Skip to content

According to the Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association, it is a waste of tax payer money for a Black person to seek justice in this city

September 6, 2022

On Friday, it was reported that the GRPD cop Gregory Bauer, was was found not guilty of discharging his firearm, while confronting someone he believed to be a suspect in a stolen car.

Daevionne Smith, a Black man, was getting out of his car, when the GRPD cop stopped him, then fired his gun, which hit a house. The GRPD cop claims he tripped, which is what caused him to fire his gun. This all happened in December of 2021.

In February of 2022, Daevionne Smith, who had agreed to do an interview with FOX 17, was driving with a carload of people, when arriving to do the channel 17 interview. FOX 17 reported:

“I’m in fear for my life every day. Every day I walk outside the house and I don’t know if it’s somebody on the side of the house waiting for me again. Like, I’m scared. I’ve actually hired a security team to transport me from place to place.”

In late April, Daevionne Smith then filed a lawsuit against the Grand Rapids Police Department and the city of Grand Rapids after an officer accidentally fired his gun. He says the incident has caused him emotional distress, according to a story on WOOD TV 8. 

During the court proceedings to determine if the GRPD cop who fired the shot was guilty of negligence, Daevionne Smith was not allowed to speak, nor offer testimony. The Judge said, his testimony would “distract the jury.” In response, Daevionne Smith was quoted as saying: 

“This is one of the first times I’ve ever felt so powerless, to sit back and actually watch this go on and not able to do nothing about it. Y’all made me feel like I don’t matter. My life don’t matter. Everything that I went through and I’m still continuously going through doesn’t matter.”

Cop Union Response to the verdict

The Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association (GRPOA) didn’t waste any time responding to the verdict. They posted a link to the WOOD TV 8 story, but provided their own narrative at the top, which read:

Never a doubt Officer Bauer would be acquitted.  What a waste of tax payer dollars. Way to go Becker!! Officer Schurr will be the next to be acquitted.

Even though the statement from the GRPOA was brief, it said a great deal.

First, by saying that there was never a doubt that the cop who forearmed his weapon while confronting Daevionne Smith, would be acquitted, demonstrates, 1) a certain level of arrogance that cops are never in the wrong, and 2) an understanding that the laws involving cops in this society, almost always protect cops or give them the benefit of the doubt. 

Second, the cop union claims that the trial was a waste of tax payer dollars. This statement is basically saying that someone who is seeking justice for the harm they have endured, is a waste of tax payer dollars. Seeking justice for a Black man, who has been traumatized from the GRPD cop firing his weapon and has repeatedly stated that he fears for his life is not a waste of public money. The fact that the GRPD union thinks it is a waste of public money, shows their ignorance and their complete disregard for the well being of Daevionne Smith. 

Third, the Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association ends their statement by asserting that the former GRPD cop Christopher Schurr will be the next cop to be acquitted, despite the fact that he shot and killed Patrick Lyoya, after Lyoya had been stopped because his car plates had expired. Again, the GRPOA demonstrates their arrogance, but also their belief that the cop who shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head will be acquitted because the law is in Schurr’s favor, especially around use of force laws in Michigan.

Lastly, it is worth noting that the same lawyer who got the GRPD cop who fired his weapon while confronting Daevionne Smith, is the same lawyer who is part of the defense team for Christopher Schuur, Mark Dodge. In June, the legal team representing Schuur released the following statement: 

We were disappointed to learn that Officer Schurr has been charged with murder by the Kent County Prosecutor. Officer Schurr is a decorated member of law enforcement who has dedicated his career to helping others and protecting the citizens of Grand Rapids. The evidence in this case will show that the death of Patrick Lyoya was not murder but an unfortunate tragedy, resulting from a highly volatile situation. Mr. Lyoya continually refused to obey lawful commands and ultimately disarmed a police officer. Mr. Lyoya gained full control of a police officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, placing Officer Schurr in fear of great bodily harm or death. We are confident that after a jury hears all of the evidence, Officer Schurr will be exonerated.

Such a statement is not only consistent with what the Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association believes, it is reflected in comments from white people in this city, which we documented during the August 23rd City Commission meeting public comments. Daevionne Smith is right to feel like his life doesn’t matter. The City of Grand Rapids and the GRPD continues to affirm that reality, especially when it comes to Black residents in this city. 

%d bloggers like this: