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Michigan Department of Civil Rights issues formal discrimination charges against GRPD

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Michigan Department of Civil Rights
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The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) said the charges filed are in response to two separate complaints that were reported to its department. MDCR is currently investigating 28 complaints of discrimination against the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has filed formal charges of discrimination against the Grand Rapids Police Department. The charges filed are in response to two separate complaints that were reported to MDCR. Both charges center on race-based discrimination.

“We’re basically the civil rights police and people need to know the civil rights police is active and are investigating matters,” John E. Johnson, Jr., Executive Director of MDCR said.

The first complaint was filed by Whitney Hodges on behalf of her minor daughter, Honestie Hodges, who is now deceased. The complaint alleged unequal treatment by the Grand Rapids Police Department towards the Black, then 11-year-old, who was held at gunpoint and in handcuffs upon leaving a house that was under surveillance in 2017. At the time, Grand Rapids Police were in pursuit of a middle-aged White woman who matched the description of a suspect of attempted murder.

The second complaint was filed by Melissa Mason in response to a 2020 traffic stop where GRPD officers stopped Mason, who is Black, over an expired plate. MDCR says though Mason was compliant with officers, she was removed from her car, handcuffed and placed under arrest in a police cruiser for around 20 minutes. Mason was driving with her three children.

Johnson explained, upon investigation GRPD was unable to show that individuals of another race, were treated the same in similar circumstances.

“During the course of information gathering, the complaint alleges that Grand Rapids did not present any evidence that shows they treated White people similarly situated in the same manner, so it’s basically a theory of law,” he said.

An administrative law judge will conduct a hearing on the charges.

MDCR said it’s currently investigating 28 complaints of discrimination filed against Grand Rapids Police Department.

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