KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Did Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers lie to a judge so they could break up a party near Western Michigan University's campus?
That's the question 24 Hour News 8 put to Kalamazoo city officials after charges against more than 20 students, mostly for excessive noise and minors in possession of alcohol, were dropped after what amounted to a police raid in February.
Our questions came after we searched through court documents detailing the incident and why the charges were dropped.
On February 2, a group of young people, some WMU students, were celebrating a birthday at an apartment in the 1200 block of Euclid Avenue.
In the meantime, Kalamazoo Public Safety officers were called to the area on the report of an injured person nearby, but arriving officers didn't find anyone hurt.
The officers, according to court documents, heard loud yelling and shouting at a house party at 1218 Euclid. Ave.
But as officers approached the building, residents and others at the apartment went inside. According to documents filed by defense attorneys, they locked the doors and muffled the noise.
Police tried to get inside. No one let them in, and didn't have to, according to their lawyers.
After standing outside and telling occupants they needed to let them in, KDPS officer decided to request a search warrant.
In documents seeking to have the cases dismissed, an attorney for one of the defendants included a transcript of an audio recordings of the officers talking.
One officer said the judge that was reviewing search warrants that night. "And I have a feeling he's not going to like this..." the transcript said.
Another male voice, presumably an officer, was heard saying, "Just put in here excessive noise violation including loud yelling and shouting at a house party that we were (muffled) at."
Another male voice said, "Oh, they're... they're gonna get arrested."
Around 2:30 a.m., with warrants in hand, officers flooded the home, according to the defense attorney, with guns drawn.
Witnesses told a judge officers pointed a gun at one person's head, according to court documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8. Others testified officers threw some people off their bed and kicked one person down, putting a boot on his head.
More than 20 arrests were made.
After hearing from the witnesses, according to the court documents, the judge the search warrant "invalid" and therefore the arrests were "illegal," the court documents said.
The judge did address the accusations of excessive force by the officers, saying that wouldn't come up in the criminal case, but instead would have to be brought out in a civil court.
But recently, the Kalamazoo city attorney dropped the case.
Clyde Robinson told 24 Hour News Eight it appeared from the written briefs that the court would likely have dropped the cases anyway.
Despite the information in the briefs, Robinson said he doesn't think the officers lied to get the search warrant. He called it "miscommunications."
But that doesn't explain the alleged conversation between the officers as they discussed the warrant.
Friday night, KDPS Chief Jeffrey Hadley told 24 Hour News 8 that his department had launched an internal investigation into the case.
24 Hour News 8's Marlee Ginter contributed to this report.
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