Lying Cops Prompt Lawsuit Against City of Detroit
DETROIT, MI – Ven Johnson Law, PLC, has filed four federal and two state lawsuits against the City of Detroit and two Detroit Police Department (DPD) officers. The suits claim the officers falsified search warrant affidavits which resulted in the unlawful imprisonment of clients Darell Chancellor and Darrell Richmond.
In the Chancellor case, the lawsuits claim that in November 2011, Officer Stephen Geelhood, a member of the now-defunct DPD Narcotics Unit, falsified a search warrant affidavit where he alleged that he had received information from a confidential informant (CI) that a large quantity of heroin was being stored and sold from a home where Chancellor was allegedly residing. In fact, Chancellor was living at a different address on a different street at the time of these events.
In the false affidavit, Geelhood further alleged that he had set up surveillance at the home and personally observed a Black male engaging in a “suspected narcotics transaction” with buyers. During the execution of the search warrant, Chancellor was not at the home and although no heroin was found, cocaine was discovered on the premises.
Chancellor was subsequently arrested, convicted of cocaine possession, and sentenced to 14-30 years in prison. During the trial, Geelhood testified to both the seizure of the cocaine during the raid and the events that he falsely claimed had occurred that resulted in the issuance of the search warrant.
In the Richmond case, the lawsuits state that in March 2019, Officer Michael Mosley, a member of the Major Violators Unit (MVU), falsified a search warrant affidavit where he alleged claimed that he had received information from a CI about Richmond. The false affidavit led to the issuance of a search warrant that resulted in an unlawful raid of a house, a seizure of narcotics, weapons, and cash, and the arrest of Richmond.
Mosely, who is awaiting sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to a federal felony, threatened and coerced the CI, who then provided Richmond’s name as an alleged drug dealer. Contrary to the information provided by Mosley in the affidavit, the CI had no personal knowledge of Richmond and merely provided hearsay information. Richmond was sentenced to three to 20 years in prison for the delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance and another five years for felony-firearm. Mosley’s false affidavit, which he filed knowing he had insufficient information to establish probable cause to search the residence, violated Richmond’s fundamental constitutional rights under the Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendments.
The Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), a division of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, became involved in both Chancellor’s and Richmond’s cases because of an internal investigation by DPD as well as a federal investigation into the department’s Narcotics Unit. There were several serious allegations that multiple Detroit police narcotics officers, including Geelhood and Mosley, had participated in falsifying search warrant affidavits, falsely accusing citizens of drug crimes, and stealing guns and narcotics found during search warrant executions.
In 2019, because of the numerous allegations of misconduct against multiple narcotics unit officers, Chancellor’s conviction was reviewed by the CIU. Based on its findings, an order to vacate Chancellor’s conviction was entered on March 24, 2020, and he was released from prison, after having served eight years. After seven months of wrongful incarceration, Richmond’s case also was reviewed, and he was released from prison that same day.
“These DPD officers’ intentional misconduct, and the City’s indifference to and tolerance of their illegal actions, led to the unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment of my clients,” said Ven Johnson, founder of Ven Johnson Law. “This deplorable pattern of behavior and reckless disregard for the truth within divisions of DPD had been going on for years. We applaud Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy for cleaning up this mess. My clients were falsely arrested and imprisoned and deserve compensation.”
About Ven Johnson Law, PLC
Ven Johnson Law, PLC, founded by Ven Johnson in 2011, has worked on some of the most notable personal injury cases in America, winning more than $200 million in jury verdicts and settlements totaling more than $400 Million. The firm’s practice areas include civil rights, police misconduct, premises liability, product liability and many more. Ven Johnson and his team have been recognized by legal organizations and publications across the country, including being named to the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report 2017-2020. For more information, visit www.venjohnsonlaw.com.