United Kingdom

Discrimination charges filed against GRPD for 2018 incident

GRAND RAPIDS – The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is filing a discrimination suit against the Grand Rapids Police Department for an incident that occurred in 2018.

The charges come a week after the family of Patrick Lyoya, a Congolese refugee who was shot and killed by a police officer in April, filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids and the officer charged in the shooting, Christopher Schurr.

The new charges are based on two of 21 separate complaints filed after MDCR held two public listening sessions in Grand Rapids following Lyoya’s death in which people spoke about their experiences with GRPD. Two other charges were filed against the department in July.

The new charges stem from an incident on August 26, 2018, when GRPD officers were called to the Griggs Street SE and Alto Avenue area for young teens with a gun based on a 911 call. John Johnson Jr. – executive director of the MDCR – emphasized that the caller said “toy gun” several times.

“It’s important to note that first of all, there was no report of a crime. There is nothing illegal about two kids walking near train tracks with what the 911 caller repeatedly identified as a toy gun,” Johnson said.

Officers found three black minors who “fitted the description”. The minors were 11-year-old twins and a 17-year-old. GRPD officer Joshua Cudney told WOOD TV-8 in August 2018.

Johnson said the boys followed orders.

“Despite their obedience, the boys were held at gunpoint by several officers, including one with a high-powered rifle,” Johnson said. on site by concerned local residents.”

Johnson claims that even though the boys told police they were underage and provided contact information for a parent, GRPD continued to detain and question them “for about 20 minutes without contacting their parent or guardian” after they failed to find any weapons or illegal contraband. had found.

Subscribe:Get all the latest news and unlimited access to our local coverage

A judge will determine whether the evidence demonstrates discrimination and what penalties, if any, may be imposed. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will also hold its own hearing, which could lead to corrective action and monetary damages.

A spokesperson for the city issued a response to the announcement of charges on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

“We are aware of today’s announcement by the MDCR. The charges have not yet been served on us. We will review the allegations and respond appropriately.”

This article originally appeared in The Holland Sentinel: Discrimination charges filed against GRPD for 2018 incident