On December 10, 2017, William “Daris” Marshall was stopped by Westland cops who allege they found drugs in his vehicle. He was arrested and taken to jail where he suffered a medical emergency. According to Juston Delaforce, who was being held in the same cell, “Marshall was telling them ‘I’m having a seizure, I’m having a seizure’ [and] they told him he was faking it.” Delaforce, who says he witnessed the entire incident, added, “A man on his stomach begging for help and they beat him.”
Karri Mitchell, an attorney for the Marshall family, stated that Marshall “was begging, holding onto the cell with his hand, begging to be taken to the hospital, and he was kicked by the officer … [his] hands were kicked loose from the cell.”
Not only are there reports that Westland cops barred EMS workers—who felt Marshall needed to be transported immediately to the hospital—from attending to the dying man, but Delaforce himself was made to clean the blood from the concrete floor of the jail cell he briefly shared with the dying man.
An attendee of the January 16, 2018 Westland City Council meeting had this to say:
I went to the last Westland city council meeting where William’s family and friends asked the city to tell them more. The council president Godbout pretended that he was giving William’s sister Clohe a special favor by letting her speak over the three minutes allotted for public comment. He asked her if she was speaking for everyone and because she didn’t expect this question she said yes. This was clearly a tactic to silence everyone else, but no one bought it. Many other people came up and continued to question all of the city officials. The mayor and council gave the expected platitudes about being sorry he had died and that the investigation would have to run its course.
The big reveal came, however, that EMS workers had been suspended during the investigation. People asked why, and the fire chief explained that it was because it’s one of their policies to keep their workers off the road while there was any kind of investigation going on. People asked why the police (who still haven’t been publicly named) were still working and the city’s attorney tried to complicate things with condescending legal jargon, but after everyone made him spell it out, it came down to the fact that the police union ensures the cops can still be out on the streets during an investigation. So the fire department has accountability measures in place, and the police can do whatever they want. There seemed to be a subtle tension between the fire chief and the police chief, Jeff Jedrusik, as this discussion was going on.
Public comments and all of the city’s discussion about the “investigation” start at 45:30 in this video.
Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., Marshall’s loved ones and supporters are holding a demo outside the Westland Police Department (36701 Ford Rd, Westland, MI 48185). Everyone is encouraged to attend, to advocate for justice for William, and for “anyone who has been wronged by any police department.”