People want answers about Plymouth police shooting

Oct. 30, 2012  PLYMOUTH VOICE.


People are getting impatient. A police cover-up?


Its been over two weeks since the officer-involved fatal shooting in Plymouth Township and no information has been released by any of the three police agencies involved, city, township or state.

We believe this is extraordinary.

We’d just like to know why a police officer killed an unnamed and unarmed 27-year-old man, and have some answers about his use of lethal force versus other options.

And, we’d like to know why, in a small community like Plymouth and Plymouth Township, where violent crime and police shootings are rare, the public is being kept in the dark.

It appears, the longer the delay and blackout of information, the greater the suspicion of a cover up or some wrongdoing. That isn’t fair to anyone involved, the deceased’s family or the officer involved.

People are getting impatient and asking questions, and we think we know why.

Last Oct. 14, a yet to be unidentified male was shot and killed by a Plymouth city police officer following a disturbance call at a home in Plymouth Township. The only information we have was disclosed by individuals with no official knowledge of the incident, namely, the suspect, holding a tire iron, was shot once by the lone City of Plymouth policeman.

A carefully worded press release from Plymouth Police Chief Al Cox simply stated an on-duty officer was involved in a shooting and the incident is under investigation by the Michigan State Police.

Plymouth Township Police Chief Thomas Tiderington declined to comment citing the investigation by the state police.

A woman with an abrupt statement “There is no new information” rebuffed a telephone inquiry to the city police administration office.

The last shooting by a police officer in the Plymouth community occurred in July 2004 when a 35-year-old man was shot and killed by a township officer during a scuffle inside an Ann Arbor Road church day care center. Employees who called police said the man forced his way into the church building shortly after children arrived.

In that incident, Plymouth Township paid out $1.95 million when relatives of the man who was killed by the township police officer filed a $65 million lawsuit.  In that suit relatives claimed the officer was grossly negligent. They said the man was only coming into the church to pray, not to harm anyone.

The victim in the 2004 shooting, who was shot once in the chest died after two township officers tried to subdue him with nightsticks and a Taser.

After the shooting, Tiderington said he believed the officers acted appropriately.

It’s difficult to say how anyone would react if they were the lone police officer at the scene on Lilley Road last week confronting a man wielding a tire iron.

Serious questions remain. Did the situation escalate after the cop arrived? Was there a verbal exchange between the suspect and the officer? Did the officer try to subdue the man before firing the one fatal shot? Were there any witnesses? Was the officer’s life threatened?

We’d also like to know the whereabouts of the Plymouth Township officers when the call came in to the township police dispatch and why did the lone city cop not wait for back up? Why did a city officer respond to a township call?

We issued a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the 911 tapes, but were told they couldn’t be released until the state police investigation is complete.

We’re not sure if the city officers carry Tasers, like cops in the township, but it would seem to us lethal force would be last on the list of options with the Taser and nightstick being numbers one and two, or just more cop-power before taking on a man making a disturbance, brandishing tire-iron.








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