NewsLocal NewsGrand Rapids


Calls for police reform heighten after Breonna Taylor announcement

Kent County investing $2 million for body cams, GR vows to make changes
Posted at 8:41 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 22:46:46-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The issue of police reform remains in the spotlight heightened by the Breonna Taylor grand jury announcement.

Breonna Taylor’s family called for police reform and policing changes while speaking at length in Grand Rapids Wednesday night.

“Until we get legislative changes then Breonna will have died in vain,” Breonna Taylor’s Cousin Tawanna Gordon said to hundreds of people at Rosa Parks Circle.

“[The grand jury decision] was not the end all be all, it will be the end all when Breonna’s Law is in every state and every city in this country,” Gordon said.

That law, which has passed in Louisville, bans no knock-warrants. On top of that Taylor’s family is also calling on the city of Grand Rapids to make additional changes to their policing.

Sharing that sentiment with GRPD Chief Eric Payne before an emotional moment, later adding they want to be a part of that change.

You can see the family's full remarks on FOX 17's Facebook page.

The city in a statement says they will honor Taylor by continuing to re-imagine policing in Grand Rapids.

Meanwhile at the county level on Thursday, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office announced approval of more than 2 million dollars to equip all officers with body cameras and upgrade cameras in all their cruisers.

“Our uniformed officers out on the street our law enforcement officers will be wearing them, and then we'll also have some additional body cameras available for our undercover. Our detective bureau, our tactical teams when they're doing citizen type contacts,” Kent County Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt said.

The move pushed for by Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young in an effort to increase transparency, accountability and makes sure officers use “proper and effective law enforcement practices.”

“This was absolutely her pet project. She felt passionate and strong about it, and through conversations, and the times that we’re in. It was absolutely agreed by the board of commissioners that right now was the right time to move forward with the project,” DeWitt added.