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Grand Rapids Police captain suspended for 2 days after calling ICE on citizen

Capt. Curt Vanderkooi will also no longer serve at the GRPD's liaison to ICE.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Police Capt. Curt Vanderkooi was suspended for two days after he called immigration officials on an American citizen and veteran. 

The police department confirmed Tuesday that Vanderkooi served his suspension without pay. He has also been directed to attend additional training over the next 60 days. 

RELATED: Grand Rapids Police to reinstate captain who called ICE on veteran

Vanderkooi was the focus of a controversy earlier this year after he contacted ICE about Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, who was arrested after trespassing on the roof of Spectrum Health. Ramos-Gomez was detained by immigration officials for three days.

The American Civil Liberties Union accused Vanderkooi of racially profiling Ramos-Gomez. 

RELATED: Citizens Appeals Board reverses GRPD decision

RELATED: ACLU accuses GRPD of racially profiling Marine veteran who was arrested and nearly deported

Initially, the Grand Rapids Police Department cleared Vanderkooi of any wrongdoing and he was reinstated after being on administrative leave for two months. However, the city's civilian appeals board reversed that decision, leaving it up to City Manager Mark Washington to make the final decision. 

GRPD Chief Eric Payne said he enforced Washington's decision to suspend Vanderkooi for two days. Payne said the captain will continue as the commander of the Investigations Division. However, Vanderkooi was removed as the GRPD liaison to ICE and the responsibility for determining U-visas was reassigned to the records department. 

The Grand Rapids Police Command Officer's Association, the union that represents officers, said they are filing a grievance with the department over Vanderkooi's suspension. They said the discipline was "unwarranted."

The GRPCOA also claimed the city manager offered to "exonerate" Vanderkooi in exchange for his retirement. However a city spokesman disputes that claim, saying they never asked Vanderkooi to retire. 

The city provided the following statement regarding the matter:

Captain VanderKooi was not offered exoneration in exchange for retirement. City Manager Mark Washington never contemplated exoneration – nor did he ask for VanderKooi’s retirement. Washington shared his decision (two days) and Union reps were interested in keeping the captain’s record clean. Washington told them that if he resigned, then there would be no disciplinary action to take.

The police union said Vanderkooi plans to retire in 2020. 


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