Pastors association holds meeting on race and police relations

Police and pastors hold community meeting

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Grand Rapids Association of Pastors held a meeting with the police commanders, to continue the conversation, between the community and law enforcement, relating to race.

This comes after an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed at gunpoint this month, while Grand Rapids Police investigated a stabbing.

The meeting, held at a southeast Grand Rapids school, included not only the GRPD and the Pastors's group, but also the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, city leaders, the Grand Rapids Diversity and Inclusion Office and ALTPACT, Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust.

"Our city has a deep rooted problem and that deep rooted problem is racism," Pastor Nathanial Moody said.

Which is why the GRAP sponsored a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 20. 

"We have zero confidence that the police can police themselves. We feel it necessary to bring in external entities that have significantly greater investigative authority and resources like the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Department Of Justice," Pastor Jerry Bishop said.

The conversation stems from the relationship between minorities and law enforcement. Most recently, the incident involving 11-year-old Honestie Hodges. Police were searching for a suspect involved in a stabbing, when Hodges and two women walked out of a house. Police pointed their guns at the three and all were handcuffed. 

"I didn't feel that there was a violation of policy and procedure, I believed that the officers acted and  behaved as trained so I think that goes to the point of the likelihood that there will be no formal discipline forthcoming," GRPD Police Chief David Rahinsky said.

Even so, Rahinsky has said previously that watching video of the incident made him feel nauseous. 

"What that doesn't mean is that we don't recognize that there's a need for us to look at what occurred and to identify opportunities here to insure different outcomes in the future," Rahinsky said.

Pastor Bishop wants to see more than just a change of procedure. 

"That's like going into a trial and already determining the outcome but that's only because one entity is able to look at it," Bishop said. "We are dismayed that there would even be the possibility of no disciplinary action on behalf of an officer, especially since the process of investigation and discipline is totally controlled by the Grand Rapids Police Department."

The results from the internal affairs investigation will be released by the end of the week.

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