Yesterday’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting had some commissioners squaring off against their own staff over how transparent the commission should be when it comes to misconduct investigation details.
Chief Investigator Jerome Warfield has been regularly providing updates on some of the “escalated” open cases as a part of the meeting’s community impact report.
On Thursday, Warfield talked about investigations involving accusations of police officers using foul language, two officers “roughing up” a 20-year-old man without a reason, and a dog shot and killed by an officer. At past meetings, Police Chief James White has responded to some of the cases and promised discipline where needed.
Commissioner Jim Holley openly questioned the benefit of providing specific details at Thursday’s meeting and questioned Warfield about how he picks cases to present. Warfield responded that cases are those that “fall extremely out of the norm.”
“We want to make sure that the community understands that we have a hand and a pulse on what’s going on as it relates to police misconduct,” Warfield said.
Board Secretary Victoria Shah added that the community impact report highlights concerns that the community has, which include some police misconduct cases.
DPD Assistant Chief Charles Fitzgerald, sitting in for Chief James White, chimed in and said that he doesn’t think it’s right to provide details on an investigation that hasn’t yet concluded, calling it “horribly inappropriate.”
Commissioner Lisa Carter asked if putting the report on the agenda was approved by the entire board. Shah responded the reports were added onto the agenda around the time Commissioner QuanTez Pressley became board chair in July, and that there was no opposition or feedback at that time.
Pressley was absent from this meeting, so Holley said that he would prefer to wait for another meeting to discuss these reports and if any action should be taken against them.
At the end of the meeting, the board discussed police officer suspensions in closed session. Commissioners failed to suspend two officers without pay and delayed the vote on another officer’s case until body camera footage and more information is provided.
Detroit Documenters contributed to this report. Read their meeting notes and live tweets.