Judge dismisses three felonies against cop in alleged vigilantism case

Three more felony charges were dismissed from the case against one of two police officers accused of doling out vigilante justice last summer in Detroit.

Judge Michael Callahan of Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit on Wednesday tossed out charges of unlawful imprisonment, larceny of a weapon and felony firearm against David Pomeroy, 48, a suspended Detroit sergeant in connection with a July incident in which he and a St. Clair Shores cop retrieved a stolen cell phone from three men at a gas station. A misdemeanor, willful neglect of duty, also was removed from Pomeroy’s case.

Pomeroy now only faces two misdemeanors: willful neglect of duty and willful failure to uphold the law.

"We're very happy with the decision," Pomeroy's attorney, Michael Rataj, said after the hearing while Pomeroy sat nearby in a courthouse hallway. "We still have a battle ahead of us, but we're still in a better position right now, today than when we woke up this morning. That's always a good thing.

Callahan in approving the "motion to quash" ruled that Judge Joseph Baltimore of 36th District Court in Detroit abused his discretion.

"The prosecutor did not establish all of the elements of the crimes that were dismissed," Rataj said.

The larceny of a gun charge was dismissed because the gun that Pomeroy took was stolen and being transported illegally, Rataj said. He said prosecutors were overzealous.

"The prosecutors want to get guns off the streets, and what they do is arrest a decorated officer who is trying to do that," he said. "What the prosecutor is saying in this case is that Sgt. Pomeroy should have left an illegal handgun out on the street as opposed to taking it off."

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said prosecutors disagree with the ruling and will appeal to the state Court of Appeals.

The decision comes less than two weeks after several felony charges in the cases against Pomeroy and co-defendant Michael Notoriano were dismissed because prosecutors believe one of the two primary accusers, Robert Cureton, lied and has been charged with perjury.

The judge Wednesday rejected Notoriano's similar motion to quash the charges against Notoriano for his alleged actions involving Sergio Love, the second primary accuser.

Notoriano, 42, who is suspended from St. Clair Shores police, remains charged with two counts each of unlawful imprisonment, ethnic intimidation, felonious assault and willful failure to uphold the law, and one count each of armed robbery, felony firearm and willful neglect of duty.

He faces a June 9 trial date, although that may be postponed due to prosecutors' appeal of dismissal of Pomeroy's charges.

The judge has not yet ruled on a motion by Notoriano's attorney, Todd Flood, to remove Notoriano's text messages as evidence. The messages include racial slurs and use of the N-word that prompted the ethnic intimidation charge. Flood claims the messages were private and not directed at a specific person.

Flood said following the hearing that he remains hopeful about his client's case.

"I'm optimistic that the facts will come out and my client will be vindicated," he said.

The two suspended officers were accused of accosting the men July 21, 2013, at an east-side Detroit gas station in retaliation for the theft of the phone owned by Notoriano's teenage daughter the day before at another east-side Detroit gas station. Pomeroy retrieved the phone, which was located in the accusers' Yukon Denali along with the gun. Also taken were marijuana and cash from Love, Love testified.

The unlawful imprisonment charge, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, was dismissed because it involved Pomeroy's actions against Love, who mainly was in contact with Notoriano during the incident, not Pomeroy.

The charge of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony was dismissed because the other two remaining felonies were dismissed.

The removal of the felonies against Pomeroy restores the possibility he could return to working as a police officer.

"I think he belongs on the street," Rataj said. "He put his life on the line every day for over 20 years for this city. He should be rewarded. He shouldn't be prosecuted."