Grand Rapids Office of Accountability to receive weekly internal affairs records from GRPD
The Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Public Accountability (OPA) will now have more access to police records, after the city issued an administrative order last week. The order asks the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) to submit weekly records to the OPA. It also gives the office more authority to request additional information regarding cases.
The move comes after OPA Director, Brandon Davis, spoke out regarding relations with the GRPD, saying in a statement that police have not been cooperative in getting his office the documents it needs to evaluate complaints.
"Since our inception, OPA has requested access to documents and evidence associated with internal affairs files in order to increase accountability and transparency and properly monitor internal affairs cases. Despite numerous requests, the police department has not provided OPA with any internal affairs documents – redacted or otherwise – on any case (with the exception of documents provided to the Civilian Appeal Board)," Davis said in a statement on Facebook.
In his statement Davis references a viral video circulating of GRPD officers using force against a Black man during a traffic stop. He called the video "concerning" and a "perfect example" of an incident that his office should closely monitor and evaluate. However, he said the OPA can't do its job without the help of GRPD.
"The unfortunate reality is that GRPD controls access to its records, and they have chosen to withhold those records which prevents OPA from fully doing our job.”
GRPD Chief Eric Payne responded in a statement, noting the financial support his department has given to back the OPA's mission, which includes reallocating $351,815 to the office.
"What has been overlooked is that there are numerous state and federal laws that govern the documentation, storage retention and sharing of police information," Payne said, adding that the records department is understaffed and overtaxed, "...GRPD can agree with OPA’s statement that Grand Rapidians do deserve the accountability and transparency they have been promised.”