Po­lice will re­vise poli­cies for traf­fic stops

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY GE­ORGE HUNTER The Detroit News

A Detroit po­lice in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a con­tro­ver­sial down­town traf­fic stop in­volv­ing a po­lice com­mis­sioner has prompted some pol­icy and train­ing changes, Chief James Craig said Thurs­day.

Craig also crit­i­cized those who claimed the June 15 traf­fic stop was the re­sult of racial pro­fil­ing, in­sist­ing that in a city that’s 83 per­cent black, it’s more likely black mo­torists will be stopped.

Po­lice com­mis­sioner and min­is­ter Edgar Vann com­plained at last week’s Board of Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing about be­ing stopped by an of­fi­cer down­town. Dur­ing the stop, the of­fi­cer re­port- edly drew his pis­tol and or­dered Vann to roll down all his win­dows.

Com­mis­sion Chair­man Wil­lie Bell said at Thurs­day’s board meet­ing that the re­sults of a probe by the board’s Of­fice of the Chief In­ves­ti­ga­tor will likely be pre­sented to the board next week. Craig said an in­ter­nal af­fairs in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent is on­go­ing.

Craig said Thurs­day he was con­cerned be­cause the dash­cam in the po­lice car in­volved in the stop wasn’t work­ing. Craig said an au­dit he or­dered af­ter the in­ci­dent de­ter­mined su­per­vi­sors in the Down­town Ser­vices Sec­tion weren’t prop­erly en­sur­ing all equip­ment was op- er­a­tional be­fore each shift, as re­quired.

“There was an over­sight be­cause the ve­hi­cles down­town weren’t go­ing through the same pro­ce­dures as the ve­hi­cles in the precincts,” Craig said. “That will change.”

Craig said in­ter­nal af­fairs of­fi­cers pored through sur­veil­lance video from nearby build­ings show­ing the stop on Larned out­side the Cole­man A. Young Mu­nic­i­pal Cen­ter.

“The thing I took note of is, there were a lot of pedes­tri­ans in the area, and no one seemed to be alarmed,” Craig said. “If a po­lice of­fi­cer makes a high-risk stop with a gun at his chest (as Vann claimed), peo­ple are go­ing to re­spond to that.

“That’s not to say it didn’t hap­pen,” Craig said. “These are still pre­lim­i­nary find­ings.”

Craig added of­fi­cers are trained to hold weapons against their chests dur­ing ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tions, but not dur­ing traf­fic stops.

Vann, min­is­ter of Sec­ond Ebenezer Church on De­quin­dre, was not at Thurs­day’s meet­ing. He asked last week why the of­fi­cer or­dered him to roll down all of his win­dows, but he did not men­tion the win­dows were tinted, which is il­le­gal in Michi­gan.

Craig told the board Thurs­day that of­fi­cers are trained to tell mo­torists to roll down their tinted win­dows so they can see who is in­side.

Craig said he talked with Vann re­cently. “He as­sured me the only rea­son for bring­ing it up was be­cause he wanted to un­der­stand the pol­icy,” he said.

Craig said he will or­der fu­ture of­fi­cers to be trained to “dust off ” mo­torists af­ter high-risk stops, which means of­fi­cers will ex­plain to mo­torists why they pulled their weapons, or took other ac­tions.

“The of­fi­cer should take a mo­ment to ex­plain why he did what he did,” Craig said.

Bell, who be­gan his po­lice ca­reer in the 1970s, said he wasn’t aware of­fi­cers now usu­ally or­der mo­torists to roll down tinted win­dows. “I’m glad we had this dis­cus­sion,” he said.


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