GROSSE POINTE PARK (WWJ) – The Grosse Pointe Park Police Department is continuing to investigate videos that show officers allegedly humiliating a mentally impaired black man; and ordering him, among other things, to sing songs and act like a monkey.
Grosse Pointe Park spokesman Greg Bowens wouldn’t discuss specifics of the videos, but said they came as “a surprise and a shock to everybody” and are “hurtful all around.”
The alleged victim is 55-year-old Michael Scipio of Detroit who said he often came in contact with Grosse Point Park officers when he lived at boarding house on the edge of the city.
Sometimes, he said, they would give him a ride. But at some point they betrayed him.
“(The officers) played me like a fool,” Scipio said. “I knew they had it in their heart to humiliate me.”
Bowens would not say whether anyone has been disciplined.
Lawrence Brooks of Grosse Point Park, with his 2-year-old daughter in tow, was among about three dozen protesters outside the Grosse Point Park Public Safety office on Wednesday.
Why would he bring a child?
“She needs to know the importance of equality for people, and the proper treatment of others,” Brooks told WWJ’s Pat Sweeting. “You know, keep your hands and feet to yourself, no name calling, treat people the way you wanna be treated.”
“The people inside the (police department) building, they’re supposed to take care of you, and you’d expect them to feel the same way — not put you down or make fun of you,” Brooks said, adding that when he and his wife saw the video, it made them cry.
Community activist Malik Shabazz, of the Marcus Garvey Movement said this is a clear case of racism and “a human rights violation.”
Shabazz said he had a “productive” meeting with Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Director David Hiller — but that was just a start. His group wants the officers fired.
“We want justice. He said he wants justice,” Shabazz said. “As a gentleman I’m going to take him at his word. But as Ronald Regan used (to say) — I’m not a fan of Ronald Regan — but he used to quote the old Russian proverb: ‘Trust everybody but verify.'”
Resident Helen Shrebernek said she doesn’t believe the officers involved meant any harm.
“Are they looking back and maybe thinking, maybe we shouldn’t have done that? Maybe,” Shrebernek said, “but I don’t think they did it with malicious intent at all.”
“I think they’re a bunch of really good guys here; they work hard,” she added. “I don’t think anybody in Grosse Pointe Park would say that they, you know, were against the police. They all know that whenever they need a response they get it right away within a few seconds.”
A statement issued by the police department said it “does not tolerate unprofessional conduct by its officers.”
The videos in question have not been made available to WWJ.