GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says he has recommended the city fire three officers accused of letting an assistant prosecutor off the hook for drunk driving.
Sources close to the investigation confirmed Monday that Sgt. Thomas Warwick, Lt. Michael Janiskee and Officer Adam Ickes were suspended without pay in connection to their handling of a reported drunk driving crash involving Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper.
Officials say he was driving the wrong way on Union Avenue and hit a parked car Nov. 19, injuring somebody who was getting something out of it.
Police say Kuiper admitted to consuming alcohol before driving, but he only received a ticket before being escorted to a relative's home. He was not arrested at the scene.
Rahinsky says that the officers will get due process before being let go. No further action will be taken until a termination hearing takes place. No date for that hearing has been set.
The city manager of Grand Rapids, Greg Sundstrom, made his decision to fire the officers last week.
"My decision is not a recommendation. It was made public last week," said Sundstrom.
Sundstrom said he does not take these decisions lightly.
"We are talking about someone's life and a family. So I spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand the facts and trying to reach a decision," said Sundstrom.
According to the Grand Rapids City Charter, the police officers have a right to a hearing.
"After the hearing, a recommendation is made back to me whether the person should truly be terminated or whether they should have a lesser punishment," said Sundstrom.
The police officers are part of a union and by their contract they have a whole other process that they can use to air grievances.
"I think we have a process that tries to afford every bit of due process to our employees to give them every opportunity to explain behaviors," said Sundstrom.
The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing a GRPD internal investigation and Michigan State Police investigation into the crash to determine if criminal charges should be filed.
Kuiper submitted his resignation in December and it will take effect Feb. 1, according to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor Chris Becker said Jan. 6 that Kuiper would not be working out of the office leading up to when his resignation takes effect.