Former Burton Police detective charged with ethnic intimidation

FLINT – Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has charged a former Burton Police detective with ethnic intimidation and other offenses related to a recent interaction with a citizen during an arrest. Eric Freeman,41, has been charged with ethnic intimidation, assault and battery and common law offense misconduct in office related...

Former Burton Police detective charged with ethnic intimidation

FLINT – Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has charged a former Burton Police detective with ethnic intimidation and other offenses related to a recent interaction with a citizen during an arrest.

Eric Freeman,41, has been charged with ethnic intimidation, assault and battery and common law offense misconduct in office related to an incident that occurred on February 1, 2023.

Ethnic intimidation is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, assault and battery is a misdemeanor and misconduct in office carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison.

The charges stem for an incident in which a Black man hit and rear-ended an unmarked police car Freeman was driving and fled the scene. The incident occurred on Feb. 1.

Freeman followed the man to a home and pulled into the driveway behind him. The man then backed into Freeman again.

The man was eventually arrested after Freeman called for backup.

Freeman slapped the man while he was face down on the pavement and used a racial slur, telling him he had run from the wrong individual, according to Leyton.

“It pains me to have to authorize such charges against a sworn police officer, but nobody is above the law,” said Leyton. “While there is no doubt that police officers work in oftentimes hostile environments and the stress and frustration levels associated with their work is very high, they must adhere to proper and professional and lawful conduct while carrying out their duties.”

“Mr. Freeman’s actions were intentional, they were deliberate, and they were conducted in a malicious manner intended to intimidate the subject on the ground and there is probable cause evidence indicating Freeman’s actions were racially motivated,” added Leyton.

Freeman resigned from the Burton Police Department after the incident. He will be arraigned in 67th District Court.