Detroit killer cop found liable in civil suit
By Abayomi Azikiwe
In a landmark civil case, Detroit's most
notorious cop, Eugene Brown, has been found liable by a jury in
the wrongful death of Lamar Wayne Grable, 20, who was gunned
down on Sept. 21, 1996.
A jury of four blacks and four whites deliberated for less
than two hours to render a verdict against Brown on the counts
of assault and battery and gross negligence. A judgment of $4
million was awarded to the Grable family by the jury.
Arnetta Grable, the mother of Lamar Wayne Grable, brought
the lawsuit in 1999 and was represented at trial by attorneys
David Robinson and Mellisa El of Detroit. Eugene Brown was
represented by a city attorney.
Probably one of the most widely known cases involving police
misconduct, Arn etta Grable v. Eugene Brown has come to
symbolize all that is wrong with the Detroit Police Department.
During the course of four years, Brown killed three people in
Detroit and wounded at least one other. He has been involved in
numerous altercations with other civilians and even one
off-duty police officer over the last several years. In 1999,
Brown was removed from active patrol duty by then police chief
Benny Napoleon, but still remains on the payroll of the Detroit
A long time coming to court
Arnetta Grable was determined to bring the civil case to
trial despite repeated attempts by the city of Detroit to
settle out of court with a monetary award.
"I am not concerned about the money, I want the truth to
come out about what happened to my son," Grable said on several
occasions to the media and the general public. "I promised my
son the night he was killed that I would not rest until I
brought the people responsible to justice."
Grable spoke widely about the death of her son at the hands
of Eugene Brown and became a principal organizer in the Detroit
Coalition Against Police Brutality and spokesperson for the
National Oct ober 22 Coalition Against Brutality.
Lamar Wayne Grable was a 20-year-old community activist on
Detroit's east side and had become fairly well known in the
city for his work with young people seeking to establish their
own businesses. He had come to the attention of several city
leaders for his volunteer work.
On the night of Sept. 21, 1996, he was returning home from a
party at a neighborhood church when he was chased and gunned
down by Eugene Brown. Grable was shot eight times, twice in the
back at point-blank range while he lay mortally wounded in a
vacant lot near his home on Field street near Kercheval in
Arnetta Grable announced to the media after the verdict that
the judgment would be utilized to establish a trust fund in
honor of her son. This fund would assist young people in the
city of Detroit who are attempting to establish independent
"I feel that the loss to our family and Lamar's only child
Other actions pending against Brown
Another civil suit will be brought against Eugene Brown very
soon by one other family which suffered a loss of their loved
one at the hands of this Detroit police officer.
In addition, efforts by the city to suppress the finding of
Deputy Chief Walter Shoulders's investigation into the killings
carried out by Eugene Brown will be challenged in circuit
court. This report purportedly carries damaging evidence
against Brown that would warrant criminal charges. Brown has
been cleared by the internal affairs department of the Detroit
Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
involving the three killings and other altercations with
citizens in Detroit.
Meanwhile, Brown has filed suit against the city after being
denied a promotion to sergeant. Yet a legal ruling last year
quashed his claim, saying that he had no legal right to a
At present the Detroit Police Depart ment is under the
direction of two federal consent decrees which are supposedly
designed to reform the city's law-enforcement agency. Yet the
consent decrees are providing no relief to victims of police
brutality. The federal monitor appointed to oversee the
implementation of the consent decrees did not even send a
representative to observe the Grable v. Brown trial, a landmark
case in the history of police brutality in Detroit and
Excerpted from a longer article by Abayomi
Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire.
Reprinted from the Aug. 21, 2003, issue of
Workers World newspaper
This article is copyright under a Creative
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