Police commission denies suspension of sergeant after Detroit woman killed

  • In US
  • 2022-12-02 11:33:42Z
  • By Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Police Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to deny the recommended unpaid suspension of a sergeant in charge of officers involved in the fatal November shooting of Ki'Azia Miller.

The board spent nearly four hours discussing proposed unpaid suspensions of Detroit officers in a closed session. Ultimately, the board disagreed with Detroit Police Chief James White's recommendation to suspend Sgt. Marvin Anthony of the 12th precinct without pay for his involvement in the incident that led to Miller's death.

Anthony will no longer be suspended, said Bryan Ferguson, chair of the Board of Police Commissioners.

Detroit Police Chief James White speaks with media members during a press conference inside the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Friday, Nov.
Detroit Police Chief James White speaks with media members during a press conference inside the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Friday, Nov.  

Two other officers from the 12th precinct opted to have their cases heard in a public format at a later date. Ferguson said their cases were not discussed in Thursday's closed session and could not confirm whether the two officers played a role in the incident that led to Miller's death.

White previously announced recommending the unpaid suspensions of three officers, including one supervisor. Another unidentified supervisor was taken off the streets and assigned desk work.

One of the officers recommended for suspensions fired his weapon during the alleged struggle, the others did not, White said last month when he announced the disciplinary action. Neither of the supervisors were "directly involved" in the shooting, however, White said he holds supervisors to a higher standard and has "serious concerns."

No officers have been charged in Miller's death. Attempts by the Free Press to reach Detroit's police unions for comment were unsuccessful Thursday evening.

Miller's mother called police Nov. 10 asking for help for her daughter, whom she said was experiencing a mental crisis and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Miller's mother told police that Miller had hit her young child and was armed with knives, a bat and a gun.

White said Miller, 27, was killed during a struggle for a gun. Three officers fired four rounds at her, White said. Miller did not fire a gun.

In a video footage recorded by Miller moments before the shooting, she says to an officer seemingly hiding behind a tree in her front yard: "You had a gun pointed on me because you all got a phone call. Are you serious? You all came with guns drawn. ... You all prepared to shoot, right?"

The officer responds that the police on scene don't want to get hurt. Then a second officer aggressively and abruptly enters the home. The video then becomes shaky. The audio becomes muffled, but it sounds like the officer then yells, "Show your goddamned hands," "Don't reach for that goddamned gun," and the video ends.

"I expect and require supervisors to take command of situations, develop a plan of action that is consistent with the department's policies and practices to ensure officers execute the plan as instructed," White said as he announced recommending the suspensions Nov. 14. "It's imperative that supervisors take a leadership role to ensure that our policies are being met at every step of the way, and that the policies and practices are executed to perfection, and the plan is instructed."

The officers were being evaluated for potential reductions in rank, White said.

Miller's family has spoken out against the killing, demanding justice and accountability.

"I don't know how to process this. My sister needed help," Miller's sister, Di'Azia Cruz, said at a vigil last month outside of Miller's home. Family members held Cruz close as she spoke.

"They took my sister from this earth. And it was not her time. It was not her time."

Police have been pleading for more mental health resources in the city and exploring new strategies for responding to mental health calls.

More:After 2 killed by police, Detroiters grapple with mental health strategy

Also on Thursday, the Board of Police Commissioners approved White's recommendation that officer Kory Dombrowski of the 4th precinct be suspended without pay, but with medical benefits.

Dombrowski was arrested in Monroe County on Nov. 18. He is accused of brandishing a gun at his girlfriend while intoxicated, wearing body armor, carrying multiple weapons and driving drunk, according to a WXYZ Detroit report.

Prior to his arrest, Dombrowski was repeatedly disciplined within the Detroit Police Department and was recently labeled one of the department's most high risk officers, WXYZ reports.

Andrea Sahouri covers criminal justice for the Detroit Free Press. She can be contacted at 313-264-0442,asahouri@freepress.com or on Twitter @andreamsahouri

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit police board denies cop's suspension in Ki'Azia Miller killing


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