GRAND RAPIDS – The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is holding public hearings to address the long-standing and entrenched issue of discriminatory policing by the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD). 
The ACLU of Michigan, led by Senior Staff Attorney Miriam Aukerman and Racial Justice Attorney Mark Fancher, is submitting written comments to the MDCR. 
The ACLU routinely receives complaints about abusive and discriminatory policing by the GRPD. The individual incidents are deeply concerning, but perhaps even more troubling is the way in which these incidents are embedded into policies and practices that allow police to act on conscious or unconscious biases in their work.
These incidents include:
  • No Trespassing Letters (Hightower v. Grand Rapids)
  • Photograph and Print (Johnson v. VanderKooi; Harrison v. VanderKooi)
  • Contacting ICE Based on a Person’s Ethnicity, and then Demeaning Him Based on His Disability (Jilmar Ramos Gomez)
We have written to share background information for the MDCR's investigation based on the ACLU's work, to suggest areas for investigation, and to outline promising approaches that we believe should guide police reform work in Grand Rapids. 
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights public hearing will be on Thursday, March 28 2019 from 1pm to 4pm and 5.30pm to 8.30pm. It will take place at the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP at 1530 Madison Ave SE.