Department of Civil Rights files new charges against Grand Rapid police

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 11:04 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2022 at 5:14 PM EST
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WILX) - There are new charges against the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD).

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) announced new charges of discrimination against the GRPD on Wednesday morning. In complaints filed by Juanita Ligon on behalf of her two minor children, an impartial investigation conducted by MDCR found that the GRPD unlawfully discriminated against the claimants by treating them unequally based on race.

The new charges from the Department of Civil Rights on Wednesday are stemming from a single incident that affected two kids.

Background: Officers’ handcuffing of twin boys, 11, under investigation

The charges allege unequal treatment based on race by the Grand Rapids Police Department in August of 2018. The department is currently investigating 28 separate complaints against the police department and plans on filing charges on each of the complaints.

“It is important to note that one, there was no initial crime reported,” John Johnson Jr., Executive Director of The Civil Rights Department, said during a news conference held via Zoom. “There is nothing illegal about children walking near train tracks with what the 911 caller identified repeatedly as a toy gun.”

Johnson also stated that the children were stopped half a mile away from the initial location within minutes of the 911 call. He said police detained the boys despite the children sharing their ages and contact information for a parent and complying with officers’ commands.

“The Grand Rapids Police Department was unable to show evidence of any white children who were similarly held at gunpoint, handcuffed, searched, placed in a squad car and questioned in response to a 911 call and no allegation of a crime,” Johnson said.

In July, the department brought formal charges of discrimination against the department in two separate complaints.

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