Groups file civil rights complaint against GRPD

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Immigrant and civil liberties advocacy groups have filed complaints against Grand Rapids police with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in cases involving people of Latino descent.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center announced the actions on Tuesday. They allege the police department discriminated against a mentally ill war veteran in November and a 15-year-old boy last month.

The groups say in a release the department “can’t be trusted to police itself.”

They allege an officer violated the man’s rights by contacting immigration officials even though he’s a U.S. citizen. They add another officer did the same by drawing a gun on the teen, who jaywalked and pulled away when grabbed.

A spokeswoman for the city says its attorneys will review the complaints once they are received.

The ACLU says it’s launching a “Smart Justice Campaign” to try to combat systematic racism in Michigan and the criminal justice system, as well as cutting the jail and prison population in half.

The ACLU will present the information it’s gathered as part of the Smart Justice Campaign Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the YWCA in downtown Grand Rapids.

***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the event was at the YMCA, not the YWCA. We regret this error, which has since been corrected.***

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