MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Detroit Cops Charged With Home Invasion Thanks to Body Cam Footage

This is how the system is supposed to work.

Ehrlif/Dreamstime.comEhrlif/Dreamstime.comTwo Detroit Police officers are facing home invasion charges after they allegedly stormed into a man's home without a warrant and hauled him off to jail.

The cops' alleged actions are horrifying, but their case is an example of the system working the way it should, or at least close to that, thanks to body cameras.

The home invasion occurred this past January, when Sgt. Paul Glaza and Officer Bradley Clark—both members of a burglary task force—knocked on 28-year-old Tashar Cornelius's door. "I was in my house making a sandwich and the police came to my house searching for a suspect" named "Mike," Cornelius told reporters, according to WJBK.

Cornelius is a convicted felon, but he wasn't who the cops were looking for. He told them there was no "Mike" in the house, but officers didn't change their minds. "They couldn't provide me with a valid search warrant. They didn't have my permission to enter my property," Cornelius said.

He closed the door on them. Then, "they kicked in the door and came in with their weapons drawn," he recalled, according to The Detroit News. "One handcuffed me right away and they ransacked the house," Cornelius added.

The officers had noticed a Taser lying on the table and allegedly used that to justify taking him to jail, where Cornelius said he was held for 36 hours. "My lawyer assured me there were no charges against me. Finally they just released me and I walked out of there," he said.

Cornelius said he plans to sue. But his claims might have been difficult to prove if the cops' alleged actions hadn't been caught on camera. Detroit Police Assistant Chief James White said at a press conference yesterday that the officers' supervisor conducted a random review of their body camera footage. That "random" review led to an internal affairs investigation.

The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. Last week, things got a whole lot worse for them. Per The Detroit News:

[Glaza and Clark] were charged Friday in 36th District Court with second-degree home invasion, misconduct in office, malicious destruction of property under $200, and entering without a homeowner's permission in connection with the alleged incident Jan. 22.

Both officers were released on bond.

A statement from Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller seems to corroborate Cornelius's recollection of how events transpired. The officers "entered a home without a search warrant," Miller said. She added: "They also did not have an arrest warrant for the person they were searching for, who was not in the house. They instead detained and arrested the homeowner."

This case highlights the importance of police body cameras. Yes, it took eight months for the officers to be charged, which is probably too long. But ultimately, the system worked: Two cops allegedly did a bad thing, and instead of getting off scot-free, they were caught.

Detroit Police Department policy requires all officers who regularly interact with the public to wear body cameras. Those cameras are supposed to improve transparency and keep the powerful accountable. It looks like that's exactly what happened here.

Photo Credit: Ehrlif/Dreamstime.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Not holding my breath on a conviction. Then it's reinstatement with back pay.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That's also the system working.

  • sarcasmic||

    If they're smart they'll request a bench trial.

  • Libertymike||

    If I am the judge, here is how it would go down:

    Guilty. I will now pronounce sentence: THE MAX, YOU MOTHER FUCKING PIGS.

  • sarcasmic||

    So you're saying that nobody would ever appoint you.

  • Libertymike||

    Nobody has to this point.

    Nevertheless, I could count on your support, right?

    Wouldn't you love to hear of, and read about, a LM type of judge who would not hesitate to toss out absolute judicial immunity, absolute prosecutorial immunity, qualified immunity, the balancing tests between the public interest and the individual liberty interest, the balancing tests between the government's interest in taking your property and your liberty interest in keeping your property, and public sector favoritism?

  • sarcasmic||

    Somehow I doubt such a judge would last very long before getting into a fatal accident, having kiddie porn found on their computer, or otherwise being removed from the bench.

  • Libertymike||

    Yeah, your point is one about which I have given much thought - how long would the guy last before he's off the bench, how would it happen, etc. Would they first try to bribe him? Obtain some kompramat? Would they go straight to the fatal accident? Abduct a family member?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Nobody has to this point."'

    So what can you tell us about any parties you went to 30 years ago?

  • Dillinger||

    Chapter 1: Warrants, what and why.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I get so many Planned Parenthood ads on this website. I appreciate the irony of them asking me to donate in honor of RBG's 25th anniversary as well. I wonder how effective that is on this website, I fear moreso than I would like.

  • NashTiger||

    Well, as progwoketarian a this place has become, you can still always count on some good ol' Libertarian cop-bashing articles. It's a relic of a bygone age.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Cop succors do not like illumination of police misconduct.

    Libertarians do.

    NashTiger is an authoritarian cop succor. And a clinger.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Libertymike||

    If one of the cops is black, are you okay with a white judge sentencing the black cop to the maximum permitted under the statute?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You have to really be confused to read his post as pro-police (prolice?)

  • Careless||

    no one ever claimed AK was a smart man

  • sarcasmic||

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I wonder how effective that is on this website

    Those dizzy broads, thinking this is a libertarian website instead of a backwoods meeting of Americans For Statist Womb Management and Sovereign Patriots For Big-Government Micromanagement Of Ladyparts Clinics.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I meant RBG moreso than Planned Parenthood. But the weird Public/Private collusion of Planned Parenthood is also probably eyebrow raising for many libertarians.

  • Alcibiades||

    Maybe Kavanaugh will get to weigh in here...

  • Libertymike||

    Chances are, he will place his foot on the neck of the aggrieved dweller.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Stop resisting!

  • Jerryskids||

    The War on Cops continues - you start prosecuting cops for doing illegal things and pretty soon they're going to stop doing illegal things and then where will we be? Have you ever thought about what sort of world we'd be living in if cops weren't allowed to do illegal things? I don't know about you, but it doesn't sound like any sort of world I'd want to live in!

  • sarcasmic||

    You know it. I mean, just watch any cop show. All laws do is prevent cops from catching the bad guys. And then these bad guys have rights which complicate things further. Finally there's that whole innocent until proven guilty thing that lets criminals go free if they can hire a good attorney. All of these things stop cops from locking up the bad guys. Fucking libertarians want cops to follow all the rules and want to respect the so-called rights of these criminals. What about the rights of the police, huh? Why must they follow the law when the people they are trying to catch don't have to?

  • ThomasD||

    Seems like there are a few more charges absent at the moment.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The cops' alleged actions are horrifying, but their case is an example of the system working the way it should, or at least close to that, thanks to body cameras.

    I guess the Detroit PD will have to update their training to make sure officers know to turn off the body cameras before they kick in some random person's door.

  • Kivlor||

    This was my thought about the whole matter.

    Lesson learned, make sure your bodycams are off if you are about to do something like this. Problem solved.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The officers had noticed a Taser lying on the table and allegedly used that to justify taking him to jail, where Cornelius said he was held for 36 hours. "My lawyer assured me there were no charges against me. Finally they just released me and I walked out of there," he said.

    Sounds like they should also add kidnapping and false imprisonment to the list of charges.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Qualified Immunity. No one ever told them they needed a warrant. No one trained them on how to erase body cam footage.

  • Rob Misek||

    Look at all the good coming from the small percentage of police actually using body cameras.

    Now extrapolate that to every citizen having the voluntary right to record everything they witness everywhere they are, storing the data to the cloud as they go.

    Amber alerts would have thousands of cameras to recover abducted people, or simply backtracking criminals from the scene to their lairs.

    People couldn't be told to break the law by their corrupt employers.

    There would be eyes on everyone, mostly ignored until it becomes relevant. Digital memories are not forgotten.

    You would never lose your keys again.

  • Shirley Knott||

    The panopticon sounds so good, doesn't it?
    Until video footage of you and your family picking your noses, or perhaps your amusing bathroom rituals, start being shown on TV.
    Privacy matters.

  • Rob Misek||

    So prohibit unauthorized digital sharing of memories.

    But you'd be the one that considered that a violation of your rights, wouldn't you?

    I'd say #fuckyou and get your own memories.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online