DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Two Dearborn-based law firms have filed a complaint on behalf of two Dearborn Heights residents in the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Michigan against the cities of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights and their police departments.
The federal lawsuit alleges persistent and “serious” civil rights violations and abuse of police authority in regards to the Dearborn Heights department along with accusations of a conspiracy to conduct and operate a “commercial enterprise” through the issuing of traffic tickets to generate municipal revenue under cover of state law.
Nemer Hadous, a lead attorney in the case, said that Dearborn also was named because they were complicit with the alleged incident that precipitated the lawsuit, although the suit said their officers did not participate in the alleged abuse.
A couple from Dearborn Heights, Mahmoud and Zihra Saad (Mr. and Mrs. Saad), ages 86 and 78, respectively, are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which stems from the aforementioned incident that allegedly occurred on or about March 10, 2010 at the couple’s home asserting numerous state and federal constitutional claims. The lawsuit was filed through the Hadous Co and Puckett & Faraj firms.
The events of the alleged incident are described in the official complaint, stating that Zihra Saad was held at gunpoint on her front porch in an attempt by a member of the Dearborn Heights police to coerce her into giving them permission to enter her home in order to search for her 61-year-old son Joseph. Joseph Saad had allegedly told the officer who had parked behind his car that he was going inside to retrieve his wallet and driver’s license from inside the home and police allegedly threatened to shoot him if he were to go through the front door. Saad, who suffers from diabetes and hypertension, allegedly panicked and ran through the door screaming “The police are going to shoot me!”
Police officers from Dearborn and Dearborn Heights allegedly cordoned off the street the Saads live on. Dearborn Heights police allegedly surrounded the Saad’s home with guns and police dogs before entering without consent and without a search warrant along with police dogs.
Mahmoud Saad, who suffers from a heart arrhythmia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, was being cared for by his wife at the time of the alleged forced entry, which the lawsuit says caused her to fear greatly for his safety after she went to check on Joseph Saad.
Joseph Saad was also allegedly later dragged and pushed out of his parents’ home after seeking shelter from the police dogs in the basement and later kicked repeatedly by police officers before being taken away in a police cruiser. Additionally, the suit claims that Mahmoud and Zihra Saad were terrorized by the events emotionally and have not recovered.
The suit alleges the incident was precipitated by the failure of Joseph Saad to come to a complete stop at a stop sign less than 100 feet from their home, which the suit also claimed was the product of an ongoing conspiracy to generate money as part of the commercial enterprise allegation.
In regards to those allegations, the lawsuit alleges that the city of Dearborn Heights artificially sets its speed limits too low and/or has failed to conduct studies on proper speed limits mandated by Michigan Public Act 85 of 2006 while also creating an atmosphere under which officers are pressured into writing more tickets than necessary in order to create more revenue for the department.
The Plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief to compel the Dearborn Heights Police Department to conform its policies and practices to serving and protecting the public in a way that is consistent with the department’s stated mission and monetary damages to compensate them for the mental distress and also physical injuries in regards to Joseph Saad they say were suffered at the hands of Dearborn Heights police officers. Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko and Police Chief Lee Gavin said they were unable to comment on the litigation through a spokesperson. Dearborn officials were not aware of the case accordin to Mary Landroche, director of the city’s department of public informationand unable to comment as of press time.