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Commissioners ask for patience during police investigation

Grand Rapids City Commissioners say they cannot comment on the personnel investigation involving a Grand Rapids Police captain who called immigration agents after city police arrested Latino man on arson and trespassing charges. ICE held the man in a deportation cell for three days until they determined he is a US citizen born in Grand Rapids.
Credit: wzzm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the investigation into actions by a Grand Rapids Police captain continues, the city commission is asking citizens for patience.

“It will take time,” Commissioner Ruth Kelly explained Tuesday, March 5 at a Grand Rapids City Commission meeting.  

“I urge you to be patient as we move through this process and respect the rights of those who are involved.”

GRPD Captain Curt Vanderkooi is under investigation for urging immigration agents to check the status of a Latino man and military veteran after city police arrested him on arson and trespassing charges at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was held in a deportation center for three days until ICE agents realized he is a US citizen. Tuesday night, the city commission heard from residents who support the police captain who contacted immigration and others who want him fired.

“We have a police officer who went out of his way to call in an American citizen to ICE based only on his ethnicity,” Elizabeth Rogers Drouillard pointed out during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting. 

“Curt Vanderkooi is a good man and a good police officer,” countered former city attorney Catherine Mish. “He has been doing this for a long time.”

Because it is a personnel matter none of the city commissioners would comment directly on the investigation involving Captain Vanderkooi.

“I cannot and will not speak to personnel matters related to the ongoing investigation,” said Commissioner Jon O’Connor. “It is incumbent we honor the due process rights of all those involved.”

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