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Fraser officer charged with assault
also was accused in 1994 suit

By Steve Pardo / The Detroit News

    A Fraser police officer charged with assaulting a Chesterfield Township teen-ager in September also was the target of a lawsuit filed by a woman who said he assaulted her.

    The Macomb County city's insurer agreed to pay the earlier victim about $400,000 in 1994, her lawyer said.

    In the suit, Terry Clay claimed that Officer Dennis Fouchia rammed her car with his patrol vehicle Feb. 10, 1990, and then smashed her head into the pavement after she got out. She had been pulled over near Groesbeck and 14 Mile for driving with an expired license plate.

    Fouchia grabbed her and threw her against nearby metal bins, the hood of his police car and the ground, said lawyer Steven Budaj of Detroit, who represented Clay.

    "Once on the ground, he grabbed her hair and smashed her head into the pavement several times," Budaj said. "He broke her nose, knocked out a couple of teeth and chipped a couple of others. She was so scared she urinated in her pants."

    Clay sued the officer, the city of Fraser, the director of public safety and a reserve officer. Fouchia didn't face criminal charges then.

    Last week, Fouchia was charged with two misdemeanors stemming from a Sept. 12 traffic incident in which he allegedly used a flashing light in his personal vehicle to pull over a 16-year-old male driver from Chesterfield Township. Fouchia then pushed the teen's head against the car door, investigators said.

    The Fraser officer, who also is assistant volunteer fire chief of Lenox Township, was out of his jurisdiction and didn't have authority to use the flashing light, police said.

    He is accused of assault and misusing an emergency flasher. Each misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine upon conviction.

    Fouchia was released after posting $1,000 personal bond set by 42nd District Judge Paul Cassidy. A preliminary examination to review the evidence is expected to be held within two months.

Copyright 1997, The Detroit News

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