HomeNews$320,000 Settlement for Japanese Man Wrongly Accused

$320,000 Settlement for Japanese Man Wrongly Accused

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Michigan Village Settles for $320,000 with Japanese Man Wrongly Accused of Drunken Driving.

A Michigan village settled for $320,000 with Ryohei Akima, a Japanese man mistakenly accused of DUI by an officer who misread a breath test.

The incident, which has drawn considerable attention, underscores the critical importance of accuracy and accountability in law enforcement practices.

In 2020, Fowlerville Police Officer Caitlyn Peca stopped 37-year-old Ryohei Akima from Yonago, Japan, who was on a work visa.

During the stop, Akima took a breathalyzer test and registered 0.02, under Michigan’s legal limit.

However, rookie Officer Peca misread the result as 0.22, nearly triple the legal limit, and arrested Akima for DUI.

Peca compounded the error by admitting on the radio, “I have no idea what I’m doing.

The charges against Akima were eventually dropped after a blood sample further confirmed that he was not intoxicated. Nevertheless, the ordeal led Akima to file a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that Peca’s actions violated the U.S. Constitution.

A federal appeals court let the case proceed, noting a reasonable officer would have seen Akima was sober and the arrest lacked probable cause.

The January settlement after the court’s decision acknowledges the Fowlerville officer’s mistake.

The village is paying the settlement through insurance, highlighting the financial implications of such errors on municipal budgets.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of inexperience and error within law enforcement. It also underscores the importance of proper training and oversight to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The settlement compensates Akima and signals a move towards police accountability and systemic improvements for individual rights and well-being.

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