In April 2019 the ACLU of Michigan filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) based on the discriminatory treatment by the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) of a 15-year-old Latino youth. The teen and his friend were walking on a quiet residential street in Grand Rapids when Officer Austin Diekevers approached them with his hand on his holstered gun, told them to put their hands on their heads while he checked if they had warrants, and then, when the teens tried to leave, drew his gun on the youths.
Our complaint coincided with several other high-profile incidents of racial profiling by GRPD officers, and community outrage over such selective enforcement of jaywalking laws against children of color helped spur demands for police reform. The MDCR, after holding several listening sessions in Grand Rapids, announced an official investigation into systemic racism by the GRPD in May 2019.
(ACLU Attorneys Miriam Aukerman and Elaine Lewis; Cooperating Attorney Anthony Greene.)