GRPD officer punished for unbecoming conduct and abuse of position


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Police Detective Marc Miller found himself in the news when his name was mentioned on recorded police calls regarding the attempted cover up of a traffic stop of former Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Josh Kuiper on Nov. 19.

In the recordings, a former GRPD lieutenant said of the Kuiper case “this one was harder than (Miller).”

The day before Kuiper’s encounter with police, Miller had been pulled over by Kent County Sheriff’s deputies while driving near 84th Street SE and Kraft Avenue near the detective’s home in Caledonia around 1:30 a.m.

According to police records, an off-duty Barry County deputy had been following Miller’s car and believed he was intoxicated.

Just before the close of business Friday, the city responded to 24 Hour News 8’s Freedom of Information Act request releasing the report of an incident from November of last year.

While all evidence shows that everyone else in both the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and GRPD did everything by the book, the detective arrested did try to get some special treatment and said he had done the same for others.

A Kent County deputy noted that Miller’s Town and Country van was weaving and driving 5 to 10 mph under the speed limit.

According to the internal affairs report, the 2013 Officer of the Year showed the deputy his badge and said he was “alright.”

The deputy noted the smell of alcohol, Miller’s red eyes and slurred speech and gave the detective dexterity tests which he failed and then miller was given a breath test three times. His blood alcohol level came out to 0.148, 0.17 and 0.16. The legal definition of drunken driving in Michigan is a blood alcohol level of 0.08.

A Kent County sheriff’s deputy reported that Miller repeatedly told county personnel that he was a GRPD officer with more than 20 years on the job and asked for a ride home.

A deputy said that Miller told him several times that “I’m a brother” and could not believe the deputy was doing this to him.

He also told the deputy that he had “given so many breaks to people over the years.”

The deputy also believed Miller tried to manipulate him into not reading the rights that could have resulted in the arrest being thrown out.

We know now that GRPD personnel discussed how to handle the case on the line they believed was unrecorded, but in fact was recorded.

“He blew a 0.17 which is super drunk, but they’re only charging him with regular OWI,” the unidentified person on the line says. “I said can we get him out early, what do we gotta do? She said a supervisor would have to make that call.”

The discussion also includes how Miller could have been charged as “super drunk” with a blood alcohol content of 0.17 which could have made the penalties more severe.

However, Miller was not given the enhanced charge which is not unusual in cases where multiple tests show different results.

“That case was investigated thoroughly, Detective Miller went through with the criminal process and the internal process, received a significant internal suspension as well as having to go through the criminal process as well,” Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky told 24 Hour News 8 in September.

Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said there is no evidence that Grand Rapids interfered with the process or that there was anything out of the ordinary.

Miller eventually pleaded guilty to impaired driving, he received a sentence of one year of probation fines and costs- pretty much what anyone would get for a first offence.

He also was determined to have committed conduct unbecoming an officer and abuse of position for which he was suspended without pay for 80 hours.

Miller remains on duty.

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