A Detroit police sergeant, who has had over 80 civilian complaints filed against him since 2009 and has also cost the city $830,000 in lawsuit settlements, has been taken off patrol duty pending a probe, the city’s interim chief said.
The removal of Sergeant Stephen Kue from patrol duty last month came after a 7 Action News investigation that revealed several civilian complaints had been made against the police officer. Among the allegations leveled against the 12-year veteran included harassing people of color, using disrespectful and racist language, and using or threatening to apply excessive force. Internal records also revealed that the majority of the people who filed the complaints and stated their race were people of color.
And besides that, court documents revealed Kue was among the department’s most sued police officers. Kue’s department was initially unaware of the lawsuits that had been filed against him as that information wasn’t added to his internal department officer profile. The department said it is looking into why that was not done.
“He seems to be a frequent flyer,” Dave Robinson, an attorney who has sued Kue on a number of occasions, told the news outlet. Kue, who was listed as one of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) defendants in the lawsuits, faced a number of allegations including assault and battery, deprivation of civil rights and gross negligence.
“He’s a gangster with a badge,” Quory Collins, a resident who accused Kue of threatening to shoot him, said. Collins said Kue and his partner had approached and frisked him despite objecting to it because he had done nothing wrong. No contraband was found on Collins during the search.
“I never had no police threaten my life,” Collins, who filed a complaint in the aftermath of the incident, said. “He threatened my life.”
In 2014, the city spent $87,500 in taxpayer funds to settle a lawsuit after Kue and his colleagues were accused of raiding a wrong residential address and roughing up the owner of the home. About two years later, the city settled another wrongful arrest lawsuit involving Kue and some other officers. The city again reached a $130,000 settlement in a separate lawsuit after Kue and other officers were accused of misconduct when they pointed their guns at a family and also handcuffed them while conducting a raid in their neighborhood.
“What I’m challenging our executive team to look at is a pattern and practice of conduct regardless of the outcome of an individual case,” Interim Detroit Police Chief James E. White said during a press conference to announce the investigations on July 23,” 7 Action News reported.
“It’s anyone, not just Sgt. Kue, with that number of cases, that number of complaints along the same lines … are they capable of having a job as important as one in the Detroit Police Department? Wearing this badge is not a right, it’s a privilege and you have to conduct yourself in a manner that supports that privilege.”