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Battle Creek Officers Amend Lawsuit Against City, Adding ‘Excessive Force’ Investigation

BATTLE CREEK, Mich (April 24, 2014) – Two high-ranking officers with the Battle Creek Police Department have amended a lawsuit filed against the city, adding details pertaining to an ‘excessive force’ investigation from 2012 that recently went public.

jim saylor

Deputy Chief Jim Saylor

Both Inspector Maria Alonso and Deputy Police Chief Jim Saylor were suspended and placed on leave in early March after allegations surfaced that an alleged personal relationship between the two may have created a hostile work environment, having a negative impact on the department and it’s personnel.

Shortly after their suspension, Alonso and Saylor filed a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging the city “orchestrated a media event…” that “…painted a false and defamatory image of Alonso and Saylor.”

The initial suit filed early this month details an alleged internal feud within the department, involving Mayor David Walters and his son, Battle Creek Police Officer Derek Walters.

The lawsuit details a domestic dispute investigation by the department in 2013, alleging Officer Walters lied about the severity of an investigation by the department, which followed with Alonso and Saylor recommending he be fired for his actions.  The lawsuit alleges the City attorney became involved and advocated for a suspension for Walters in lieu of termination.

The lawsuit also alleges prior knowledge within the department of Alonso and Saylor’s relationship, along with consent by then police chief Jackie Hampton provided Alonso did not report directly to Saylor.

officer hug surveillance body slam

Image from surveillance video of October 2012 incident

Adding to those allegations and others, the amended lawsuit filed this week now details claims pertaining to an “excessive force” investigation that surfaced publicly in mid-April involving Battle Creek Police Officer Christopher Hug, and a man that would later plead guilty to resisting and obstructing police, Kenneth Moye.

Related: ‘Excessive Force’ Investigation Could Change Police Policy

The incident between the two happened in October of 2012, and includes surveillance footage showing Officer Hug pick up Moye and slam him to the groundThe footage is now part of a Michigan State Police investigation.

The amended lawsuit filed this week alleges the city took steps to re-open the case that had been investigated by Alonso and closed in 2012, for the following reasons:

  • Create the false impression that the surveillance video of Officer Hug’s interactions with Moye had just surfaced. This was false. By making this false assertion about when the video surfaced, defendants wanted the public to believe that Alonso and Saylor had not secured the video as part of the investigation and therefore they had been negligent in their investigation.
  • Make it appear as though Moye had made a claim for compensation for injuries resulting from excessive force and that because of Alonso’s and Saylor’s negligent investigation, the taxpayers of Battle Creek had to compensate Moye because of the alleged botched investigation. In reality, Moye did not make a claim for compensation. Defendants approached Moye and offered him cash (which he accepted) for the sole purpose of creating a media story to further the City goal of creating the false impression that Alonso and Saylor had botched the Hug investigation and were incompetent.

The lawsuit also alleges that compensation for Moye was $31,000 in City funds that city officials paid Moye sometime in March or April of this year.

The lawsuit goes on to detail allegations Alonso and Saylor were denied due process concerning their suspension.  You can read the entire amended lawsuit by clicking here.

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