On April 8, U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox signed an order dismissing the law suit brought by Ahmad Kasham of Ypsilanti, against the Van Buren Township Police Department, the township, and four officers.
The dismissal was “with prejudice,” which means a case is dismissed for good reason and the plaintiff is barred from bringing an action on the same claim.
Kasham’s attorneys of record are J. Geoffrey Lahn and David A. Shand of Saline, who could not be reached by the Independent in time for this report to learn if they will be appealing Judge Cox’s order.
Kasham was arrested by VBT Police on July 10, 2009 for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Upon his arrest, a female officer conducted a pat-down search of Kasham and Kasham sued, stating he was a Muslim man and she should not have touched, or even looked at him, between his knees and waist by a woman.
In his deposition, Kasham said the arrest in front of his friends, who were in the car with him after leaving Diamondback Saloon, made him look like a bad guy, “… and instead of leaving with a good impression with these friends of mine, they just looked at me like I’m this big retard that just got in trouble…”
He filed suit on May 25, 2010 naming as defendants Van Buren Township Police Department, Van Buren Township, Officer Jessica Shippe, Officer Michael Papin, and two unnamed officers.
He claimed the other police officers laughed at him while he was being patted down by Officer Shippe which humiliated him further.
Following the close of discovery on Dec. 27, 2010, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Because Kasham’s attorneys did not file a response to the motion within the required time, the Court ordered him to show cause why the unopposed motion should not be granted.
In response to that order, Kasham’s counsel filed a brief on March 18 and on April 8 Judge Cox dismissed the case. The trial had been scheduled to begin in September or October.
There was no monetary settlement and the judge ended the suit with his order.
Ethan Vinson of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho represented the defendants.
The patrol car was equipped with a camera that recorded most of the traffic stop and the defendants submitted the video recording as an exhibit in support of their successful motion to dismiss.
Last June, after the Independent filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the dash-cam tape of the arrest, the newspaper was denied by Clerk Leon Wright because, he wrote, the tapes are “personal and confidential” and exempt from disclosure.
The appeal to Supervisor Paul White” also was denied, based on advice from township attorney Stephen J. Hitchcock who stated, in part, “We are of the opinion that there is very little benefit to the public by disclosure of this video. The individual who is the subject of the stop has already expressed concern about embarrassment and humiliation over events that occurred during this stop and certainly considers the actions to be personal and confidential, particularly in light of the fact that there was no subsequent conviction on the matter for which the arrest occurred.
“While the arrest was made on a public road, it was in the evening and no one could see or identify the individual who was the subject of the arrest. The fact that public equipment was used or public employees were involved does not waive the personal nature of the event …”
The Independent had already obtained a copy of some of the still photos from the federal court files but it was not as clear as the original tape would have been for reproduction. Eventually, the township submitted the whole tape as part of the evidence, which then put it all in the public domain.