Michigan Attorney General brings charges in the case of a Black man who was fatally struck by an unmarked police car

The Michigan Department of Attorney General has filed charges against an officer who fatally struck a Black man with an unmarked police vehicle.

Michigan State Police Trooper Detective Sgt. Brian Keely is currently facing charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. These crimes carry severe penalties, with life imprisonment for the former and a maximum of 15 years in prison for the latter. The charges stem from an incident on April 17, where Keely was involved in a pursuit of Samuel Sterling, who had outstanding warrants, in the city of Kentwood.

According to a statement from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Detective Sergeant Keely’s actions on that day were deemed legally and grossly negligent. These actions resulted in a significant and avoidable risk of death or serious bodily harm.

According to a statement given to ABC News, Marc Curtis, Keely’s attorney, expressed that Keely, who has had a successful 25-year career in law enforcement, is deeply saddened by Sterling’s untimely death. Curtis also mentioned that Keely has been involved in numerous arrests throughout his career, all of which were carried out without any incidents.

According to the statement, the accident could have been prevented if Mr. Sterling had followed the commands of the Detectives. It emphasized that Mr. Sterling’s failure to comply not only endangered himself but also the citizens in the vicinity.

According to the police, Sterling, who is 25 years old, reportedly ran away when officers approached him at a gas station. Eventually, officers caught up with him at a parking lot near a Burger King, where an unmarked Michigan State Police car struck him. Sadly, Sterling passed away later that day while being treated at a hospital.

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Law enforcement officials released body camera footage on May 10, revealing the immediate response of officers as they rushed to assist Sterling after he was struck. In the footage, Sterling can be heard moaning in pain and asserting that he did not possess a firearm. The video also shows an unmarked police vehicle parked on the curb in front of Sterling, in close proximity to the restaurant.

“These charges should act as a strong reminder to law enforcement that their actions carry consequences. It is all too common that these actions result in the loss of another life,” stated civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Sterling’s family. He further added, “With every ounce of justice served, we take a step closer to fair and unbiased policing, striving for a world where tragic incidents like the one that took Samuel’s life become fewer.”

Attorney Ven Johnson, who is representing Sterling’s family, expressed shock and outrage at the actions of the MSP trooper. In a statement provided to ABC News, Johnson stated, “We were stunned and appalled to witness the deliberate act of the trooper driving over a curb, onto a sidewalk, and violently taking Samuel’s life by striking him with an unmarked police car.” The attorney emphasized the gravity of the situation and the devastating consequences of the trooper’s actions.

Johnson emphasized the importance of preventing individuals from assuming the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. He expressed his concern over the frequency of deaths resulting from police brutality and excessive force.

In the body camera footage, officers can be observed placing handcuffs on Sterling while instructing the firefighters who arrived at the scene to keep the handcuffs on him.

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The footage was released by three agencies involved in the fugitive task force, namely the Michigan State Police, Grand Rapids Police Department, and the City of Wyoming Police Department. It consists of footage from four different sources, including body camera footage from three officers and a dash camera from a police vehicle. According to the Michigan State Police, these agencies were responsible for the release of the footage.

Michigan State Police stated that Keeley was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle did not have a dash camera “due to his assignment on a federal task force.”

The incident led to an investigation by the Michigan State Police, who then proceeded to suspend Keely without pay.

Curtis expressed his disappointment in Michigan’s Attorney General for disregarding the facts of the incident and relying on political pressure during this era of political correctness.

According to Nessel, it is crucial for the attorney general’s office to conduct a prompt review, considering the impact it has on Sterling’s family, the greater Grand Rapids region, and the law enforcement community.

In her statement announcing the charges, Nessel emphasized the importance of public integrity to her Department. She stated, “We are dedicated to conducting a comprehensive and fair review of every case that comes before us, ensuring a thorough and just resolution.”

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