Two Detroit police officers assigned to a burglary task force have been charged with home invasion and misconduct in office after they allegedly kicked in the door of a house on the city’s west side without a search warrant and arrested the homeowner.
Officer Bradley Clark and Sgt. Paul Glaza were charged Friday in 36th District Court with second-degree home invasion, misconduct in office, malicious destruction of property under $200, and entering without a homeowner’s permission in connection with the alleged incident Jan. 22.
“It is alleged that (the officers) were part of the burglary task force, and entered a home without a search warrant at 22550 block of Pembroke,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement. “They also did not have an arrest warrant for the person they were searching for, who was not in the house. They instead detained and arrested the homeowner.”
The homeowner, 28-year-old Tashar Cornelius, said he’s considering filing a lawsuit against the city.
“A couple cops came to the house looking for a suspect,” Cornelius said. “I told them the man they were looking for wasn’t here, but they refused to listen to what I was saying. They wanted to come in my house, and I told them ‘without a search warrant, you have no right to be here.’
“I guess that teed them off,” he said. “I shut the door on them, but they didn’t leave my property. They seemed convinced their suspect was here. So they kicked in the door and came in with their weapons drawn. Then they put me in handcuffs and searched the property.”
Cornelius said the officers told him a Taser he had in the house was illegal, so they arrested him and drove him to the Mound Correctional Facility on the city’s east side.
“I spent 36 hours at Mound,” he said. “My lawyer assured me there were no charges against me. Finally they just released me and I walked out of there.
“They violated my constitutional rights,” Cornelius said. “I have to stand up against that.”
Neither officer has an attorney listed on the Wayne County Circuit Court website, and efforts to reach out to them for comment Monday were unsuccessful.
Detroit Police Lt. LaShanna Potts said: “The officers are under investigation and have been suspended.”
Per the City Charter, Detroit officers accused of wrongdoing are suspended with pay, and the police chief or his representative must petition the Board of Police Commissioners to withhold salary. It was unclear whether or when Chief James Craig, who was out of town Monday, would ask the board to withhold pay from Clark and Glaza.
Both officers were given bail of $5,000, 10 percent payable.
Clark was one of 15 Detroit police officers honored in 2012 by former President Barack Obama with the National Association of Police Organizations Top Cops awards.
The Detroit contingent was honored for confronting a man who entered the former Northwestern District headquarters with a shotgun on Jan. 23, 2011, and opened fire, wounding four officers before police fatally shot the suspect.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Friday before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston of 36th District Court. A preliminary examination for the two officers is scheduled for Oct. 18.
If convicted, the officers could face up to 15 years in prison.