police shooting

Sheriff Jerry Clayton is making changes that emphasize and strengthen the partnership between communities and their police forces.
flickr user Elsa Blaine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The rise in police shootings of unarmed black people, and the sharp rise in ambush-style attacks on police officers, among other factors, have many law enforcement agencies taking a new look at the way they protect and serve their communities.

That's certainly the case with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, where Sheriff Jerry Clayton is implementing "fundamental" changes in staff training and in talking with the community. 

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris sits down with Cynthia Canty for an interview on Stateside.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a story of violence that takes over the news cycle, parents face a challenge: How much do you tell your child? How do you answer your child's questions? Do you wade right into what happened and why? Or do you divert them, and try to give them something different to think about?

For parents of color, these challenges come up with each act of police-related violence on black males, or violence aimed at police officers who are just doing their jobs, such as in Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician doing research on the impact racism, and these racially-charged news stories, can have on children.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s drinking water crisis took center stage at the Republican National Convention today, if only for a moment.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is the only Michigander scheduled to speak from the podium during the convention’s four-day run at the Quicken Loans Arena.

A new study now underway will help determine if police in Grand Rapids is biased when pulling over and searching vehicles.
Flickr user Matthew Sutherland / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0


It’s been a tough week for the nation. It saw numerous tragedies, such as the police shootings that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas that killed five police officers.

These events have heightened unrest between police and their communities, and protests were seen across the country in places like Baton Rouge, Chicago and New York City.

Sgt. Terry Dixon, the public information officer for the Grand Rapids Police Department, joined us to talk about his department's response to last week's tragedies and its effort to bring diversity into law enforcement.

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A suburban Grand Rapids police officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of Lamont Gulley, the Kent County prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday.

In a 15-page report released along with disturbing audio and video footage, Prosecuting Attorney Bill Forsyth says “a review of the facts, and an application of the law to those facts” indicates that “the death was a result of an honest and reasonable belief in the need to act in defense of Officer Hoornstra.”

St. Louis Public Radio


More in this series from Michigan Radio and its Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners can be found at www.detroitjournalism.org

The news has been full of stories in recent years about police killing unarmed African-Americans. Those reports have been disturbing.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

The August 2014 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered long nights of civil unrest. Subsequent police shootings across Michigan and around the nation fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as ratcheting up tensions between police departments and the citizens they are supposed to protect.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters shut down a busy stretch of Michigan Avenue in front of Dearborn Police headquarters Monday night.

They want more answers about the police shooting death of Kevin Matthews.

A Dearborn officer shot and killed Matthews, who was unarmed, after a car and foot chase that ended in Detroit last month. Matthews was reportedly wanted on a larceny charge.

The still-unidentified Dearborn officer says the two scuffled before the shooting.

But Matthews’ family says that’s only one side of the story. They maintain Matthews was mentally ill, but harmless.

Family photo

A watchdog group is calling for a Michigan State Police investigation into a fatal police shooting in Detroit last week.

A Dearborn police officer, whose name hasn’t been released, reportedly tried to arrest 35-year-old Kevin Matthews on Dec. 23.

Dearborn police say Matthews escaped their custody after being detained for suspected larceny earlier that day. He was also wanted on a misdemeanor warrant in a different city.

 A suburban Detroit police officer won’t face charges for shooting and killing a high school senior.

Police in the downriver community of Trenton shot 18-year-old Kyle Baker inside his home in late May.

They were called to do a welfare check on the teen, after school officials reported his “erratic and paranoid behavior before leaving campus.”

Officers entered the home, where Baker advanced on them with a two-foot-long lawnmower blade, according to Trenton police.

The federal agent who shot and killed Detroit armed robbery suspect Terrence Kellom was justified in doing so, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said Tuesday.

Worthy said that following a lengthy investigation, there's no evidence to warrant charging Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Mitchell Quinn with a crime.

Elsa Blaine / Flickr Creative Commons

The  ACLU of Michigan wants state law to be changed so that local prosecutors would no longer handle cases involving deaths caused by police in their home counties.

"We would very much like to see a new system in Michigan that calls for independent prosecutors to be appointed when cases of this kind come up." said Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the Racial Justice Project of the Michigan ACLU.

Kate Wells

Justice still hasn’t been done in the case of a fatal police shooting of a mentally ill man in Saginaw this summer.

That was the message at a community forum this week, where some 200 residents came out to express frustration with local law enforcement, and with the county prosecutor for declining to press criminal charges against the officers. 

Among the mostly African American crowd at the forum, the primary question seemed to be: why was so much lethal force used on July 1st, the day Milton Hall was shot by police 11 times?

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Two months after Saginaw police fatally shot a mentally-ill man, his family and community are still calling for answers.

On July 1st, Milton Hall was gunned down in a parking lot during a confrontation with police. It was captured on a cell phone video and made national headlines, with some media reporting the officers fired 46 times.

Hall reportedly held a knife, though the video appears to show he was several feet away when police opened fire.