Former Hamtramck, Michigan police officer Ryan McInerney entered a guilty plea in federal court Friday after hitting a citizen in the face with his service weapon during a 2014 traffic stop.

McInerney admitted to initiating a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by an individual, identified by the initials D.M. in court documents. When D.M. stopped the car and rolled down their window, McInerney asked D.M. to raise their hands. When D.M. complied, McInerney struck D.M. in the face with the butt of his pistol through the open window of the vehicle door.

According to the grand jury indictment documents filed against McInerny in 2018, McInerney’s attack caused D.M. to suffer “broken bones, lacerations requiring stitches, bleeding, bruising, swelling and pain.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, McInerney’s actions against D.M. were excessive as D.M. exhibited no threat against McInerney.

“Police officers take an oath to protect, serve, and uphold the law. When an officer betrays that oath by violating a person’s civil rights, the FBI will make it a priority to hold the officer accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan Timothy Waters in a Friday statement. “Ryan McInerney’s actions were a betrayal of the trust his community placed in him and are not reflective of the honorable way in which the men and women of the Hamtramck Police Department work to keep their community safe.”

michigan police officer guilty excessive force
Ryan McInerney, a former Michigan police officer, pleaded Friday to an unprovoked assault on an individual during a 2014 traffic stop.

McInerney also admitted to attempting to cover up the pistol-whipping by crafting a false narrative concerning the incident in an attempt to prevent the Hamtramck Police Department from investigating.

On the same evening as the attack on D.M., McInerney also pistol-whipped an individual identified in court documents as J.M. during an arrest attempt. McInerney’s attack on J.M., which broke several of J.M.’s teeth, was also found to be unjustified.

“Most police officers honorably serve and uphold their mission to protect the citizens of Michigan, but this is a rare example of an officer who has fallen far below his duty,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan in a Friday statement. “Officer McInerney abused the power of his badge by violating the civil rights of two Michigan citizens, and for that he deserves federal prison time.”

McInerney pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Michigan on charges of using excessive force against a civilian arrestee and the violation of the arrestee’s civil rights. Sentencing for McInerney has been set for April. Should the court accept the plea agreement, McInerney will face a sentence of up to 36 months in prison.

Newsweek reached out to the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice for comment.


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