Immigration advocates ask city of GR to fire police captain

Feb 27, 2019

Members of Movimiento Cosecha GR during Tuesday's Grand Rapids City Commission Meeting
Credit John Rothwell

The demand to the City of Grand Rapids comes after the American Civil Liberties Union released emails between the Grand Rapids Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The two groups making the demands are Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE.

In the emails between GRPD and ICE, police captain Curt Vanderkooi asks ICE to check the status of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez eight hours after his arrest. Vanderkooi serves as GRPD’s liaison to ICE.

Ramos-Gomez was arrested under a trespassing charge last November. Upon arrest the marine veteran had his U.S passport in his possession. This fact was included in the police report Vanderkooi sent over to ICE officials. After interviewing the U.S. citizen, ICE held him for three days under the threat of deportation. 

According to the GRPD, ICE was contacted because investigators believed it was a potential act of terrorism. Even though, when Ramos-Gomes was arrested Sargent Gregory Griffin made the Federal Bureau of Investigation aware that this was a mental health issue and not an FBI one, according to a text obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU.

In 2012, Vanderkooi was sued by the ACLU on claims of racial profiling against a teenager. The lawsuit was dismissed. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WVGU News.