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Michigan Department of Civil Rights to hold hearing on GRPD incidents

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A state agency is planning to hold a hearing in Lansing next week to address incidents involving Grand Rapids police.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, will hold a hearing March 28 in Grand Rapids to hear from people involved in the altercations and determine if it will take further action.

The meeting’s exact location has yet to be determined, but will include a split afternoon with two sessions: 1 to 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“We want to be responsive to the fact that we know people are upset,” said Agustin Arbulu, executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. “And we want to be able to indicate we’re not ignoring the fact that you are upset. So we want to hear what you have to say.”

On Monday, Grand Rapids Interim Police Chief David Kiddle made a presentation to address two incidents where residents recorded police in confrontations with other residents.

One happened March 11 when an officer stopped two teens for walking in a street where a sidewalk was available. Police said the teens didn’t cooperate with the officer and that one of them reached behind their back, prompting the officer to pull out his firearm.

Kiddle said it was a “textbook example” of how officers are expected to conduct themselves.

Another incident happened March 17 where police say a driver didn’t cooperate with commands, leading to an officer striking the man repeatedly during the arrest. The officer was placed on paid administrative leave for escalating the situation “beyond what was necessary.”

Grand Rapids police have also faced criticism for their role in a former Marine being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement following his arrest. A GRPD captain was placed on leave while the city investigates whether he was disciplined properly for using racially-charged language in an email to ICE.

An internal investigation cleared Capt. Curt VanderKooi of wrongdoing in the case, and said the email was addressed.

“There sure appears to be some issues with the Grand Rapids Police Department,” said Arbulu. “So we’ve got to dig further and try to figure out what’s going on here, and try to really change the culture of a police department that appears to have limited and lack of trust from certain segments of the community – primarily the African American and Hispanic communities.”

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9 comments

  • steve

    I wish that the ‘cop cams’ worn by the officers was able to hear what the alleged victims are saying in situations like these.what we hear isn’t dialogue, but monologue. We can hear what the cops say, but what the ‘victim’ says is anybody’s guess. It might be interesting.

  • Old Bob

    Who cares what the civil rights commision wants. If they are not happy here they can always go back where they came from. No one is forcing them to stay. I’d be happy to help pay their way.

  • Old Bob

    Our new Police Chief should be willing to stand up for the silent majority here in Grand Rapids and tell the cry babies to get a live. If our past police chief hadn’t been such a kiss butt. we wouldn’t be in this position now

    • lml25

      Bob,it comes down to the mayors–Heartwell and Bliss.They believe,if they coddle the minorities,the minorities will vote for them.Watch how that works out when a black decides to run for mayor.

  • Tim

    Many people today think they are “Car Proof” and do not hesitate to walk right in front of moving traffic expecting them to stop. Then you hear of an increase in Hit and Runs, car and pedestrian. Let them walk in the street, it’s the best way to get rid of them.

  • C

    I’m so damn sick and tired of seeing the onus for all this racial crap constantly being placed solely on the cops. Liberalism and political correctness have given some people the opportunity to scream racism at every turn, and they take advantage of that to the detriment of everybody. If there’s racism on the part of the police, is that any worse than the disdain and lack of respect that some people have for the police? I don’t think so.

  • lml25

    If the blacks weren’t breaking the law at such high ratio,compared to whites,the cops wouldn’t have to get involved.Then,they always resist–mostly because they have warrants on them already.

  • Bud

    The Civil Rights people should be investigating why people who come in contact with the police don’t follow the officers’ directions. Democrats have done a great job of indoctrinating the weak minded into believing THEY are victims. Doesn’t matter what they do or don’t do – they are the victim.

    • steve

      Bud, the civil rights people don’t have an unbiased view of the problem because they believe that, in addition to the accusers, they are victims as well.

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