Family of man who died after being punched by Detroit police officer files federal lawsuit

DETROIT (AP) — The family of a 70-year-old man who died after a Detroit police officer punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground, is suing the former officer and the city of Detroit, seeking $50 million for alleged civil rights violations.

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of Daryl Vance’s family names former Detroit police officer Juwan Brown, the city of Detroit and Detroit Police Sgt. Jarmiare McEntire as defendants, The Detroit News reported.

Prosecutors who charged Brown last year in Vance’s death have said he punched the Detroit man during a confrontation following the officer’s response to a call of a disorderly person outside a bowling alley on Sept. 1, 2023. Vance fell to the ground, hit his head and died in a hospital three weeks later.

Prosecutors said the Wayne County medical examiner’s office determined that Vance’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to his head from the punch.

“Police brutality has no place in our society. What former Officer Brown did to Mr. Vance was nothing short of reckless and malicious police brutality,” James Harrington, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement.

Brown was later fired from the Detroit Police Department, his attorney has said.

The lawsuit alleges McEntire violated Vance’s civil rights the day after the assault “by conducting an illegal, warrantless search of his 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 complaint seeks $50 million in damages for alleged civil rights violations.

Detroit Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett declined to comment, citing the city’s policy of not discussing ongoing litigation.

A message seeking comment from Brown’s attorney, Steve Fishman, was left Friday afternoon by The Associated Press.

In connection with Vance’s death, Brown, 29, was charged in December 2023 with manslaughter, but a judge dismissed the charges in January, cited insufficient evidence during a preliminary hearing.

Wayne County prosecutors appealed the judge’s ruling on Feb. 2.

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