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ACLU: MI Supreme Court Case Could Improve Police Relations

Reginald Hardwick
The Michigan Supreme Court building.

The Michigan Supreme Court won’t decide if a controversial practice by the Grand Rapids Police Department is constitutional. But it did make a decision that advocates say could improve police relations in the future.

The court declined to decide if police can stop someone and then take their fingerprints and photograph them if the person doesn’t have ID.

It kicked that question back to a lower court, but it did decide a related question.

The court said if police act in an unconstitutional way, the city or municipality can be held accountable. Grand Rapids had argued it should not be sued over policies the department adopts on its own.

“It’s an important win for accountability, responsibility, making sure the police conform to the constitution,” said Miriam Aukerman of the ACLU of Michigan.

Aukerman said holding cities accountable for the police departments could mean a greater partnership between cities and law enforcement.

“As we think about how we repair relationships between police and communities, how we make sure that police are accountable when they engage in misconduct, this decision is critically important,” she said.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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