Former De La Salle footballer sues Warren police for hazing – Macomb Daily

One of seven De La Salle students charged in connection with the hazing of a football team in 2019 accuses Warren police and five of its officers of conducting an inane investigation that included racial bias and resulted in a false accusation against him.

Cleveland Harville, 19, filed the lawsuit in US District Court in Detroit on Tuesday.

Harville, through his attorney, Todd Perkins, said in the lawsuit that Warren police knew the witness complaining against him had made “inconsistent, contradictory, unsubstantiated” and “implausible” statements about of the incident allegedly involving Harville and charged him anyway.

Hazing incidents are said to be a tradition of the De La Salle Collegiate football team and involved touching students with brooms on their clothes in school locker rooms after team dinners.

Harville says he was charged with assault and battery, although police know he “committed no crime and the requisite probable cause did not and could not exist”.


Witness Complainant against Harville initially did not accuse him, but in a second interview with police accused him of putting Complainant “into a reverse headlock” while several other unidentified teammates assaulted with a broomstick on September 5, 2019. The accuser said he initially lied because “he was embarrassed and afraid” to tell his parents, according to the lawsuit.

But Harville says that not only is the accuser’s statement inconsistent and not credible, Harville could not have committed the alleged Sept. 5 act because he was not enrolled in Warren School or the football team at that time.

No one else identified Harville as a participant, according to the lawsuit.

Harville, who is black, also notes that Warren police only charged “black or brown” players, although at least one white player was involved in the Sept. 5 incident of alleged hazing that Harville was accused. A second alleged incident that did not involve Harville took place on September 19, the complaint states.

“(The police) were inclined and predisposed to treat black and brown people in the same situation as white people differently and did so with the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states. “An independent, third-party investigation found no players responsible and suggested the action taken against black and brown players had racial implications and nuances.”

He says that before the incident he had received interests from colleges for an athletic scholarship, but these dissipated after he was charged and his name was made public.

“I feel like what happened has definitely changed my future forever in a negative way,” Harville told WJBK-TV (Fox 2). “And once the cases came out, it was completely ghost. No answers no nothing.

“My face was on TV, my family saw it, my friends saw it. And just because the charges were dropped doesn’t mean they’re going to start looking at me differently.

Seven football players were charged in February 2020 with assault and battery in connection with incidents that took place during the 2019 football season. state, which De La Salle lost due to the revelations.

The allegations sparked a months-long controversy that saw the football coach fired, parent meetings and later the school president and other administrators replaced.

“The hazing allegations were widely reported and embarrassed Warren De La Salle, the players allegedly involved and their families,” the lawsuit states.

Five of the players were considered adults, over the age of 17 at the time, and their names have been made public. The cases of the two minor defendants were not public.

Charges against six of the seven defendants were dropped on condition that they write essays articulating their goals and how they will become productive citizens, take an anti-bullying course and graduate or remain in good standing in De La Room. The charge against a defendant was dismissed after he denied participating in the hazing and took a polygraph test.

The arraignment portion of the case was handled by St. Clair County District Attorney Mike Wendling after Macomb County District Attorney Eric Smith recused his office because one of the complaining witnesses was the son of an assistant district attorney for Macomb.

Wendling denied the arrest warrants for the teens, but eventually cleared the misdemeanors. The lawsuit alleges the lead detective continued to investigate after Wendling denied the crimes. Police interviewed about 60 people as part of the investigation, according to the lawsuit.

The parents of three of the former players who were suspended from school sued the school in December 2019, claiming their children were being used as pawns by authorities, and it appears race was a factor in their suspensions .

This legal action was dismissed the following month after the pupils were allowed to return to school. But their lawyer, Paul Addis, said on Wednesday that the lawsuit had been relaunched. Judge Kathryn Viiviano is considering the school’s request to dismiss the case.

An earlier lawsuit was filed against the school by Harville and Galiko Lovelace in Macomb Circuit Court. This case was dismissed about two weeks ago. Plaintiffs’ attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

Harville’s federal lawsuit alleges false arrest and malicious prosecution, improper officer policy or training, officer negligence, and violation of Harville’s right to equal protection.

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