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Homeless Michigan Man Nets $20,000 for Outrage Claim Stemming from Pepper Spray Arrest

A federal jury in Michigan awarded a mentally ill homeless man $20,000 for outrage claims involving two Mt. Clemens police officers pepper spraying him during an arrest.

The arrest occurred on June 27, 2002, after Officers Michal Kenel and Michael Patrick were called to a car wash because a man was acting strangely by holding the brushes. When the officers arrived at the car wash, they could not locate a suspect. A short drive towards the St. Louis Parish Church found Ogbanna on the church’s steps waiting for it to open.

Kenel and Patrick then accosted Ogbanna, arresting him aggressively. Despite not resisting, Ogbanna was pepper sprayed by the officers, who say Ogbanna became violent when they attempted to pat search him. Once placed in cuffs, he was shoved in a police car and dragged into the jail. When Ogbanna passed out, his clothes were taken. Later, he was transferred to a mental health facility.

The jury’s August 1, 2005 verdict found for the officers on Ogbanna’s assault and false imprisonment claims, but awarded him $10,000 against each officer on his outrage claim. Ogbanna was represented by Detroit attorneys Benjamin Whitfield, Jr. and Austin Agomvoh. See: Ogbanna v. City of Mt. Clemens, USDC, E.D. Mich., No. 2:02-73702.

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Related legal case

Ogbanna v. City of Mt. Clemens

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