A former Warren police officer has been charged in federal court with violating a prisoner’s civil rights.
Prosecutors accuse Matthew Rodriguez of using excessive force while booking a suspect into jail last month. Rodriguez faces a 10-year felony.
He is seen on video attacking Jaqwuan Smith and slamming his head to the floor. Two other officers intervened and later reported the incident. Rodriguez was fired shortly after the footage was made public.
U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison says that kind of action is unacceptable by officers.
“It not only just damages our ability to have trust in the community, but it also damages the reputations of the vast majority of officers who are doing their jobs right,” Ison stated at a press conference. “Those who violate this oath and the Constitution will be with any other violent crime — be it civilian or the police aggressive in our prosecution of these cases.”
Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido says any use of excessive force by police is a violation of the public’s trust.
“We’re gonna remind everyone that the protection of our civil rights and civil liberties are the cornerstone of our democracy, and I appreciate the fact that a U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District has taken great strides in protecting and preserving those liberties,” Lucido said.
Smith has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the City of Warren. He still faces multiple charges related to an attempted carjacking, including resisting arrest and armed robbery.