GROSSE POINTE PARK (WWJ) – Grosse Pointe Park is suspending several police officers or their role in the making of a video showing an officer humiliating a mentally ill African-American man.
An internal investigation began after videos, showing one cop asking a man to dance and make monkey sounds, was posted online and shared through social media.
“The five officers identified as being involved, either by taking the video, passing the video around, or failing to report to their supervisor, will be disciplined,” said Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief Dave Hiller on Wednesday.
Those officers, he said, will be suspended without pay for up to 60 days. Each will also face one year probation.
Hiller apologized to the victim, 55-year-old Detroiter Michael Scipio, and the residents of Grosse Pointe Park, saying he’s deeply disappointed by the officers’ actions.
Scipio’s supporters say he was target by police not only because of his mental state, but because he is black.
Bowens has said police will undergo sensitivity training that will and focus on how officers interact with members of the public who are mentally ill. He said the department trying to “get to the root of the problem.”
Community activist Malik Shabazz, who organized a protest over the video, says the disciplinary actions don’t go far enough.
“No, of course not. Those are government officials — police are government officials,” Shabazz told reporters. “I’m totally dissatisfied. No, the people carrying on like that, they should be fired — they should be made an example of.”
“I’m not trying to indict the entire Grosse Pointe Park police, or the system, or all Grosse Pointer,” he added.
Some in the community, including Higher Ground Ministries Pastor Marsha Farrow, offered messages of support to the department.
“I hope actually and truly that nothing changes in the Grosse Pointe Park department, because the way they are right now they take care of business,” she said. “That’s why we who live in Grosse Pointe Park and do business in Grosse Pointe Park do it here.”
All of the department’s police officers are white, according to the Detroit Free Press.