Police accused of excessive force in small crime

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A dispute over a stolen phone charger has led to allegations of excessive force and a possible trial that could be costly to a small southwestern Michigan city.

A federal appeals court on Friday says a jury should decide whether two Sturgis officers violated the rights of a young man and his mother when they visited their home in search of a charger worth $14.99.

The officers had no warrant to enter the home in May 2010. Charles Smith says his head was slammed against a wall while he was arrested. The appeals court says investigating a small shoplifting offense wouldn't seem to justify such force.

And the missing phone charger? The case was closed with Smith's guilty plea to a lesser misdemeanor, disturbing the peace.

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