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Monday, July 28, 2014


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Student sues police for alleged coercion






Socha is suing East Lansing police for allegedly coercing him and his friend into committing a crime and later arresting him.

According to court documents, Socha and his friend left the house of another friend at about 4 a.m. following the game.

Officers Anthony Fuller and Jeffrey Thomas allegedly demanded that the two contact one of the owners of the house, whom officers wanted to evict.

One officer, who was unidentified in court documents, allegedly said “these guys are going to be sorry. I hate these guys.”

Eventually the officers ordered the two to sweep glass from the street into a nearby parking lot .

The officers told the two they would go to jail if they did not complete the task, threatening to arrest the two on charges of prowling and trespassing.

Socha and his friend were eventually allowed to leave until his friend noticed he was missing money from his pocket. The two returned to the scene, where Socha was arrested for disorderly and public urination .

He was found not guilty of the charges in 2011.

The lawsuit is not the only recent case involving East Lansing police.

The department settled an unnecessary force complaint from May 2013 for $35,000 .

East Lansing police has reopened their investigation of the case. East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy said both officers implicated in the case are still employed by the department. He declined to comment further on the incident.

Racine Michelle Miller, Socha’s lawyer, said she does not believe the officers will lose their jobs.

“The majority of my practice involves suing police officers, and the first thing I tell my clients is they will not lose their jobs,” she said. “What I hope comes of this is the officers become better trained in constitutional law.”

East Lansing City Attorney Thomas Yeadon  declined to comment.

A settlement conference is scheduled for March 27 .


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