racial bias

WMU faculty uncovers racial bias in jury selection

Nov 7, 2019

Researchers Whitney DeCamp and Elise DeCamp were first inspired to study racial bias among jury selection processes after listening to the second season of the American Public Media podcast In the Dark. In that season, journalists investigate the case of Curtis Flowers. A Black man who was tried six times for the murder of four people in Winona Mississippi in 1996. 

“And several of those times he was found guilty and they were later overturned on appeal because of the prosecutors using race to try and dismiss Black prospective jurors from the juries.” 


“We still have not reconciled our past and some of the things that are going on today. What we are recommending is that we need to start a racial reconciliation process. The first part of that process is the acknowledgement process of the role that police have played historically and continue to play in this country, in this community and in communities of color.” 

According to a recent study by Wallet Hub, the city of Grand Rapids ranked 206 out of 500 when it comes to ethnic diversity. 

“So just looking at Grand Rapids, about 72% of the city was born in the state of Michigan," Wallet Hub researcher Jill Gonzalez said. "That’s higher than usual. Usually we see that number from 50-60% of that in-state of residents’ birthplace. When we’re looking at those born in a foreign nation it’s a little bit higher than the state average at about 10%.”

University of Michigan

An administrator who said she was illegally fired after raising questions about racial profiling at University of Michigan hospitals settled her lawsuit for $375,000. 

The deal between the university and Dr. Carmen Green was made before a Dec. 5 trial. The university didn't disclose the amount at the time, but The Associated Press obtained a copy of the check Friday.

Grand Rapids Police Department body camera
Courtesy photo, GRPD / grcity.us

A local law enforcement study on traffic stops moves forward in Grand Rapids.

The upcoming study analyzes Grand Rapids Police Department traffic stops for signs of racial bias. It’ll be performed by Lamberth Consulting and follows up a 2004 study also done by the firm. 

A series of community meetings are planned in August for more information about the study, methods of information-gathering and what to expect.


Grand Rapids officials review funding to analyze Grand Rapids Police Department traffic stops for potential racial bias.

The study is part of a 12-point policing recommendation plan issued by City Manager Gregory Sundstrom at the beginning of 2015.

A $157,810 funding request for the study, performed by Lamberth Consulting, is up for vote at Tuesday city commission meetings.

It’s an update to a 2004 analysis, also performed by Lamberth.

Grand Rapids Police Department body camera
Courtesy photo, GRPD / grcity.us

One of the largest municipal police departments in Michigan begins implicit bias training on Tuesday.

The training encompasses all sworn Grand Rapids Police Department officers in rotations over the next seven weeks.

It was identified as one of 12 policing recommendations from city manager Gregory Sundstrom’s office in early 2015, and will cost the department just under $50,000.

The GRPD says the eight-hour training focuses on identifying, understanding and combating subconscious or unknown judgments, beliefs and attitudes.