On August 26th, three African American youth were held at gunpoint after a 911-call came in from a nearby neighbor stating that two boys with red and black shirts had guns on them, according to the 911 transcript obtained from Grand Rapids Police Department through a Freedom of Information Act request.
GRPD’s Chief David Rahinsky, says that because two of the three youth matched the description given by the caller, they made the decision to stop them.
“If you lived in that neighborhood, would you want officers to stop and if they saw two boys fitting that description who may have been joined by a third individual in the course of our response which is seven to eight minutes, in an abundance of caution, would you want us to make sure that they didn’t have a handgun or would you want us to just outright say, “well, the caller stated specifically two boys.””
Since the incident, an anonymous survey shows a three percent decrease in trust from residents. The survey was done by ELUCD, a company contracted by GRPD to help track the community’s trust and safety for their local police.
“The fact that it is within the margin of error, I think, makes me less concerned.”
Rahinsky says that he does not believe the incident was racialized and says the officers acted according to the youth interaction policy.
“My expectation would be that our officers would have reacted exactly in the way that they did in this instance regardless of the race or gender of the individuals involved.”
In the last year and a half there have been a total of three incidents where unarmed young African American children were handcuffed and held at gunpoint by GRPD.
Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.