Police respond to complaint

By Charles Sercombe
More details have emerged about an encounter a Yemeni immigrant had with a Hamtramck police officer.
The Review asked Police Chief Anne Moise for follow-up information about the matter, and she agreed to address some issues.
Nasser Almasmari recently went to a city council meeting to complain about the treatment he and his family received during a traffic incident. He claimed that he, his four children and 8-months-pregnant wife were forced to walk about a half mile home during a bitter cold day on Jan. 3 after his car was impounded.
According to the police department’s daily incident report, he was pulled over for having a fraudulent license plate tab and no proof of insurance. In her response to The Review, Moise declined to get into specifics of the traffic matter.
Moise did agree to discuss what happened after tickets were issued. She said Almasmari’s family was not forced to walk home, which was only 8 houses away from where they were pulled over.
Here is Moise’s email:
“Situations can usually be handled in different ways, however, the officer had to make a decision at the time with the information he had available. He took potential liability into consideration including placing several people, including children, in the back seat of his police car without proper safety restraints including car seats available.
“The family was not made to stand outside the vehicle during the traffic stop. They remained in the vehicle until the end.
“The officer did allow the family to call for a ride, which did not arrive before the adults in the family made the decision to walk home.
“Their residence was located approximately 8 houses from the location of the stop to the residence. They even advised the officer of this when they advised him they were going to walk.”
Moise also said that a meeting with Almasmari had been scheduled, but he cancelled one hour before the appointment.
“I have asked to reschedule the meeting, however I have not heard back from him regarding this,” Moise said.
Moise added that she did meet with members of the Yemeni American Leadership Association and discussed “issues regarding diversity and building bridges in the community.”

 

14 Responses to Police respond to complaint

  1. Roadman

    February 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Several things that Moise did not contest:

    (A)the fact Almasmari’s vehicle was towed away and impounded;

    (B)that towing away the vehicle was imprudent and not appropriate given the circumstances of placing young children in extreme cold;

    (C)that the weather WAS severe and in actuality wind chill temperature was well below zero given a stiff wind on January 3rd;

    (D)the allegation of Mr. Almasmari that he was taking his wife to a hospital due to her illness.

    “They remained in the vehicle until the end.”

    End of what? When were they ordered to vacate the car? Were they forced to sit inside an unheated vehicle for a half hour with the engine off until a tow truck arrived?

    So Moise thinks that tossing two-year twins into the extreme cold for a walk home is preferable to the inside of a warm squad car without child safety seats?

    She does not disclose where the traffic stop occurred and where the Almasmari home was so that a proper distance could be independently calculated.

    She also does not disclose the name of the officer initiating the stop.

    She also does not reveal how much the towing fees and storage charges were that had been incurred in conjunction with the car seizure – and whether Mr. Almasmari was forced to pay these.

    She does not explain how the license plate tab was “fraudulent” as cited in the report. She also does not mention the nature of the charges contained in the court appearance tickets that may have been issued or the disposition or status of such charges in the District Court.

    Is there a dashboard camera videotape available that recorded this incident?

    Moise does not indicate whether or not the police decision to tow the vehicle was legal or in accordance with Hamtramck Police Department policy.

  2. Beverly

    February 2, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Fraudulent insurance tab? Amazing.

    Eight houses away? Wow.

    Remained in the vehicle until the end? Hmmmm.

    Kudos to Chief Moise for defending her department’s handling of this matter.

    The officer in question acted properly and should be commended for taking an uninsured automobile off the road.

  3. John Dory

    February 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    @Beverly:

    I still have a question of whether police can legally tow away a car following a traffic stop for having an expired plate or no proof of insurance.

    Chief Anne Moise did not endorse the police incident reports allegation that there was a “fraudulent” license tab on the vehicle and if there was merely an expired plate I do not think there is any way they could have towed the car – but i am not entirely sure.

    I think Chief Moise still needs to clear the air about upon what basis the Almasmari car was seized here.

  4. Rich

    February 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I think everything the Officer did was appropriate. This family was expecting to collect some money and it backfired!

  5. matt stachowicz

    February 3, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    The Officer did his job, how about driving a vehicle with insurance and clear plates geez
    Hamtramck pOLICE ALWAYS TREAT PEOPLE FAIRLY AT LEAST THATS MY EXPERIENCE!!

  6. John Dory

    February 3, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    @Rich and matt stachowicz:

    My key question is whether the actual “tow away’ of the Almasmari car was legal.

    I just never remembering seeing police tow away anyone’s car for a simple traffic ticket unless they had been drinking or otherwise arrested the person.

    Does anyone have any answer?

  7. matt stachowicz

    February 3, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    a vehicle can be towed due to lack of insurance period mvc states you cannot operate a automobile on a roadway without it,, fraud tab is a enhanced charge over expired plate! Leave the hardworking police alone

  8. John Dory

    February 3, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    @matt stachowicz:

    There are many issues in the Michigan law enforcement community with license plates and tabs and there have been those motorists that have attempted to even manufacture or use a “fraud tab”:

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/opinion/sos-hear-my-plea/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1u8BSDvCC4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HkoqUA91WU

    I am trying to be neutral and want to give the P.D. the benefit of the doubt here.

    I just feel Chief Moise needs to provide more information on this incident.

  9. Rich

    February 4, 2018 at 10:58 am

    This Officer did nothing wrong. Perhaps if they followed the Law, this would not have happened. We have 3 vehicles and I guarantee you, if an Officer pulls me over I have everything in each vehicle he or she will need to see.

  10. Fatema Hossain

    February 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    There has been a problem the last few years with police ordering the towing of cars with no reasonable basis.

    Anne Moise has previously received complaint that this type of activity has gone on – and it has been directed from what I have seen at the Bangladeshi and Yemeni communities in Hamtramck. I do not know what she has done to investigate these prior complaints, but the Almasmari case shows it still is going on. Car owners can lose the use of their vehicle for days after this occurs and spend hundreds of dollars to get their cars out of an impound lot.

    Such towing has occurred after minor collisions, vehicles being driven with expired renewal tabs, vehicles parked with expired renewal tabs as well as other relatively innocent circumstances. There has been no law adverted to by Moise or anyone else that justifies this conduct.

    The towing companies, impound storage lots, and courts receiving the fines are raking in oodles of money from residents when this happens. The City of Hamtramck receives a “cut” of the fines and costs assessed by the court system when violation tickets are paid.

    The Michigan State Police towed away a vehicle of a person they were interviewing as part of the legendary “vote fraud investigation” last fall in Hamtramck.

    This situation is not unique to Hamtramck as there have been complaints at Detroit Tigers baseball games where fans who had legally parked their cars discovered they were towed away after the game ended – and learned that they needed hundreds of dollars to get their car out of impound.

    The Almasmari incident is by no means unique nor is the fact the city is well aware the controversial practice goes on – and has been for awhile.

  11. Uncle Cooter

    February 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    @Rich:

    “This officer did nothing wrong.”

    Every patrol officer is trained in police academy and expected to be proficient in the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code (MMVC)which established basic driver laws in the state and also directs officers as to when they have the right to tow and impound a private vehicle.

    A law enforcement agency may remove and hold a vehicle in several enumerated situations – such as when, for example it impedes traffic or may be suspected as being stolen. That MMVC section is MCL 257.252d and only one subsection arguably applies to this case which is (e):

    “if there is reason to believe the vehicle was used …….in the commission of a crime.”

    In the instant case MCL 257.255 is the expired plate section of the MMVC and makes a violation a civil infraction UNLESS the susupected vehicle is a commercial vehicle in which case it is a criminal misdemeanor offense. I see no indication that the driver here was operating a registered commercial vehicle, so his alleged violation of the expired plate law was only civil infraction.

    Secondly the MMVC only makes failure to display a valid proof of insurance a civil infraction also, so whether the driver committed this or not, no criminal offense occurred.

    However the article indicates that the police incident report referenced that the driver was “pulled over for a fraudulent license plate tab”.

    This is very important, because MCL 257.257 of the MMVC makes possession or use of a fraudulent license plate tab a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If the patrol officer did in fact have reasonable cause to believe that a fraudulent license plate tab was being displayed on the car, then the police agency had every right to seize and impound that vehicle as the car would have been used in the “commission of a crime”.

    What lends some doubt to whether this actually occurred is that no felony appears to be lodged against the driver and I believe if the driver had been sporting fraudulent tabs, the Chief would have been pointing this out in her statement.

    Further elucidation is needed from Chief Moise.

  12. reese

    February 9, 2018 at 12:32 am

    don’t break the law, no problen

  13. Roadman

    February 10, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Mr. Almasmari was served four appearance tickets and ALL were alleged civil infractions with NO citation for a fraudulent license plate tab.

    If he supposedly – as the daily police “incident report” claims – had a fraudulent tab, why was he not accused of this in court? Especially if this alleged violation was a FELONY?

  14. John Dory

    February 11, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Some other interesting links on counterfeit license tabs and how the law enforcement community investigates license plate users:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWFL0vCGwj8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH7edXaZS0A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZLJ46A-ObI

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