GRPD completes internal review of role in Marine’s detention

Posted at 4:25 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 16:45:10-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department has completed an internal review regarding its role in the arrest of a Marine who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was arrested Nov. 21 after police say he set a fire and gained access to a heliport at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. After his arrest, he was turned over to ICE and held in a detention center in Battle Creek.

A January statement said Ramos-Gomez was being held for possible deportation because he claimed to be a foreign national illegally present in America during an interview with ICE agents.

ICE said he was released Dec. 17 after receiving documentation “suggesting he is a U.S. citizen.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked GRPD to conduct an internal review of its role in the case.

Police say the officer who reached out to ICE following Ramos-Gomez’s arrest did so “solely based on the nature of his actions,” and the officer concluded those actions met the criteria of a possible act of terrorism.

A GRPD statement says the officer, who serves as the department’s liaison to ICE, was consistent with several department guidelines:

  • GRPD policy requires employees to report any suspected criminal activity, including activity that is pertinent to the Department of Homeland Security.
  • ICE has the resources to track travel record to countries associated with terrorist activities.
  • The National Suspicious Activity Reporting initiative encourages local law enforcement agencies to share information with each other, the FBI, and Homeland Security.

“Our police department’s first priority is to keep our community safe,” a GRPD statement says. “We do not enforce immigration laws.

“Contacting ICE is not a routine part of our investigative process. Rather, we did this in light of the potential risk of the public’s safety, specifically through a possible act of terrorism.”

Interim Police Chief David Kiddles said the investigation did determine that the department’s ICE liaison used unprofessional language during his interactions with agents. Kiddles said he has addressed the issue with the officer.

On Jan. 18, Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said she told ICE that Kent County will only hold ICE detainees if ICE presents the sheriff’s office with a federal warrant.