LIVONIA (WWJ/AP) – Michigan State Police plan to investigate a complaint that one of its officers detained a U.S. citizen and turned him over to federal authorities because of his appearance and language skills.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on Wednesday announced it sent a letter urging an investigation into the February 2011 traffic stop in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
Forty-one-year-old Tiburcio Briceno of Grand Rapids said he was driving in his work van in Livonia last month when he was pulled over for running a red light. Instead of issuing him a traffic ticket, Briceno said the officer put him in handcuffs, started interrogating him about his immigration status and even threatened to have him deported.
Briceno said the van was impounded and he was turned over to Customs and Border Protection despite showing a chauffeur’s license and insisting he was a U.S. citizen. The ACLU said Briceno was born in Mexico and speaks limited English.
State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue said in a statement the department doesn’t support, teach or endorse racial profiling.
Briceno and attorneys with the ACLU are asking the State Police to apologize for the alleged actions of the officer, reimburse him $105 for the van’s towing costs, and review their policies on how they deal with minorities and immigrants. Briceno is not filing a lawsuit or asking for compensation.
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