UPDATE: In February 2023, a federal jury has sided with Mr. Okosi after he was falsely arrested in his home by a Boston Police officer, held in jail overnight, and faced criminal charges for months before the charges were finally dismissed.
In November 2021, the ACLU and Todd & Weld filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michael Okosi, seeking justice and accountability for the harm he suffered---including physical and emotional injuries—based on the lies of one police officer.
On the day after Thanksgiving in 2018, police entered Michael Okosi’s home in response to a dispute between two women. While several officers were inside, Mr. Okosi asked them to please close the front door in order to keep the heat in his home. He then reached past the defendant, Officer Scott Roby, to shut the door himself. The police officer suddenly and forcefully grabbed Mr. Okosi, arrested him, and walked him out to the police cruiser, shirtless and shoeless. Officer Roby falsely claimed that Mr. Okosi hit him in the chest, and made the decision to charge Mr. Okosi with assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct. A home security camera captured the incident and demonstrated that Mr. Okosi did no such thing. Nevertheless, based on the defendant’s false accusations, Mr. Okosi spent the night in jail, as well as several months with the charges pending against him. Eventually, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Mr. Okosi for reasons consistent with his innocence.
After a three-day federal trial in February 2023, the jury unanimously found in Mr. Okosi’s favor on several counts, including federal and state law claims for false arrest and false imprisonment, and a state law claim for malicious prosecution. The jury awarded Mr. Okosi compensatory damages for the harm he suffered, as well as punitive damages to punish Officer Roby for his conduct.