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State Police Investigation Results in Charges Against Flint Post Troopers

Today, Tprs. Ryan Fitzko, Cody Lukas and Justin Simpson of the Michigan State Police (MSP) Flint Post were arraigned in the 66th District Court on criminal charges related to an on-duty incident that occurred on Aug. 24, 2022, in Owosso, in which they used force against a subject who was riding a bicycle. Shiawassee County Prosecutor Scott Koerner authorized the charges following an investigation conducted by the MSP.

Fitzko and Simpson were each charged with one count of Assault and Battery (misdemeanor) and Lukas was charged with one count of Misconduct in Office (felony) and one count of Assault and Battery (misdemeanor).

“The use of excessive force by a Michigan State Police trooper against anyone is unacceptable and inexcusable,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “In this department, we have zero tolerance for police officers who engage in criminal misconduct. Policing is a privilege bestowed upon those who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect the public’s safety, and it is incumbent on every officer, and those who lead police officers, to hold themselves and those around them accountable for their conduct.”

In the interest of transparency, the MSP is making available the investigative report and in-car camera footage of this incident. Redactions have been made to protect the privacy of the victim and witnesses and the integrity of the investigation.

As a result of this incident, Lukas was suspended effective Aug. 30, 2022, and Fitzko and Simpson were reassigned from road patrol duties while the investigation was underway. With the issuance of criminal charges, all three are now on suspension and will remain suspended pending adjudication of the criminal case and any resulting administrative investigation.

These charges follow criminal charges issued in two other cases involving members of the MSP Third District. Information on these cases can be found here and here.

“Each of these matters is a breach of public trust that tarnishes the reputation of our department,” added Gasper. “Whether or not a criminal charge is issued, or a criminal conviction is obtained, our members will be held administratively accountable when they act outside of policy and training.

“While each of these situations represents an individual incident, we are taking a wholistic review to look beyond the surface to identify if there are improvements we can make to prevent similar situations in the future. Actions we are taking include ensuring there is accountability by supervisors, including the reassignments of supervisors to ensure we have the right personnel in the right places; evaluating our use of force training, specifically training around strikes to the head and face; and building upon our de-escalation training program, among other initiatives.

“The residents of Michigan deserve a police agency that treats all people with dignity and respect, and I am committed to ensuring the Michigan State Police lives up to this standard.”

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