State civil rights department investigating Grand Rapids police

Posted at 1:09 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 16:07:53-04

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) announced Tuesday they are investigating 23 complaints of discrimination against the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The state held two sessions in Grand Rapids in March to hear from residents about their concerns with GRPD. The MDCR says they heard from more than 80 residents.

“We have an obligation under law to neutrally investigate all complaints of discrimination that fall under our jurisdiction,” said MDCR Director Agustin V. Arbulu in a press release.

Michigan law prohibits discrimination in employment, education, housing, public accommodation, public service and law enforcement. The discrimination cannot be based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, genetic information, marital status, familial status, height, weight and arrest record.

The MDCR says the person making the claim and GRPD will be able to present evidence in all 23 cases.

The city released this statement late Tuesday afternoon:

“Our police department is committed to transparency and we welcome a review by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Our doors are always open for anyone who wants to see how we are doing our job and offer ideas for how we can better serve our community. We take all concerns brought forward by community members very seriously – whether it’s through our Internal Affairs process or an outside agency. We have clear expectations for how our officers conduct themselves and interact with community members. We take our impartial policing policy very seriously and, as such, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our department. We look forward to continuing to work with our community to build and strengthen relationships. We want to be a trusted community partner for everyone who calls Grand Rapids home.”

– Grand Rapids Interim Police Chief David Kiddle