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September 04, 2018 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

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Human Rights Commission calls for AAPD accountability

Ann Arbor residents gather at the Human Rights Commission meeting to discuss the formation of a review board for the AAPD at Ann Arbor City Hall January 10, 2018.

Seventy Ann Arbor residents
called for increased accountability
and transparency from the Ann
Arbor Police Department at the Ann
Arbor Human Rights Commission
Wednesday. This comes after several
local incidents of police brutality,
and institutional responses many
residents view as insufficient.
Because of the unprecedented
number of residents in attendance,
a member of the fire department
stopped by on an anonymous tip to
move the HRC to the City Council
signs with slogans such as “Civilian
Police Review Now!” and “No false
Difficulties with relations between
the AAPD and the Ann Arbor
community erupted in 2014 when an
AAPD officer shot and killed 40-year-

old Aura Rosser, a Black woman, after
the officer claimed Rosser had moved
towards him with a knife.
Rosser’s death was not the only
example of the AAPD’s questionable
use of force. Since Rosser’s death,
numerous incidents such as the
violent arrest of Ciaeem Slaton at
the Blake Transit Center, the rough
handling of University of Michigan
student Dyshon Toxey and alleged
students during tailgates have led
residents to question whether these
are issues of race and how the AAPD
can be held accountable for their
Residents have reacted to the
tenuous relationship between the
police and citizens through various
protests and initiatives calling for
a new way of policing the AAPD.
While the Ann Arbor City Council
initially responded to the uproar in
early 2017 by approving a $200,000

contract with a consulting firm,
Hillard Heintze LLC, many residents
considered the unsatisfying, and even
Long-time Ann Arbor resident
Shirley Beckley expressed frustration
with the long-standing impasse in
relations with AAPD.
“This is not a problem we should
still be struggling with,” she said. “We
should not still be struggling with
issues from the 1970s.”
She addressed City Administrator
Howard Lazarus later in the meeting.
“I don’t trust you,” she stated. “I
don’t trust the police. No one has
apologized for killing Aura Rosser.
Not yet. But you ask us to trust you.
Trust is earned.”
Transforming Justice Washtenaw,
a group that advocates for restorative
incarceration, opened the HRC
meeting with members Lori Saginaw
and Julie Quiroz reading a statement

they sent to the mayor, City Council,
city administrator and HRC prior
to the meeting. The statement
requested the formation of a Civilian
Police Review Board instead of the
“Co-Produced Policing Committee”
the city is pursuing.
“We call on the Ann Arbor City
Council to take immediate steps
directing the city administrator
to put in place a Civilian Police
Review Board that is independent,
adequately funded, based on the
specific features outlined below. This
CPRB should be in place no later than
January 2019,” Saginaw said.
Several HRC members, including
Dwight Wilson, shared a sense of
“We need to stop dancing around
and just do this. We have all kinds
of people telling us to do it, and even
if we didn’t, common sense should
tell us that we need to protect the

citizens,” Wilson said.
The HRC formally proposed a
CPRB a year after Rosser’s death in
2015, and again with a unanimous
statement in July 2016. AAPD chief
Jim Baird, on the other hand, blasted
the idea in the summer of 2016,
before a third-party review would be
too hasty.
“Because the commission’s report
blends the national discussion with
the Rosser incident, I have concern
that there may be an appetite to
address national issues and concerns
with local policy,” Baird wrote
in a memo. “To presume that the
Ann Arbor Police Department’s
practices are not ‘positive’ and that
a review board is the best way to
‘ensure future adherence’ absent
any supporting reference is ill
advised...(civilian oversight) becomes
a mechanism for people who are

police departments to become more
disenchanted, because all they see is
the problem.”
Throughout the meeting residents
emphasized the importance of a
review board comprised of residents
rather than the Hillard Heinze
which would include commissioners,
policemen and council members.
doubt regarding the effectivity of a
CPPC. The CPPC cannot conduct
investigations and can only review
from outside investigations via the
AAPD’s Office of Internal Affairs,
working as a third-party liaison
between the public and the police.
The residents argued a Civilian Police
Review Board would take a more
direct approach.

Daily Staff Reporter

Teen arrested at Blake Transit
Center, sparks local uproar

Family seeking an apology
after a 16-year-old Black boy was
arrested at the Blake Transit
Center Tuesday night. The incident
was first reported in a press release
from the Collective Against White
The press release detailed an
incident where Ciaeem Slaton, a
student at Pathways to Success
Academic Campus in Ann Arbor,
was reportedly confronted by an
Ann Arbor Police Department
officer while waiting for a bus.
The officer, who is also Black,
demanded to see Slaton and his
friends’ school ID cards, though
they had not received their physical
IDs from the school yet. After
the initial encounter, the officer
reportedly dragged Slaton by his
backpack into the station.
An accompanying video shows
Slaton being arrested while other
teens tell Slaton to comply with the
“The officer drew his taser
which appears to be pointed at
Slaton,” the press release read.
“After the video, Ciaeem was given
a ‘trespass’ charge, which means
he is not allowed to use the Ann
Arbor or Ypsilanti busses or be at
the bus station for an entire year.”
Slaton was released from police
custody while still at the bus
The Slaton family is asking for an
apology from AAPD and the officer
in question for the arrest. They are
also asking for compensation for
Slaton’s reported physical injuries
and for his charges to be dropped.

According to the release, Slaton
needs to use the bus system to get
to school — as a result, the Slaton
family sees the trespass charge as
unfair to his education.
According to MLive, Jim Baird,
the Ann Arbor Police Chief, wrote
an email to Ann Arbor City Council
and explained the video footage
took place before the arrival of
additional police officers.
“Any use of force by Ann Arbor
receives a review at three levels
in the organization,” he wrote.
“In addition, because some of
the inquiries I received could be
characterized as complaints, a
personnel complaint has been
initiated and will be investigated
by our professional standards
Anna Lemler, a University alum
and organizer with Collective
Against White Supremacy, said
CAWS has reached out to Slaton’s
mother for support; they have
offered to help with grocery
shopping, contacting media outlets
and raising funds for legal costs.
Lemler said there were officers
stationed in the area surrounding
the Transit Center to respond
to a fight that happened earlier.
Lemler said she thinks that is why
there was a larger police presence,
though she believes there are
usually one or two AAPD cops
stationed there that are hired by
the Transit Center.
“It sounds like there was some
high energy because of that fight
and so he got there for a different
reason, to take the bus home, and
the cop said, ‘You need to leave,’”
she said. “So he started to walk

away from the crowd and the cop
came up and approached him
again, and that’s when he asked for
his ID.”
understanding that because Slaton
was asked to leave, he was charged
with trespassing.
“I didn’t understand how he’s
trespassing as a resident of Ann
Arbor in a public bus station,
waiting for a bus to go home, but it’s
because the officer had said that he
needed to go, that because he didn’t
(leave) quick enough or something,
that’s what the trespass charge is,”
she said.
She explained because Slaton
didn’t have his ID, the officer did
not know that he was a minor.
“Even though he’s a Black
cop, he is still an individual that,
by his profession, is trained in
policies and practices that are
institutionally racist and target
youths of color,” she said. “Even
though he’s Black, doesn’t mean
this isn’t a part of institutional
racism. These young people at the
Transit Center are harassed all the
time by cops and by security there
so this is a repeated issue ... Ann
Arbor is full of white liberalism,
and I am white, and I think many
white folks in particular want to
believe that racism doesn’t exist
here, but it definitely does.”
Protests against police brutality
have been prevalent in Ann Arbor
since the 2014 shooting of Aura
Rosser. Rosser, a Black woman
with a mental illness, was killed by
an Ann Arbor police officer.

Daily News Editor

Black students speak out against
overpolicing in Ann Arbor

University of Michigan student
Dyshon Toxey doesn’t smile much
finishing his degree in cognitive
science and mathematics, and
is involved in a number of
development programs for fellow
first-generation students. Toxey is
Black, and said he often took pride
in his perfectly straight, groomed
set of teeth to build connections
in Black circles and beyond — he’s
known as a community mentor
with an easygoing demeanor and
an even easier smile.
That is, he was until last
April, when Toxey was detained,
body slammed and handcuffed
alleged disorderly conduct at the
SpringFest concert headlined by
Toxey recounted event staff
asking him and his friends — all
Black students — to fill in the
front rows of the concert, then
being asked by security guards
to leave shortly thereafter. When
a white Ann Arbor police officer
him, Toxey, who admits he was
intoxicated, said he panicked.
“I ran,” he said. “There was
no one to protect me, no one was
videotaping. I really was not
trying to get into an altercation.”
When Toxey came to a stop near
the Panera on North University
Avenue, he said the officer threw
him to the ground and kneed him
in the back, knocking a tooth out
and spraining Toxey’s wrist in

the process. Toxey said he was
later transported to the University
Hospital and released hours later,
with stitches, crutches and a bill
totaling nearly $7,000 in medical
fees. The University’s Division of
Public Security and Safety notes
the case as closed in its crime
log. Toxey, the report details, was
taken to the emergency room for
“treatment of injuries sustained
during a fall when he was fleeing.”
parents, Toxey didn’t inquire into
his record; he wanted to brush the
incident aside, take his final exams
and return to his family and home
in Harlem, New York. He said
he was never notified about his
charges again.
“(The cop) kept saying, ‘I told
you not to run,’ ” Toxey said. “ ‘I
told you not to run.’ And then I
never heard anything from them
A few other Black students
who were present at the concert
corroborate Toxey’s account, but
they agree on more than just his
take on the night’s events. Toxey’s
fate was not surprising to them.
The Black community on campus
and in Ann Arbor, many students
claim, is more frequently and
aggressively policed in student
life than other demographics at
the University. More stringent
little to close the gap between
Black students’ lives outside of
the classroom and mainstream
Michigan experience.
Many lament that few qualifiers
especially Black men. For all of

LSA freshman Rashan Gary’s
acclaim as a highly recruited
defensive tackle on the football
team, he said he witnessed similar
stereotyping while interviewing
an Ann Arbor Police Department
officer for a class project on
community relations. The cop
said, if he had seen Gary, 6’5” feet
tall and 287 pounds, on the street
late at night without context, he’d
have reason to be scared.
“He was straight up about
it, that I could be dangerous or
something,” Gary said.
The suspicion is then often
institutionalized. As recently as
two weeks ago, in a carjacking
case in downtown Ann Arbor,
AAPD Detective Lt. Matt Lige told
MLive the suspect was described
as “a light-skinned black male.”
The department arrested a white
17 year old for the crime three days
and African Studies, pointed to
the mistaken identity case as a
microcosm of larger systemic
discrepancy in policing, she said,
is something she’s been aware of
since she began working in Ann
Arbor in the early ’90s.
“What do we do with our
tall men … or our darker men?”
she asked. “There’s a double
consciousness for Black students
that’s always resting on your
shoulder. Your party’s going to be
shut down … even when it’s in the
(Michigan) Union. You’ve got to
walk more delicately, and you
have to be twice as good.”

Managing News Editor

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