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Michigan Family Sues Detroit Police Department After Officer Strikes, Kills 70-Year-Old Man

— February 29, 2024

An attorney for the family of the late Daryl Vance suggested that the defendant, former Detroit Police Officer Juwan Brown, intentionally put away his taser before deciding that he was “gonna smoke this guy in the side of the head.” Before Vance passed away several weeks later, other Detroit police officers allegedly conducted an unlawful search of the 70-year-old man’s home.

A Michigan family has filed a lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department, claiming that a former officer killed a 70-year-old man by punching him in the head.

According to The Detroit News, the lawsuit was announced Thursday by the Southfield-based law firm Fieger Law. It was filed on behalf of the family of the late Daryl Vance, who was confronted and allegedly brutalized by officers on September 1st, dying several weeks after the incident.

The complaint names defendants including the City of Detroit, former Detroit Police Officer Juwan Brown, and Detroit Police Sgt. Jarmiare McEntire.

“Police brutality has no place in our society,” said James Harrington, vice president and managing partner at Fieger Law. “What former Officer Brown did to Mr. Vance was nothing short of reckless and malicious police brutality.”

Harrington noted that body-camera footage appears to show Brown “escalating the situation” with Vance.

“Officer Brown is clearly seen on video escalating the situation with Mr. Vance and without any justification, punched Vance in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement,” Harrington said. “The fall caused irreparable and fatal brain damage.”

Detroit. Image via Public domain.

“[Brown] also failed to provide any basic first aid when Vance laid on the ground not breathing,” Harrington added.

Although the Detroit Police Department had previously said that Vance instigated the confrontation, purportedly striking Brown first, Harrington indicated that the situation could have been resolved very differently.

“It doesn’t matter what happened before. He punched him in the face,” Harrington said. “He acted like a schoolyard bully, pulled out a taser, decided he wasn’t gonna do that, and then he says to himself, ‘I’m just gonna smoke this guy in the side of the head,’ knocks him down, and he dies,” Harrington said.

Brown, adds The Detroit News, was charged with manslaughter in connection with Brown’s death. However, a Michigan district court judge recently determined that there is insufficient evidence to escalate the case to trial.

Wayne County prosecutors, though, have said they plan to appeal any decision preventing them from escalating their criminal complaint against Brown.

Aside from police brutality, the lawsuit further claims that Sgt. McEntire violated Vance’s civil rights “by conducting an illegal, warrantless search of [Vance’s] apartment on Sept. 2, 2023, under the guise of an investigation, where no exception to the warrant requirement to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution existed.”

The family is seeking an estimated $50 million in damages.


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