Grosse Pointe Park and Northland incidents call for greater accountability

FEB 5, 2014, 10:30 AM 

Grosse Pointe Park and Northland incidents call for greater accountability

Metro Detroit has a notorious reputation nationwide regarding police brutality and misconduct. The recent firing of a Warren Police officer for forcibly cutting the hair of a detained woman, who later had criminal charges dropped against her, is but another in a long line of incidents over the years. The Warren Police are to be applauded for taking action which severed its relationship between the force and the offending officer. The same cannot be said in two other incidents, which took place not long ago.

About two months ago, five officers from Grosse Pointe Park were suspended and put on probation for racial charged videos in which Black men were directed to dance and make chimp sounds. Based upon the maximum 60 days suspensions for the culprits per a statement from Police Chief David Hiller, it appears that all of those offenders are back at work. This is unacceptable.

And though Northland Mall security officers are not trained law enforcement, we can include some of them as having not faced proper consequences for the recent death of a Black male in his mid-twenties in their custody. That those officers who pepper-sprayed and manhandled a shopper, which led to his death, yet they are still on the job, and that the mall manager has shown zero remorse for what his staff did are equally unacceptable.

The three incidents stated above were all caught on camera and shown on television. Only one of them was handled correctly, which was by the Warren Police. The behavior of the Warren officer and the Northland security officers, however, should also warrant criminal charges from Macomb County and Oakland County prosecutors.

As citizens have a responsibility towards society, officers of the law and guards also have a duty to keep the peace, not terrorize community members. There is a problem within law enforcement culture in Metro Detroit, especially towards young Black folks. Part of the process of shifting this culture must be a projection of zero tolerance for abuse by officers. Firing officers who commit misconduct on camera and following up with charges should be part of this process of change.


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