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Ex-DeWitt police officer being sued by the unarmed man he pulled a gun on last year

Former DeWitt police officer Chad Vorce pulled a gun twice on an unarmed Black teenager last year. Now the man he targeted, Alexander Hamilton, has filed a civil suit against Vorce and the City of DeWitt.
Posted at 5:45 AM, Apr 12, 2022

Former DeWitt police officer Chad Vorce pulled a gun twice on an unarmed Black teenager last year.

Now the man he targeted, Alexander Hamilton, has filed a civil suit against Vorce and the city of DeWitt.

"They came to us only after learning that Officer Vorce was going to be reinstated as a city employee," Hamilton's lawyer Dustyn Coontz said. "I think Alex—and this is available in a lot of the public records—I think Alex would've just let things lie originally, but I think the injustice of it all, it's really come to a head."

Vorce is also facing criminal charges filed by the state Attorney General's Office last week.

"I think the AG's office is under-charging Vorce compared to how my clients are frequently charges," Coontz said. "So I am asking the Attorney General's Office to consider adding an additional count of felonious assault and two additional counts of felony firearm."

Vorce pulled a gun on 19-year-old Hamilton while he was delivering newspapers for the Lansing State Journal in January of 2021. Vorce was off duty at the time.

Vorce was fired in May. An arbitrator forced the city of DeWitt to rehire him in December, which it did, but not as a police officer. Vorce is still a city employee.

DeWitt City Manager Daniel Coss said the city cannot provide comment on the case at this time.

"The wrong-doing is obvious here, right?" Coontz said. "We had a grown man, who happens to be a police officer, pull a gun on a teenager for delivering newspapers while Black. We are saying that that's assault—which the Attorney General's Office agrees, they're saying that's assault by a dangerous weapon—but we're also saying that the city of DeWitt ought to bear some responsibility here."

The Clinton County prosecutor's office declined to pursue charges in the case last year.

The civil case was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

"We're also seeking accountability for Alex being placed in handcuffs for—I believe around 38 minutes if my memory serves me correctly," Coontz said. "Vorce, of course, is responsible for that, but there was another officer on the scene from the city of DeWitt—in DeWitt Township, interestingly—and we don't think there was any legal basis for that arrest to be made."

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Russell Shellberg

5:49 PM, Jun 03, 2022

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