Protest Jan. 14 at GPP headquarters: “No Justice, No Peace, Stop Racist Police;” end federal, state tax funding of multi-jurisdictional police forces
Highland Park cop involved in Andrew Jackson, Jr. beating has long record of assaults
Grosse Pointe Park put A.C.T.I.O.N task force together about 10 years ago
By Diane Bukowski
January 15, 2015
DETROIT – Detroit Police Chief James Craig has washed his hands of involvement in the brutal beating of Black Detroiter Andrew Jackson, Jr., 51, by white Highland Park, Harper Woods, and Grosse Pointe Park cops Jan. 12, saying no Detroit officer was involved. The police claim Jackson carjacked a woman and her two grandchildren at gunpoint.
But the question arises: why have Craig and previous chiefs allowed suburban cops free rein in Detroit for years?
The earliest news accounts of Jackson’s beating, caught on cellphone videotape by Detroiter Emma Craig, implied the carjacking took place in Grosse Pointe Park. However, the carjacking he is alleged to have committed took place far from that 99 percent east side white suburb, in west-side Detroit near Fenkell and Evergreen.
“You don’t become a criminal to catch a criminal,” said Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc. during a protest outside the Grosse Pointe Park police headquarters Jan. 14.
“Those cops violated their own standards of safety when they beat Mr. Jackson before searching him. That beating had no place in a civil society; people are innocent until they are proven guilty. It’s sickening the Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief said it was justified, and that Chief Craig cares so little about Detroiters that he said he isn’t concerned about Detroit cops not being residents, and allows suburban cops into Detroit.”
Jackson’s attorney, Ben Gonek, told the Detroit Free Press that Jackson has a “serious eye injury,” and that the police were guilty of excessive force. The videotape shows Jackson being punched and kicked on the ground by two cops, as he calls out imploringly, “Jesus.” An officer kneels on his back and says, “What did you say? Jesus? Are you calling Jesus? Don’t you dare! Don’t you f—king dare!”
The officers then bump fists to congratulate each other, and the Harper Woods officer says “that’s a justified ass whoopin.” (See full video with commentary below.)
Scott expressed doubt about Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief David Hiller’s statement that the cops found a gun in Jackson;s waistband. The full version of the nine-minute videotape, cut short by most news outlets, contradicts that. It shows a white female and a white male cop stand Jackson up to search him, beginning from his feet on up. The white male declares as he is halfway up Jackson’s leg, “Oh, HERE’s the gun.” There is a slight note of sarcasm in his voice.
Jackson is being held by Grosse Pointe Park police on parole violation matters. His record includes four very long sentences imposed for one incident in 2003 involving armed robbery and fleeing police in Oakland County, two cases of receiving stolen property in 1995 and 1997, and two other “inactive” 1999 sentences of fleeing police and receiving stolen property. The Michigan Department of Corrections website says he absconded from parole April 3, 2014.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office has not yet approved a warrant for his arrest on the carjacking incident. The victim of that incident said in two interviews that she supports police actions in beating Jackson, although she does not say whether she identified him in a line-up as the man who carjacked her.
Since the protest, the Detroit Free Press has named Highland Park Sgt. Ronald Dupuis as one of the cops. Their article says he has a long history of assaults in various suburban departments, including tasering a female partner, beating a disabled man, refusing to allow a woman in a jail cell access to a bathroom, forcing her to urinate in the cell, and stalking another woman, repeatedly pulling her over. He was fired from the Hamtramck Police Department for the taser incident, and resigned rather than being fired from the Southgate Police Department for the incidents involving the women.
Dupuis was also sued for beating a man in 2002, with a settlement, and false arrest in 2004. In 2012, he accidentally shot himself in the foot in a police station. (Click on Ronald DuPuis record DV Project for full accounting from a domestic violence project.)
The protest was attended by Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), and over a dozen others.
They included Eric Taylor, who told VOD he was the victim of a carjacking in Grosse Pointe Park on June 12 last year. “I had my wife call the police for help,” Taylor said.
“My friend and I were at a gas station getting a sandwich when my car was taken as I walked back to it. When the GPP police got there, they cut me off when I was explaining, and told me I matched the description of a carjacking suspect. Then they threated to “blow my f—king head off,” told me I was nothing but an animal, called me a n—-r, and told me if I sued they would come and kill my family.”
He showed VOD a cellphone photo taken by his daughter of his head a few days after the beating. He said he still suffers from headaches and other effects of the beating.
Grosse Pointe Park police were involved earlier in a racist incident where they forced a developmentally disabled Black Detroiter, who used to go into the Pointes to collect bottles, to sing and perform for them, then circulated several cellphone videos of the actions.
Grosse Pointe Park founded A.C.T.I.O.N. (Arresting Car Thieves in Our Neighborhoods) about ten years ago, using an initial $350,000 grant from the state of Michigan and funds from state car insurance companies. It originally included only the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, and police departments from Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe City, and Harper Woods. Since that time, other departments including Warren and Detroit have been added according to news reports.
Hiller included names of the Chiefs from all those departments on his press release on the incident, although Craig said he had not seen it.
Detroit has its own task force, however. The Detroit One Partnership announced the formation of a carjacking task force in April 2014, including the Detroit Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Corrections, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Emma Craig, who videotaped Jackson’s beating, said she also saw officers at the scene with I.C.E. (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) jackets.
In addition to the Detroit One and ACTION Task Forces, the State of Michigan has run an anti-carjacking task force called H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts) for the past 23 years.
Numerous protesters of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, MO. Aug. 9 have condemned federal provision of military equipment including tanks, assault weapons, flash-bang grenades, flak vests, and other equipment to city police to carry out raids like the one that resulted in the death of seven-year-old Detroiter Aiyana Jones on May 16, 2010, and assaults on anti-police brutality marches.
“We resent that our public tax dollars are being used to fund such programs,” Scott said. Others noted the money would be far better spent on programs to provide jobs, end homelessness, build decent schools, and repair the infrastructures of the nations’ cities.