NewsLocal NewsInvestigations

Detroit pays $2M to settle latest lawsuit against troubled Sgt. hit with 85 complaints

Kue has been the subject of at least 9 lawsuits since joining DPD
Posted at 4:29 PM, Feb 08, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The City of Detroit agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed against Sgt. Stephen Kue, a troubled officer who amassed an astonishing history of misconduct but was seldom disciplined.

It marks at least the ninth lawsuit filed against Kue since he joined the department as a full-time officer in 2009.

Follow our two-year investigation:

Conduct Unbecoming: Detroit's Troubled Cops

This most recent settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by Mark Gaddis, who Kue shot in 2017 following a raid at his aunt’s house.

Kue would later say that he opened fire only after Gaddis pointed a gun at him. Another officer supported his account, and police recovered a firearm at the scene.

Troubled Detroit sergeant sued at least 8 times, costing city $830k in settlements

After being shot, Gaddis was hospitalized.

But multiple witnesses said Gaddis had no gun and that he was running away from Kue at the time he was shot. The firearm recovered by officers didn’t have enough DNA to determine if anyone had touched it.

Gaddis was charged with 11 felonies and acquitted by a jury of all of them. He sued Kue and his fellow officers in 2018.

“This was a cover-up of a shooting of an unarmed man, and luckily the jury was able to see through that,” said attorney Allison Kriger, who represented Gaddis during his criminal trial.

Among Detroit’s most troubled police officers, few compare to Kue.

As 7 Action News first revealed in 2021, the Detroit police officer has been accused repeatedly of excessive force. found to have used the n-word and amassed 85 complaints from citizens who said he terrorized communities of color.

Following WXYZ's reporting, Kue was removed from street patrols and placed on desk duty. He did not return a call or text for comment on the city’s settlement.

RELATED: DPD moved to fire cop hit with 85 complaints, accusations of racist language. Why was he promoted?

Despite an alarming amount of complaints and documented wrongdoing, Kue was seldom disciplined.

More than his misconduct as an officer, Kriger said she was most appalled by the department’s indifference to it. Instead of being terminated — even after being found to have lied — Kue was promoted.

Detroit police moved to fire cop hit with 85 complaints. Why was he promoted?

“This could not have gone on without people at every level, or members at every level, being complicit,” Kriger said.

Over a two-year investigation, WXYZ revealed Detroit police officers who stayed on the force after being found to have strangled women, left bruises on children and used racist language. They remained at DPD, along with Stephen Kue.

RELATED: These Detroit police officers abused women, children & citizens — and still kept their badges

“Sgt. Kue is still there,” Hurwitz said. “They’ve taken no steps to remedy the underlying problems that are ongoing with the department.”

Detroit police officials would argue that they have.

Interim DPD chief looking into 'pattern and practice of conduct' of sergeant in 7 Investigation

In 2021, following our reports, newly appointed Chief James White changed how the department monitors risky officer behavior by flagging those with high numbers of citizen complaints, have high uses of force, engage in multiple police chases or were frequently the subject of lawsuits. 128 current were labeled ‘high risk,’ with the department pledging to address their behavior.

RELATED: Detroit police identify 128 'high risk' officers following 7 Investigation

But as long as Stephen Kue has a badge, Gaddis and his attorney are skeptical the department has changed at all.

“I hope that they understand that he is not alone, that he is not just another bad apple,” Kriger said. “That this was a direct product of what was happening within the department.”

In response to the settlement, a Detroit police spokesman released a statement saying, in part, that Kue and his fellow officer’s actions were deemed justified by the department.

“In accordance with DPD policy, a comprehensive investigation into the involved officers’ actions was conducted. The investigation included an examination of physical evidence and the obtainment of statements from both the involved officers as well as witnesses to the incident. After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances, an investigative finding was made that the accounts provided by the involved officers were comparable to the statements of at least one individual at the scene and comported with physical evidence identified in the course of the investigation. Accordingly, the actions of the involved officers with respect to Mr. Gaddis were determined to be justified under the circumstances.


The terms of this settlement are concerning. However, it must be noted that the decision to recommend the settlement of a civil suit is the prerogative of the City’s Law Department and often constitutes a business decision based on factors that are often beyond the control of the Department and the involved members.” -Detroit Police Department

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at ross.jones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.