By Gary Ridley, originally published by MLive, The Flint Journal, May 10, 2016
MUNDY TWP., MI – A Mundy Township police officer claims he was pressured by township officials to portray former NBA player and Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves as guilty of an alleged sexual assault.
Officer Brian Ogle filed a lawsuit Wednesday, May 4, alleging he was disciplined by the Mundy Township Police Department after he allegedly reported violations of state law by the township to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the Cleaves investigation.
The lawsuit does not provide further details on the alleged state laws violated or who violated them. Ogle’s attorney, Dean Yeotis, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Wayne County Prosecutor spokeswoman Maria Miller declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names Mundy Township and its police department as defendants. No specific police administrators are named in the case.
Mundy Township Police Chief Dan Atkinson declined to comment on the case, saying he has not yet seen the lawsuit. No response has yet been filed.
Ogle claims he was involved in the Cleaves investigation, which began in September 2015. The lawsuit alleges he “found himself at odds” with the township and police department because he would not “portray Mr. Cleaves as guilty of sexual assault.”
The lawsuit claims Ogle emailed a Wayne County prosecutor investigating the Cleaves case on Nov. 17, 2015, reporting “suspected violations of Michigan state law and/or regulations” committed by the township and its police department.
On Feb. 4, the lawsuit alleged Ogle was notified in writing that the township found him in violation of township rules and regulations “stemming from an incident including Mateen Cleaves” that occurred Sept. 15, 2015.
He was suspended for two days without pay on Feb. 25 for his role in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office investigation into Cleaves, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.
Cleaves, 38, was arraigned March 16 on multiple felony charges, including counts of unlawful imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct, stemming from an alleged sex assault at a Mundy Township motel.
The charges came roughly six months after the alleged assault.
“It’s a bombshell,” Cleaves’ attorney, Frank J. Manley, said of the lawsuit. “It calls the integrity of the investigation into question.”
Cleaves was at a charity golf outing Sept. 14, 2015, where he was allegedly introduced to the victim, her boyfriend and several co-workers, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
Cleaves and the group allegedly went a local bar after the outing where they had drinks, the prosecutor claims. Around 1 a.m. they all left the bar.
The alleged victim’s boyfriend gave a friend a ride home, prosecutors say. The alleged victim, thinking they would return to the golf club, rode with Cleaves in his car, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege Cleaves took the victim to a motel located in the 2400 block of West Grand Blanc Road in Mundy Township, held her in a room against her will and sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to allegedly escape from the room and received assistance from a woman in a nearby room.
Investigators previously served a search warrant on Cleaves for a DNA sample as part of their investigation.
Township officials have denied Freedom of Information Act requests and an appeal from The Flint Journal seeking records associated with the investigation and a request for records on officer discipline stemming from the case.
The case was handled by the Wayne County prosecutor’s office after Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton recused himself from the case over a conflict with a potential witness.
Prosecutors have identified the alleged victim as a 24-year-old Mt. Morris woman. The Flint Journal-Mlive is not releasing her name because she is the alleged victim of a suspected sex crime.
Cleaves faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
There are no new court dates scheduled in the lawsuit or criminal case.