Activists deliver petition to Snyder calling for state police director's removal

Backers got 85,000 people nation-wide to sign the petition.

LANSING, MICH. - Activists on Friday delivered to Gov. Rick Snyder's office a petition signed online by 85,000 people nationwide calling for the removal of the director of the Michigan State Police over a controversial post she shared on her Facebook page.

Friday's action followed Snyder's announcement Thursday that Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue will be required to work five days without pay for sharing a Facebook meme that criticized as "anti-American degenerates" NFL players who sit or kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

"That's not enough," said Denzel McCampbell of the liberal group Progress Michigan, which joined with the national racial justice organization Color of Change in collecting the online signatures, of which he said nearly 4,000 came from Michigan residents.

►More: Gov. Snyder: State police director to work 5 days without pay over Facebook post

Scott Roberts of Color of Change said in a telephone news conference said "this is about way more than a Facebook post." Roberts said "this is about dangerous leadership and lack of accountability," which he said contributed to the Aug. 26 death in Detroit of 15-year-old Damon Grimes. A state police trooper fired a Taser at Grimes from a moving patrol vehicle, in violation of MSP policy, after which Grimes crashed the ATV he was driving and died.

Etue has twice apologized for the Facebook post, but Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, said on the conference call that the apologies did not go far enough.

►More: Michigan State Police director to 'double dip' with salary plus pension

Sharing the meme showed an appalling lack of cultural sensitivity, especially given the nature of the NFL protests, Love said.

"These gentlemen took a knee — the most peaceful protest I can think of," Love said.

Snyder also announced on Thursday plans to review the culture of state government across all departments, examining inclusiveness, sensitivity training, implicit bias, use of social media and police recruitment.

"Our office received the petition on behalf of the governor this morning and will see that it is reviewed," Snyder spokeswoman Tanya Baker said.

Both the governor's office and the MSP declined requests to release the report on the MSP's internal investigation into Etue's Facebook post.

The Free Press filed a Michigan Freedom of Information request with the MSP Friday requesting a copy of the report. Snyder's office is exempt from the FOIA.

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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