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2 City Policemen Are Disciplined

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An alleged assault by two white Ann Arbor pólice officers on a black officer and his wife has resulted in disciplinary action being taken against the two men. Pólice Chief Walter Krasny announced this morning that patrolman H. Jay Brooks, 27, has been suspended without pay from the department while patrolman Paul Viergever, 27, has been disciplined less severly. Krasny refused to specify the exact nature of the action taken against Viergever. The chief noted that a trial board, in which the case is reviewed by the city administrator, will be forthcoming for both officers. The incident for which Brooks and Viergever -were disciplined occurred on the night of June 21 during the course of a civil dispute which began in a home. on Laurelwood Circle in the Forest Hills Cooperative. A family fight developed in the home and attracted the attention of several neighbors. A woman then ran from the I home and attempted to get help in subI duing a man she claimed was killing her sister. The woman sought the aid of Mel Roper, 24, who is a neighbor and was standI ing outside at the time. Roper, who is black, is an Ann Arbor pólice officer who has been on academie leave from Ithe department since last September I while hè is teaching. The man involved in the dispute - I who, according to witnesses, was "obIviously high on something" - then I emerged from the home, swore at Roper I several times, threw some punches at I him as Roper retreated back toward his I own home, and followed him there still I swinging fists until Roper grabbed the I man and quickly pinned him to the Iground. At that point, Brooks and Viergever I arrived at the scène in a pólice patrol I car and saw Roper from behind on top I of the man. Before asking any questions I concerning the situation, they began I beating Roper on the head and shoulders I with their heavy-duty flashlights, witI nesses charge. "There was no need for that kind of I action," said Mrs. Sylvia Keough, who resides at 2452 Laurelwood and who wit' nessed the entire incident from her front porch. "They were hitting Mei as hard as they could while we were aü--telling them, 'You're hitting the wrong man.' ': Roper's wife, Joyce, was struck in the mouth with a flashlight by Brooks, it is alleged, when she grabbed the officer by the arm as he beat her husband and screamed, "It's Mei Roper, a cop.' He's a cop." When Roper turned to face Brooks and Viergever, they apparently recognized him as a fellow officer and stopped the assault, according to neighbors. "Brooks' face must have dropped a mile when he saw it was Mei," said Mrs. Keough. While Roper suffered no visible injuries from the attack, his wife was treated at the hospital for a split lip. In a "petition for justiceV, sent to Krasny and signed by five residents of Laurelwood who witnessed the incident, it is stated, "As citizens, we are astonished by the reckless conduct of officers sworn to enforce the law, licensed to carry weapons, and expected to protect the citizenry of Ann Arbor. We also wonder whether the Ropers would have been treated differently if their skin was not black." "-