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GRPD faces scrutiny over how it mistreated yet another innocent black kid

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids Police Department station

Community members are speaking out about the latest incident of police using abusive force in Grand Rapids.

Last week, an innocent 11-year-old black girl was held at gunpoint, searched, and handcuffed.

The police were looking for the Carrie Manning, the girl's aunt. Manning is a middle-aged white woman.

Alisa Niemeyer, the girl’s grandmother, says the Grand Rapids Police shouldn't treat children this way.

“We can't have any more of our children losing their innocence and being traumatized by situations like this,” Niemeyer said.

Niemeyer just wishes her granddaughter could be a "normal kid" again, but doesn't think that will happen soon.

"We are getting a little better everyday, but it's sad to see her not want to go outside or talk to her friends. She'll probably be afraid of police for the rest of her life," she said. 

Amanda Brunzell is a Grand Rapids resident who spoke about the incident at the city commission meeting.

She says seeing the video compelled her to go speak at a city commission meeting for the first time.

“I can't imagine my niece going through that, I can't imagine any of my three nieces going through that,” Brunzell said.

The city's police have come under scrutiny for their treatment of black citizens several times in the past.

The department has launched an internal investigation into the incident.

Police Chief Dave Rahinsky says no child should have to fear the city's officers.

“So we've got work to do. We've got work to do as a profession, we've got work to do as an agency and we've got hard discussions to have as a community,” Rahinsky said.

At a press conference yesterday, Rahinsky showed the video footage of the altercation and warned that it is hard to watch.

“The screams of the 11-year-old, they go to your heart. You hear the mother yelling from the steps 'that's my child' and that's our community's child,” he said.

Grand Rapids police came under scrutiny earlier this year for holding several young black boys at gunpoint.

The department is currently having an outside agency review its policies to work against racial bias.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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