Michigan cop pleads guilty in federal court to pistol-whipping two civilians in 2014

Former Hamtramck, Mich., police officer Ryan McInerney, 44, who pistol-whipped two people in 2014, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday to a civil rights charge of the use of excessive force against a civilian arrestee. 

At his plea hearing, McInerney admitted that on June 22, 2014, he initiated a traffic stop, approached the car on the driver’s side, ordered the driver, known only in court documents as D.M., to put his hands up, which he did. 

“Regardless, and without justification, the defendant pistol whipped D.M. several times in the face, using his service firearm, through the open window of D.M.’s car door,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. “D.M. did not present a danger to the defendant, and there was no lawful reason for the pistol-whipping. The strikes caused D.M. to suffer broken facial bones, among other injuries.” 

In addition, “The defendant further admitted that he intentionally memorialized a false account of this incident in an official HPD use of force form in order to cover up his excessive use of force against D.M. and to impede any further investigation of this incident. The defendant also admitted that, later that same night during a different arrest, he pistol-whipped a second civilian, identified as J.M., also without justification, breaking J.M.’s teeth.”

“Officers are supposed to serve as role model for upholding the law,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Eric Dreiband. “It is disheartening to hear of a police officer taking such actions. The Justice Department works hard to ensure that officers who take the law into their own hands see their day in court.”

McInerney is scheduled to be sentenced in April. If the court accepts the plea agreement, he faces a maximum sentence of 36 months in prison.

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