Officers of Grand Rapids who stopped wrong vehicle and seized a black man forcibly arrested by city and exonerated by police. Police officers of the city who found the wrong car were arrested for the first time
GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- The Grand Rapids police officers who stopped and dragged a man they believed were someone else had been exonerated by the department's Internal Affairs Unit earlier this year.
According to a report recently obtained by MLive/The Grand Rapids Press through requiet from mLive and The Grand City Press, the Internal Affairs Unit in June concluded that two officers were justified in initiating the May 2 traffic stop on the city's Southeast Side, and that another three officers had been justified with their use of force during the arrest, which included knee strikes, according to the report obtained recently by the Mlive/the Grand GrandsPress through the Freedom of Information Act request.
Although police arrested the wrong person, city attorneys charged him with assault, battery, resisting, or obstructing a police officer -- essentially stealing ten days of jail and/or up to $500 fine. According to the Internal Affairs report, the suspect resisted officers as they tried to arrest him.
The charge against him was dismissed on September 1, after completing four hours of required community service through the city's diversion program. City officials did not comment on whether the arrest or charge will appear on a criminal record search, but they stated that there is no criminal conviction as compared to the incident.
According to the IAU reports, the incident could have been avoided if officers had asked for his identification during the traffic stop, according to police.
Investigators at the IAU say officers asked for his name at least twice, but didn't receive an answer. This occurred during a high-risk traffic stop in which police had guns drawn on the vehicle and were positioned more than ominous away from the driver's side window, during which officers were called to armed forces.
Because they were looking for a suspect who had previously pointed saftigat at people before fleeing, officers treated it as 'high-risk traffic stop' because they sought for him, they saw armed munitions at persons before flying. The only thing the man shared with the suspect was that he was Black driving a silver four-door pickup, which naived policiers. The men were dressed in a variety of colored costumes.
The man shouting at officers that they were arresting the wrong person in a video of the incident, showing nearby family and friends, blazing at them as they arrest him.
Commissioner Robert Womack of Kent County highlighted the exoneration of the officers as another example of Grand Rapids Police Department's internal accountability system that requires reform.
He said that city officials are more concerned about making sure they won't be sued than about ensuring that officers are held accountable.
I believe these are some excellent officers who made a mistake -- good people make mistakes -- but it's our duty downtown to hold these employees accountable and put them on the proper path," Womack added. And by not calling them accountable, they creates a danger for the community and the police." Because everybody knows what happens (in Internal Affairs), this is all that will happen.
In Internal Affairs, there will never be any justice for Black people in the inner circle for the community.
Related: GRPD training is being questioned after Black man is imprisoned forcibly despite police stopping the wrong vehicle lane braking.
Womack, who represents a portion of the city's Southeast Side on the county commission, referred to the incident months ago when he posted cellphone footage of it to his Facebook page. He added that officers need better training to ensure that these errors are resolved without escalation.
Womack remarked, "This is horrifying." They have the right to stop him as a result, but you don't have to treat him like he is portrayed as an infraction until you get something new. In America, it's affecting American individuals too much. I really want to see police relations improved. I'm not a fan of defunding police. But these kinds of situations in the area sparked the interest in community, and they ask, Should we have police in our community or not?.
The incident aired around 6:40 p.m. Soon after officers were dispatched to a residence where armed men pointed arrows at people on May 2 shortly after they were sent to the scene. Witnesses told police that the suspect, who was also Black, drove off in a silver four-door pickup.
While officers spoke with witnesses, one identified a passing silver four-door pickup as the one the suspect had driven off in. Officers pulled the truck a mile away after it parked in the driveway of ostracized residence in Willard Avenue SE, asking the witness numerous times if they were sure.
They weren't aware that the man driving that truck was picking up his wife in his mother-in-law's wake, and that he had no connection to the incident.
He and his wife were caught in the wake and bonded out that evening on charges of threatening and obstruction of an officer. He had no drugs or guns on him, nor warrants for his arrest.
MLive does not name the man who was misidentified and arrested, but it will have been dropped after four hours of community service.
Without an answer from the person who wasn't the one who officers were looking for, officers had guns drawn on the vehicle and gave him commands to depart the truck. The man asked police if he was under arrest, and the man said apologies for the incident.
According to the IAU report, officers had acted in accordance with policy and under reasonable belief that the vehicle driver committed the crime and, without any response from the driver saying otherwise, were able to conduct a legitimate traffic stop.
Familie and friends from the region took a picture of Womack's incident to the camera.
While it doesn't show the whole incident, as officers, police cruisers, and foliage blocking a portion of it, it does show tyrannical man walking backward and uneori sideways towards police with his hands on his head.
He then drops to his knees -- an order by officers -- but appears towards them rather than away with his hands down, something police said in their report was a blatant disregard of commands. Officers noted in their report that the man was distracted by the crowd in the vicinity.
He stood up as one of the officers arrived to arrest him. Officers say that's when he began hesitant to them.
According to IAU documents, the man told police after the incident that he was down until he saw the officers rushing to him, as if they were going to tackle me, or kick me, so I stood back up. Investigations by the IAU found it a violation of judicial authority.
An officer grabbed his arm and the pair briefly sped around before another officer stepped in, grabbing his other arm, after he stood up. Both officers struck him with their knees to get him to drop to the ground.
The man was taken to the ground and handcuffed several moments later.
Officers used very little force in comparison to the level of resistance they received, the IAU report concludes. The force officers used were trained techniques and objectively reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances, the statement stated.
Womack called the incident a last straw and stated that he plans to march with activist group Justice for Black Lives at saturday's protest. That protest is being held over a recent viral arrest of another Black man by GRPD.
It's sad that the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability hasn't been given the total power to handle such situations, he added. And thats why when everything else fails, you have the people marching, protesting and seeking for justice from the City Hall, searching for Justice from police department, because we havent been able to find justice within this system.
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