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The Communicator

Ypsilanti Couple Acquitted of All Charges

Sha’Teina and Daniyal Grady El were each charged with multiple felony counts following an incident of May 2020. They finally had their day in court.
Sha’Teina and Daniyal Grady El exit the Washtenaw County Courthouse after the second day of their trial.

The jury returned the verdict on Jan. 31, 2024. Not guilty. Sha’Teina and Daniyal Grady El were acquitted in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, nearly four years after the incident that changed the course of their lives.

On May 26, 2020, the Grady Els were ordered by police to leave the scene of an investigation into a potential shooting. When the couple did not oblige, officers moved to arrest them. Both Sha’Teina and Daniyal resisted arrest. In the struggle, Sha’Teina bit the arm of an officer as he attempted to restrain her, at which point he struck her three times. Daniyal was tased by another officer.

The charges came in September 2020, months after the altercation and in spite of public outcry: The violent incident in May was followed by a number of protests and a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan urging the attorney general not to press charges. Sha’Teina was charged with three counts of resisting and obstructing an officer, one count of injuring an officer and another count for destruction of police property. Daniyal faced two felony counts for resisting and obstructing an officer.

These charges carried maximum sentences of 14 years in prison for Sha’Teina and four years for Daniyal. Though their first court appearance was originally scheduled for Nov. 29, 2022, the trial began on Jan. 29, 2022. With the threat of jail time looming over them, the Grady Els were apprehensive going into the trial.

“I was worried because I do know that they have all the power and generally we have none,” Sha’Teina said.

The couple’s defense hinged upon the right to resist unlawful arrest. Throughout the trial, the Grady Els defense attorneys disputed the lawfulness of the arrest, citing police officers’ lack of response to the Grady Els inquiries as to why they were being arrested on May 26 and questioning the reason for the arrest. As the trial drew to a close, the presiding judge, Patrick J. Conlin, approved a revision to the jury instructions that further clarified this issue: the couple could only be found guilty of resisting arrest if the arrest in question was lawful.

In the end, the jury found both Sha’Teina and Daniyal to be not guilty on all counts. After their court date had been rescheduled countless times, this marked the end of a tedious and nerve-wracking process for the Grady Els.
The incident put the Grady Els in the public eye, and they faced scrutiny throughout the legal process. As she waited for her day in court—and her chance to clear her name—Sha’Teina faced judgment on all sides, whether she was fielding invasive questions at the water cooler or overhearing her name in a supermarket aisle.

“When I got back to work I was basically fighting defamation of character,” Sha’Teina said.

As the front page news story, she didn’t know who she could trust, who supported her and her family and who condemned them. However, as the timeline stretched out, and the trial was continually pushed back, the case slipped out of the spotlight. Sha’Teina had mixed feelings.

“I didn’t want to keep rehashing [it],” Sha’Teina said. “But to not be in the forefront, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, they forgot about me, they forgot about my husband and they forgot about my family. They forgot about that incident.’ You know, that’s exactly what the court system wants, for people to forget about what has been done.”

The not guilty verdict was a burden off of the Grady Els’ shoulders and the first step back towards their normal lives, which had been put on hold by the criminal charges; since they were charged, the couple had not been permitted to leave the state.

“Of course I was relieved,” Sha’Teina said. “But it was a lot of emotions, a lot of different emotions at once.”

Though relieved, the Grady Els won’t be putting this incident behind them just yet; the couple filed a lawsuit on May 24, 2022 against the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and the Ypsilanti Police Department. This suit, which claims unjustified use of force against the couple, is still pending.

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Izzie Jacob
Izzie Jacob, Print Editor-in-Chief
Isabella (or Izzie) is a senior at Community and is thrilled to be continuing her journalism career. When she’s not watching Marvel movies or taking 0.5 pictures, she’s usually listening to her playlist, which contains music from M.I.A. to Kendrick Lamar. After school, you can find her objecting in mock trial or drinking a surplus of chai. Her favorite part of journalism is talking about issues that don't get enough attention and advocating for the rights of immigrants and women of color.
Serena O’Brien
Serena O’Brien, Print Editor-in-Chief
This is Serena's third year of journalism, and her second year as a Print Editor-in-Chief. She loves to be outside, whether that's running, hiking, biking, swimming, or just lazing around in the sun. Work takes precedent though, so you're more likely to find her writing, editing, doing copious amounts of math homework, or taking a break to play her mobile game of the week. She is beyond excited for another year in Room 300!

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