A former Michigan State Trooper is suing her former department for racial discrimination and allegations of police brutality.
First Lt. Twana Powell, a retired Michigan State Trooper, recently filed a massive whistleblower lawsuit that sheds light on her former department’s history of racial discrimination and police brutality. Powell retired from her job working in the internal affairs division for the Michigan State Police last year but has since been sounding the alarm on the department’s questionable behavior.
According to her suit, the 25-year veteran said “MSP suffers from a pattern of discrimination against both citizens and agency employees.” The suit is expected to go to trial sometime next year in Ingham County Circuit Court. She added that a big reason she filed the suit was because when she wanted “prosecutors to review the arrest for unlawful excessive force, a high-level supervisor 86-ed her request.” However, many members of the State Police denied her claim.
The incident in question involved a 2017 violent traffic stop that resulted in the “brutalization of a black motorist — who is disabled — by a police officer, who is white.” According to Powell, the incident involved a “state trooper pulling a suspected drunken driver, Jason Spicer, from his vehicle and slamming him facedown to the ground.” The entire incident was caught on dashcam video. Powell’s suit also notes that the trooper, Mark Carroll, “used excessive force and mentions how he face-planted the suspect onto the pavement.”
In addition to drawing attention to that particular arrest, Powell also alleges in her suit that she was “referred to as ‘a black bitch’ by an employee under investigation for workplace harassment” and argues the “trooper’s actions were discriminatory and potentially criminal.”
Prior to retiring, Powell spent much of her career investigating members of law enforcement, including cops. She also investigated mayors, judges, and “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.” She also investigated the “assault case against ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick” and allegedly aspired to be the first female, African-American State Police captain, but the constant “discriminatory treatment and retaliatory actions” she faced motivated her to retire before achieving her dream. Before retiring, Powell claims she made her complaints about the race and sex discrimination and hostile work environment known both verbally and in writing, but nothing was done about it.
When responding to the suit, State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said:
“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.”