One Bad Apple spoils the whole bushel...
On Wednesday, after the city of Grand Rapids released phone recordings of three officers discussing how they should handle the crash, the law firm said that “our entire community should be outraged and disgusted” by what the officers said.
The officers thought they were speaking on an unrecorded line, but it was actually being recorded. The responding officer told the watch commander on duty, then-Lt. Matthew Janiskee, that Kuiper admitted he had been drinking and was “visibly intox.” Still, Janiskee asked Officer Adam Ickes to pass Kuiper on sobriety tests “if we can.” He also asked if anyone else had seen the state Kuiper was in. Janiskee, Ickes and then-Sgt. Thomas Warwick went on to discuss whether they should make Kuiper take a breathalyzer test and how they should write up their police reports.
One Grand Rapids urban outreach organization says the content of the calls released Wednesday echo what some have been saying for years about interactions with the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“I think the events that came out today kind of also verify what the community’s been saying all along and that is that not all police officers treat all people in the city of Grand Rapids the same way all the time,” Jeremy DeRoo, the executive director of LINC UP, told 24 Hour News 8.
DeRoo says the content of the calls, in which officers discuss how to downplay the apparent drunken driving crash of a then-assistant prosecutor, will mean one step back for GRPD.
“That breeds mistrust with communities and it’s something that has to be taken seriously and addressed,” DeRoo said. “It’s been a difficult year for the credibility of the Grand Rapids Police Department with the traffic study results came out as they did, with some of the reactions to issues that have happened in the community in the spring and this now as well.”
DeRoo said everything that has unfolded this year is why public accountability and transparency need to be top priority for the department’s administration. He recognizes that officials have been working on that with task force teams designed to bridge the gap in public trust.
Let’s, let’s pass him if we can, if we can’t we can’t, Adam. We’re not going to get f*****," the officer said regarding a sobriety test.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The law firm representing the man injured in a wrong-way crash involving a former assistant prosecutor has harsh words for the Grand Rapids Police Department and the city.
Johnson Law, PLC is representing Dan Empson. Empson was injured the night former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper crashed into Empson’s parked car after a night of drinking.
Congratulations have to go to the Mlive Media Group, who had to go to the MI Court of Appeals to get these tapes released. There should be a lot of heads rolling, including every single official who would not release these records to the public. Grand Rapids and Kent County governments are terrible in complying with the FOIA, they will continue being that way until there is some repercussions for violating the act. Unfortunately, their fellow officials serving as judges (who themselves are immune from FOIA), would rather show mercy to them and contempt for the citizens.
Disturbing, however eye-opening, to what is happening behind closed doors without microphones all too often. Thanks for the great thread John, and the great picture Willy, lol.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The fallout continues from the release of the recorded conversations of Grand Rapids Police personnel on a line they believed was private and unrecorded.
But it was recorded and are now public much to the chagrin of the department and police administration.
The fact that there is a stash of previously unknown recordings discussing police matters could have an impact that goes far beyond the case discussed in the portions we have heard so far.
And now, we know that at least one case is getting a second look by police based on what was said regarding the man named the 2013 Police Officer of the Year.
The officers discuss how to avoid giving Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Josh Kuiper a breathalyzer test although he had admitted drinking and police later described him using a vulgar term for drunk.
In the course of the discussion comes this from fired former Lt. Matthew Janiskee:
“And this one was harder than (Miller).”
The reference is believed by Police Chief David Rahinsky and those familiar with the cases, is to Grand Rapids Police Detective Marc Miller.
The day before Kuiper’s encounter with police on Nov. 19, 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.
“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,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky.
The deputy contacted Kent County authorities who pulled Miller over.
Miller’s blood alcohol content via blood test would show a blood alcohol content of 0.16, twice the state law definition of drunk which is 0.08.
He was ordered to serve one year probation and 80 hours of suspension without pay.
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.
“That case was handled the way it should have been,” said Rahinsky.
A year before this incident, on Nov 13, 2015. Miller’s van was involved in a crash with a Jeep driven by 21-year-old Rebecca Workman.
She was with the 6-year-old for whom she is a nanny leaving the Wendy’s near 84th Street and Broadmoor Avenue around 6 p.m.
Miller was leaving the Uccello’s next door.
According to the police report filed by Miller three days after the crash, Workman ran the stop sign and crashed into his car.
The report says attempts were made to contact Workman, but she did not call back.
Workman saw Miller’s name in the reports about the call and said it reminded her that she had a very different take on things.
“I still don’t believe I was the one who was at fault on it,” Workman said. “Everything in me from remembering that night, I don’t remember him having his lights on, by any means.”
She says it seems strange that only his version appears on the official report.
“He didn’t have his lights on, I didn’t remember any of that, but who’s gonna believe me, a 21-year-old versus Grand Rapids police officer of the year?” Workman said.
Again, in the 2015 case, LaJoye-Young said nothing appears out of the ordinary on the property damage crash.
The police chief said the mention of Miller in the recording may raise questions.
“I’m gonna take a fresh look just to make sure,” Rahinsky said.
Until 24 Hour News 8 brought the matter forward, there was no plan to review the incident.
“Whether you wear the uniform or whether you’re in the civilian public, the rules are the same for all of us,” Rahinsky said. “What has come out, has been addressed and that was the exception, not the rule. And that’s what people need to hear and that’s what we need to ensure.”
Miller remains on the force and there is no indication that anything improper happened with him beyond the context of the mention in the recordings.
This is the first case outside of the handling of Kuiper that the department has looked into as a result of the surreptitious recordings, and it remains to be seen if this is only the first of more to come.
The police chief should be fired also. He knew what was going on and did nothing but protect the officers involved. Now that the tape conversation has been uncovered by the MLIVE MEDIA GROUP , everyone involved from day one should be gone for trying to cover up a drunk driver accident with injuries to a innocent citizen. PROTECT AND SERVE, just themselves.
These lying treasonous scum police are now bringing more grief from their corrupt escapades.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Phone recordings between three Grand Rapids officers about how to cover up a drunken driving crash involving a former prosecutor will impact other court cases.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker says at least two of the officers recorded on line 3407 are witnesses in criminal cases that are headed to court.
When you are a witness, your credibility is key, according to Tonya Krause-Phelan of Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School.
These officers are trusted to tell the truth. But then the call recordings came out Wednesday.
>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of fallout from prosecutor’s crash
“It’s a big hit,” said Krause-Phelan. “It’s a big hit because it shows that they (the officers) were willing to bend the rules and that’s not a good position for a police officer to be in.”
The developments in how Officer Adam Ickes, Officer Thomas Warwick and former Lt. Matthew Janiskee handled then-assistant prosecutor Josh Kuiper’s crash is putting the prosecutor’s office in a bad position.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Thursday his office is going through each case and notifying defense lawyers in cases that are affected. Becker says the officers’ involvement won’t lead to any cases being thrown out, but it will give the defense ammunition during cross-examination.
“It’s going to be a procedural hurdle for the police department and the prosecutor’s office to get over in the immediate future,” said Krause-Phelan.
It will be another tool for the defense to use, but only if the jury or judge feels it affects the case.
“The prosecutor’s office may argue that this particular incident is totally irrelevant and falls outside the rules of evidence to attack their credibility in a different case,” said Krause-Phelan.
Becker said Janiskee is likely not a witness in any cases because he worked a desk job, but Ickes and Warwick are. The total number of cases affected are still being calculated.