Michigan Civil Rights Commission Reaffirms Commitment to On-Going Investigations of the Grand Rapids Police Department

Contact: Vicki Levengood levengoodv@michigan.gov

DETROIT, MI— The Michigan Civil Rights Commission adopted the following statement reaffirming and committing to the on-going departmental investigations of the Grand Rapids Police Department.

“In her report to the Commission, Interim Director Engelman told us that she recently met with leadership from several different Grand Rapids civil rights groups and learned there is some public concern that the Department may not follow through on its commitment to investigate whether there are systemic civil rights violations within the Grand Rapids Police Department. We want to take this opportunity to assure Grand Rapids citizens and visitors that our commitment is unwavering.

“We understand that recent settlements have been reached involving complaints brought by individuals on their own behalf. Neither the Department of Civil Rights nor this Commission were involved in those settlements, and it is our position that the settlement of individual claims of past misconduct does not limit our ability to look at whether they may be part of systemic problems that must be corrected to protect the public going forward…This Commission is committed to ensuring that the Director we select will continue the investigation of alleged systemic civil rights abuses by the Grand Rapids Police Department to its conclusion, pursue any appropriate remedies, and fully report on the Department’s findings.”

The Department is investigating 28 individual complaints. Those complaints are also included in a broader investigation into systemic bias in the policies and procedures of the GRPD. There is no final timeline as to when the investigation will be complete.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to carry out constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record and physical and mental disability.

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