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Sault Ste Marie Appeals Use of Force Lawsuit to Michigan Supreme Court

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UPDATE 5/26/23 8:45 a.m.

The fight continues over the accessibility of the Sault Ste Marie Police Department’s use of force policy. The city is turning to the state’s highest court after losing their appeal in Michigan’s Appeals Court

It started in the summer of 2020, during the time of the protests after the death of George Floyd. Soon after, a Sault Ste Marie woman filed a request to see the police department’s use of force policy.

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The city handed over a redacted document, and a lawsuit was filed for the complete report. The city will be taking the case to the State Supreme Court as they say there are safety concerns for not wanting to release their complete policies.

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4/14/2023 7:00 p.m.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie may soon be releasing their police department’s use of force policy.

The Michigan Court of Appeals denied their motion for reconsideration to stop the release of its use of force policy earlier this week.

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It all stems from a lawsuit file by someone who used to live in the Soo during the time of the protests after the death of George Floyd, requested to see the city’s use of force policy.

The city produced a redacted document. A lawsuit was filed in Chippewa Circuit Court for the complete report. The city lost that lawsuit but appealed to the Michigan Court of appeals.

They lost that appeal, but asked for reconsideration about three weeks ago, citing safety concerns for not wanting to release their complete policies.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie has a little more than a month left to decide whether to appeal the latest decision to Michigan’s Supreme Court.

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3/21/2023 7:50 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie is fighting the latest decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals regarding their release of the police department’s use of force policy.

The Michigan Court of Appeals decided last month that Sault Ste. Marie must make its police use of force policy available to the public.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed against the city after a resident wanted to see what the use of force policy was in Sault Ste. Marie after the George Floyd police brutality case.

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The city was only willing to give out their policies with huge redactions throughout citing safety concerns.

The lawyer representing the resident who sued says the city is now asking Michigan’s Court of Appeals to reconsider.

“There’s an issue. They are claiming that it is one of the exemptions. They claimed it was part of the staff manual. That was one of the exemptions, a staff manual exemption. So they want the court of appeals to look at that, too,” said Mark Dobias.

Dobias said they are waiting to see what the Michigan Court of Appeals decides before deciding the next step for his client.

9&10 News also reached out to the City of Sault Ste. Marie for comment but received no response.

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