Grosse Pointe Park police undergo sensitivity training

Grosse Pointe Park police under fire for videos of mentally challenged man

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. - "People make fun of people and it's not cool," said Greg Bowens, a public relations specialist and Grosse Pointe Park resident. 

Bowens has been brought in by the city to help it manage a troubling crisis involving it's police department.

The department is under fire after videos surfaced on the blog showing a Grosse Pointe Park police officer videotaping an African American mentally disabled man that officers often have contact with.  The videos have gone worldwide and now many believe the officers involved are racist for making fun of the man. 

The officer who shot the video has apparently owned up to his actions and he's been taken off his road patrol and may face further discipline.

However, Bowens says other officers got the video and sent it to people in and out of the department, instead of speaking up about the videos.

Bowens says that shows a culture of insensitivity within the department.

"The environment that allowed for it to happen has got to be addressed," Bowens tells Local 4.

Bowens says the department will address it by ordering sensitivity training for the officers. Reports indicate that the training will focus on officers dealing with the mentally disabled.

We asked Bowens if the racial sensitivity training will also be included.

"It most certainly will be included," Bowens says.

Where's Grosse Pointe Park police chief David Hiller during this firestorm that has hit his department?  He met with protestors that rallied at the administration building last week, but Hiller has made no public comments about the actions of his officers.

Local 4 asked the chief to explain those actions and what's happening within his department to correct the issue. We were told that the chief was in a meeting and was unavailable.

Bowens says a news conference will be scheduled this week where the chief will address a number of questions surrounding the scandal.

"Pretty soon here, the department is going to be taking responsibility again for it. They're going to be announcing some reforms in relationship to it and they're going to be talking about the punishment that's involved," Bowens says.

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