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GRPD intimidates and harasses Latino family in the middle of the night

August 23, 2018

(This report comes to us from GR Rapid Response to ICE, which interviewed family members who were traumatized by the GRPD.)

We got a call today that a Latino man in our community had been targeted and threatened by the Grand Rapids Police Department for allegedly stealing a vehicle. The family called GR Rapid Response to ICE team for support because they were worried that as he is Latino, that he would be potentially falsely charged, detained or event deported.

The following is a series of events beginning in the early hours on the morning of August 22nd.

At approximately 1:30 am in the morning the Grand Rapids Police surrounded the family’s house, and over a loud speaker, demanded that an alleged suspect they were chasing, come out of their house.

Most of the family was asleep inside, but the man’s wife came out with nothing to fear and hoping to help clear up any confusion, to a barrage of police vehicles and officers demanding that everyone come out of the house. She was pulled aside, searched and questioned about her and her partner’s potential involvement with a stolen vehicle that the police chased near to their home. She counted about ten GRPD vehicles on the street.

Then her partner, their small child and other guests were all removed from the house and questioned about their involvement with this stolen vehicle as well.

The police then handcuffed and placed her partner in the backseat of a police cruiser and read him Miranda rights. He was questioned and held in the back of the cruiser for nearly an hour while the police ran his name and his ID through the police database.

They accused him of lying about his whereabouts, and claimed they had personally seen him drive the vehicle, park and exit the stolen vehicle, and run into the family’s home through the back door. They accused him of being out of breath from running.

He “fit the description” of the suspect, except for his clothing, which the police claimed personally witnessing him change through a window in the home.

All false accusations.

The police then claimed that his and her stories didn’t match up and that made the police even more suspicious.

While the family were being questioned outside, several Grand Rapids Police Officers then entered the home, with the sleeping children still inside, to search for anyone else, and for any evidence.

None was found, of course, and police released him and removed the handcuffs.

Before he and the family were allowed to go back into the home, the police officers told him that they were now going to collect fingerprints from the stolen vehicle and come back and arrest him for stealing it.

After the interrogation, body searches, false accusations and holding, the family attempted to comfort their traumatized child who witnessed his father being held in the back of a police car, his mother searched, and his home invaded with his siblings inside.

As far as they could determine, no other people in their neighborhood were treated in this way, and they couldn’t understand why the police would lie and accuse him of committing a crime when he did absolutely nothing wrong.

Once all safely indoors, the family then contacted GR Rapid Response to ICE, a lawyer, and family members for support. He requested that we write this report so that others know about this profiling and mistreatment by the Grand Rapids Police Department.

His wife took photos of his wrists where the handcuffs had been put on too tightly. He also noted that his shoulder was hurt during the detainment and due to a previous collar bone injury he was experiencing physical pain today.

They also expressed that they were worried about leaving their home for fear of being targeted and falsely accused of committing this crime. They also expressed that they were worried about their child’s mental health after witnessing the event. Members of GR Rapid Response to ICE reached out for professional support for the child’s mental health and offered sanctuary as an option as well.

The most disturbing factor is his realization was that the Grand Rapids Police Department lied about seeing him personally commit a crime that he did not commit, and that they could potentially lie again, collaborate with ICE to falsely detain him, and potentially take him away from his family and life here in Grand Rapids.

Many people in West Michigan live in fear of being accused of committing a crime when they have done absolutely nothing wrong. Many immigrants and Latinx folks worry that their families will be torn apart because they are perceived as a danger to society.

A fundraiser may be posted shortly for this effected family’s legal fees should ICE or the GRPD place charges against him.

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