspect was schizophrenic.

The report said officers tried unsuccessfully to calm the subject down to the point of controlling him with verbal commands.

The report said he yelled at the officers, "shoot me, kill me.”

After lunging at one of the officers with the object in his hand, the officer deployed his Taser, which incapacitated the subject. He fell to the ground.

Once the Taser burst ended, the subject was able to get back to his feet and began running around again. The officer was unable to activate the Taser again because one of the Taser wires had become disconnected from the subject's body.

The report said he continued to run around yelling for the officers to shoot him and he was able to grab onto a female witness standing nearby while officers were trying to
restrain him.

The sergeant deployed a second Taser and the subject was incapacitated. Officers
immediately handcuffed him. HVA responded and transported him to the hospital without further incident.

According to the report, the subject remained combative after being handcuffed and kept yelling at the officers to Taser him again.

November 13, 2008
Officers deployed the Taser at the 700 block of Hemphill Street for an "ex-boyfriend “kicking in the front door" at a residence.

The report said officers confronted the subject, who continued to yell and flail his arms around. He demanded that officers go into the house to get his personal belongings.

Officers tried to talk with the subject to gather information and determine the necessary course of action, but the subject was uncooperative and began cursing at the officers.

Police initiated an arrest of the subject for domestic violence, disturbing the peace and interfering with their investigation, but the report said he began to fight.

The report said one of the officers gave the subject a “drive-stun” with the Taser and the subject immediately complied with officers from that point on.

The report describes a drive-stun as when the cartridge is taken off the Taser and the Taser is used in direct contact with the subject's body to deliver an electrical charge causing local muscle incapacitation.

No probe deployment occurred during this incident.

December 12, 2008

An officer deployed the Taser in the 400 block of Huron Street for a domestic violence situation.

The report said officers conducted their investigation and determined the subject was wanted on three outstanding warrants for his arrest. Upon trying to apprehend the subject, he pushed one officer in the chest and punched another officer in the side of his head.

A Taser was deployed, but it did not strike the subject properly as one of the probes did not contact the subject.

The subject ripped the wire off, balled it up in his fist and threw it back at the officer, according to the report.

Officers then tackled the subject and the officer with the Taser used a drive-stun to assist with controlling him to the point of getting handcuffs on him.

According to police, his mother was interfering during the arrest as by trying to pull the officers off him. It said officers did not take any action toward her other than “yelling at her to back away and trying to push her away from them while they were still wrestling with the subject.”

Three pre-shift accidents
Harshberger said three accidental deployments occurred when officers were performing their pre-shift “spark test” of the Taser.

He said the test requires an officer to remove the cartridge and pull the trigger to ensure a spark is generated across the two electrodes on the barrel of the weapon.

“Unfortunately, three officers forgot to remove the cartridge first and pulled the trigger deploying the Taser cartridge during the pre-shift inspection procedure,” he said “No injuries occurred.”

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