- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - A woman wrongly jailed for five days after breaking her leg in a struggle with officers in her kitchen will get another chance to sue a suburban Detroit police department over the case of mistaken identity.

An appeals court revived Mary Jane Gross’ lawsuit against Dearborn Heights Tuesday, about 20 months after a federal judge ruled in the city’s favor and dismissed the case.

Gross said her civil rights were violated in 2012 when police said she was wanted for drug trafficking in Kentucky. She insisted they had the wrong person but officers didn’t back down.

Gross, now 69, was held for days in jail until Kentucky acknowledged it had made a mistake: Authorities wanted her sister, Margaret.

“It was a very rough experience,” Gross’ attorney, Thomas Kuhn, said Wednesday. “She was pretty much disabled for a number of months because of her leg injury and back injury.”

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts ruled in favor of Dearborn Heights and dismissed the lawsuit in 2014. On many key points, she said the officers’ version of what happened during the arrest appeared to be more credible.

“Mrs. Gross did not passively comply; she resisted arrest by holding on to the sink,” the judge said. “The officers’ actions were reasonable to arrest a resisting felony suspect.”

But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, noting audio and video of the arrest, suggested it’s not a close call.

Video offers “little or nothing to refute Mary Gross’ account of how she was injured and how serious the injury was, and the audiotape does more to muddle than to clarify what happened at the time of her arrest,” a three-judge panel said.

The lawsuit now will go to trial or be settled. An email seeking comment from Dearborn Heights’ attorney was not immediately returned.


Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteap

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide