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It has been more than 2 months since the Civilian Appeals Board voted to overturn the GRPD’s decision on Captain VanderKooi

July 29, 2019

It has been 10 weeks since the Civilian Appeals Board voted to overturn the GRPD’s Internal Affairs investigation of Captain VanderKooi

The Grand Rapids Civilian Appeals Board (CAB) voted 6 – 2, to overturn the decision by the GRPD to return VanderKooi to active duty. On May 15, when the CAB was making there decision to overturn the GRPD’s decision about VanderKooi, there were two overriding themes. First, that the GRPD conducted a weak investigation, which was evident since when questioned by the CAB members, the two cops involved in the investigation either couldn’t answer the questions or had vague responses. Secondly, to many people in the room, even without seeing all the documentation that the Civilian Appeals Board had, it was clear that Captain VanderKooi demonstrated significant bias during the Jilmar Ramos-Gomez case, which is exactly the conclusion that the Civilian Appeals Board landed on.

Towards the end of that meeting on May 15, the City Attorney for the City of Grand Rapids stated that the City Manager will now have the power to determine what to do about Captain VanderKooi.

There have been efforts by volunteer organizers with GR Rapid Response to ICE and Movimiento Cosecha GR to pressure the Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington, but they have not heard anything from the City Manager’s office since May 15.

Since then, it has been known that the City of Grand Rapids was in the process of hiring a new Chief of Police. The City decided to hire Eric Payne, who has been with the GRPD for more than three decades. However, these matters should not have precluded City Manager Mark Washington from making a decision about Captain VanderKooi since the Civilian Appeals Board decision in mid-May.

This failure to act, while ICE not only continues to operate in Grand Rapids, even escalating their terrorism against the immigrant, is completely unacceptable. Captain VanderKooi engaged in racial profiling and racially motivated slander of former US Marine and US citizen Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, when VanderKooi called ICE late last year.

The immigrant community hasn’t forgotten what VanderKooi did and wants to know when justice will be served. The Civilian Appeals Board overwhelmingly voted to not allow VanderKooi a free pass on his unethical and racist behavior. The community demands justice. The community deserves justice.

We encourage people to contact CIty Manager Mark Washington and demand that he fire Captain VanderKooi immediately: 616-456-3166 or

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