Blow the Whistle: Black Woman State Trooper Files Explosive Discrimination Lawsuit in Michigan, Exposing Police Brutality

A video obtained by the Detroit Free Press shows white state troopers slamming a black motorist with a disability onto the pavement
A video obtained by the Detroit Free Press shows white state troopers slamming a black motorist with a disability onto the pavement
Image: YouTube

A now-retired Michigan State Trooper is a whistleblower in an explosive lawsuit that reveals a history of racial discrimination and police brutality in her department.

Advertisement

First Lt. Twana Powell, who led the internal affairs division for the Michigan State Police, exited her job last year—but she isn’t going quietly.

“MSP suffers from a pattern of discrimination against both citizens and agency employees,” said the 25 year veteran of the agency, in the lawsuit scheduled for trial next year in Ingham County Circuit Court, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Advertisement

Powell said she wanted prosecutors to review the arrest for unlawful excessive force but a high-level supervisor 86-ed her request.

As can be expected, State Police, notably overtly white and male, have denied the claim.

At the center of the lawsuit is a 2017 violent traffic stop that turned into the brutalization of a black motoristwho is disabledby a police officer, who is white.

December 2017 mugshot of Jason Spicer, the disabled motorist who Michigan State Troopers brutalized during traffic stop.
December 2017 mugshot of Jason Spicer, the disabled motorist who Michigan State Troopers brutalized during traffic stop.
Photo: Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via FOIA (Detroit Free Press)
Advertisement

The incidentwhich involved a state trooper pulling a suspected drunken driver Jason Spicer from his vehicle and slamming him facedown to the groundcaught on dashcam video and obtained by the Free Press through the Freedom of Information Act. The litigation noted that the trooper Mark Carroll used excessive force and noted how he was “face-planting” the suspect onto the pavement.

Powell, who claims she was also referred to as “a black bitch” by an employee under investigation for workplace harassment, said the trooper’s actions were “discriminatory and potentially criminal.”

Advertisement

Powell spent her career investigating cops, judges, mayors, even the head of her own agency—who posted a meme on social media disparaging athletes who protest during the national anthem—which led to five days of docked pay.

Another high-profile case she worked on was an assault case against ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Advertisement

Powell aspired to be the first black female state police captain but retired last year after experiencing “unrelenting discriminatory treatment and retaliatory actions.”

She alleges that she complained verbally and in writing about race and sex discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Advertisement

If the case goes to trial, a bigger light will be shone on the culture and practices of the Michigan State Police.

State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner told the Free Press: “The department will not litigate this civil lawsuit in the press. The details portrayed in the lawsuit are merely the allegations of the plaintiff, and the defendants look forward to the opportunity to respond in court with the facts surrounding these incidents.”

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

banacek
Old white guy

I just can’t understand anyone who says the police ‘deserve’ our respect, when this is the usual for police departments and their personnel. You don’t ‘deserve’ respect because you took a job and wear a uniform. You deserve respect because you earn it. And few do anything to ever earn that respect. Most are a bunch of thugs and bullies who act superior to anyone and everyone, use the power of their position to re-inforce their beliefs, and believe (and act) as if they are above the law (which, for the most part, they are, because our leaders let them be).

It still amazes me that we, the people in this damn country, don’t start holding the police to be accountable for their actions. Allowing them to police themselves is like having William Barr decide that trump did nothing wrong, ever, and so ignore it.

But I guess that’s what happens when you let white men be the ones in charge, as they aren’t the ones who are affected by their insane actions.