ACLU asks GRPD to investigate police role in Marine’s detention

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 00:02:23-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — The Grand Rapids Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit will investigate what part the department may’ve played related to the recent detention of a U.S. Marine veteran by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

However, interim GRPD Chief David Kiddle said in a Facebook response Thursday evening that the police department “cannot complete a fair and thorough review by January 29th, as requested by the ACLU.”

The GRPD is the local police agency that originally was in contact with ICE in the case involving Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, the Grand Rapids-area resident who was held in an immigration facility awaiting potential deportation. GRPD and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office have said that enforcing immigration laws is not within their jurisdictional purview.

Chief Kiddle says the case is a “high priority” for the GRPD and the city. Ramos-Gomez, 27, is a Michigan native/U.S citizen.  In December, he was held in an ICE detention center in Battle Creek, after being taken to the Kent County Jail on charges of trespassing and damaging a fire alarm at Spectrum Health.

“We are committed to fairness and justice for all of our community members,” says Kiddle in the Facebook post. “We hope we can work closely with the ACLU toward that end.”

Ramos-Gomez was released from the detention center in Battle Creek after personal records were provided to ICE, according to the ACLU. ICE issued a statement in mid-January saying “ICE officers interviewed Jilmar Ramos while he was in the custody of local law enforcement. Mr. Ramos claimed…to be a foreign national illegally present in the U.S…”.

ICE says it received from Ramos-Gomez’ attorney on December 17th documentation “suggesting he is a U.S. citizen.” That’s when Ramos-Gomez was released.

Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young announced January 18th that she had notified ICE that Kent County will only hold ICE detainees if ICE presents the sheriff’s office with a warrant issued by a federal judge.

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington appointed David Kiddle as the GRPD’s interim chief on December 19th, replacing former Chief David Rahinsky, who stepped down from that position December 18th to begin the retirement process.