muckraker report

Grosse Pointe cops demean mentally ill man on camera (video)

A mentally ill man was the primary target of racially charged videos captured by Grosse Pointe Park police officers, the Motor City Muckraker has learned.

One officer, who quipped about “the coloreds” in a text message, sent at least six videos of the same mentally ill man singing or stuttering on command. Sometimes the subject was in the back of a squad car; other times he was approached by police and told to perform for the camera.

At times he looked annoyed or embarrassed.

Police are conducting an internal investigation based on videos and text messages we’ve received.

We broke the story Friday after confirming that more than a dozen demeaning videos of were sent and forwarded from the phones of Grosse Pointe Park police.

The story has gained international attention but has been virtually ignored by the local media.

Grosse Pointe and Detroit have a complicated, ugly history – and the disparities between the communities are stark. Until the 1960s, Grosse Pointe made it virtually impossible for African Americans to buy property, and prejudices lingered.

Today, the Pointes are 85% white, while Detroit is 83% black.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Merle Anderson

    you’d think the police would have something more important to do with their time, like fighting crime. Its disgusting and disgraceful what they did here, and they should be fired completely. Who knows, you might see these same so called officers on the street one day in the same condition or worst. What goes around comes around. To the reporter, a big pat on the back, keep reporting these lowlifes and don’t pay any attentiion to these idiots who wish to ignore truth or make excuses for truth, they’ll have their day too.

  • kingSr313

    Maybe one day, if someone had some real balls they will cunduct a investigation on the police not only n michigan but all over the usa. The police are taking things to far nd get away with it every time

  • M_Young

    “Today, the Pointes are 85% white, while Detroit is 83% black.”

    And the Pointes are prosperous, while Detroit is, well, Detroit.

    Not a coincidence.

  • The Truth

    What this officer did is beyond wrong and unprofessional regardless of the race of the people involved but posting the videos online in the first place did not continue or even possibly start the humiliation of the man being video taped? Pretty sure it did. Not to mention, I have yet to read a comment on here that is in support of you and your story. There were many other ways of getting to the root of the problem without excess media attention, you ended up embarrassing this man further! YOU are also to blame and should be ashamed of yourself for adding to the problem instead of solving it in a morally sound and professional manner. Also, what does the percentage of black and white residents in Detroit and Grosse Pointe have anything to do with this situation? Would you like me to list the racial breakdown of every city surrounding the Grosse Pointe communities? Probably not, considering it’s not relevant at all, just another poor attempt to fill the huge gaping holes in your “investigative report”. The police chief of Grosse Pointe Park is still trying to figure everything out, yet you claim you know it all, amazing. One…maybe two, officers in ONE of the FIVE points screwed up, why drag the entire population of Grosse Pointe down because of that? That’s the equivalent of blaming the entire population of Detroit for the horrible crime rate it has, except in that scenario there are a hell of a lot more people at fault than in this one.This is a human rights issue overall, NOT a race issue and this is not an accurate representation of the Grosse Pointe communities. It seems to me that you are the one who is condoning the separation between blacks and whites by pointing out information from the 1960’s for Christs sake, again…where is the relevancy in that? Since you just seem to be a real history buff, were you also aware that it was also “virtually impossible” for African Americans to purchase homes in DETROIT in the 1960’s and even leading in to the 1980’s? Clearly you did not do enough research and went on to present information that resembles that of swiss cheese. This piece of garbage you wrote is missing so much information and has errors that can clearly be pointed out by doing a simple Google search, nice job! Sometimes I wonder how people such as yourself can sleep at night. Next time you set out to gain personal attention for yourself and your low life blog, not humiliating another human being in the process would be a wise idea and I encourage you to take that into consideration.

  • jes poster

    It is amazing to me that on a subject that is this clearly wrong, whether the person was black/white, male/female that the main argument here is race. Whoever the officer was who recorded this was wrong plain and simple, his actions were terrible and unprofessional. For the people who insist on blaming the journalist or the poor man in this video, the journalist just found the story the officer is the guilty party here anyway you cut it.

  • Charlavell J Simon

    the officer that recorded these videos is a disgrace to the uniform…no matter how you try to justify his actions, they were wrong in so many ways…he doesn’t have the right to treat ppl that way no matter what the color of their skin instead of videoing the man he should be trying to get him help…cops are no longer here to serve and protect the citizens instead they are here to harass and humiliate the citizens in an unlawful way but somehow these officers seem to get away therefore they think its ok…how would these officers feel if they were being treated less than human, would they enjoy it

  • bob

    this was dumb. thanks for wasting my time that i will never get back. the cops didnt “make” that man do anything. this is a washed up reporter trying
    to get 5min. of fame through racism. hope u can sleep at night knowing you’re a scumbag

  • Claire Carr

    Mr. Neavling, the fact that you call yourself an “investigative journalist” is beyond appalling. First of all, exactly what “investigating” did you do to write this article? Did you investigate into the background of the man that was videotaped? No, because you did not even address him by name. Did you interview the man featured in the videos? Obviously not, because if you had talked to him for even a minute, you would have heard the songs he sings-even without the implied force of a badge.

    Was it wrong to tape the man singing? Perhaps. But calling an entire department “racist” because they videotaped one man’s VOLUNTARY antics is unfair as well as irresponsible.

    Is it not the first & foremost duty of a journalist to report the facts? By the looks of this “article”, you are just another disgusting excuse for a reporter seeking recognition by breeding hate through blatant misrepresentation.
    Congratulations on your 15 minutes of relevancy.

    • Anonymous

      Since Neavling was fired from the Detroit Free Press in 2012, he has since become not just a reporter, but an INVESTIGATIVE reporter. HA! He doesn’t deserve either of those titles. How about this one, Steve: chief instigator/embellisher

    • GP For Life

      You just made it rain knowledge up-in-here!

      Steve, are you going to address any of these allegations or answer any of these questions? I mean, you just got called out, son. Are you going to hide behind your mama’s skirt or come out blazing the truth?

      By the way, why hasn’t anyone interviewed the subject of the videos?

      Oh, snap!

      • Lane

        He has mental disabilities, it is hard to get him to talk about things unless he is comfortable around you, and even in that case it is a challenge. He has told me that he feels hurt, I speak to him all of the time. He is really a man full of love and appreciation for life. Have a heart.

        • GP For Life

          Let me ask you this, do you think the cops aren’t arresting him and prosecuting him because they don’t like him? I mean, the guy is blatantly breaking the law, doesn’t the law apply to everyone equally?

          • Lane

            How is he breaking the law? The only lawbreaking he may do includes j-walking, maybe disruption or disobedience. And in each of those cases he is unaware of what he is doing. He would never do anything destructive or harmful. I think it’s illegal to video tape someone with out consent, harass and dehumanize them.

          • GP For Life

            Well, I am not a lawyer, but drunkenly urinating on my trashcan in broad daylight is probably against the law. Also, being drunk and disorderly is probably against the law too.

            It’s not illegal to film/record someone in public, where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Their consent is implied by them being out in public. Though, I am not a lawyer.

            The harass and dehumanize aspect is interesting. I think from what I have seen so far, nothing is abjectly illegal. Poor taste? You bet. Unfortunately, poor taste isn’t illegal in this country. If it were, the Kardashians would be on death row, and rightfully so. Again, I am not a lawyer.

            Just so you’re clear. I don’t really approve of this behavior, by everyone involved. The cops. The media. The subject of the videos. I think people are making this a bigger deal than it is for their own personal gains. Ask yourself this, who is worse, the man who took the videos or those using a mentally-ill man for their own agenda?

    • Lane

      This man’s name is Michael. He said to me once that they don’t treat him like a human. I see Michael everyday, i talk to him, he is loving genuine and harmless. I know that the Grosse Pointe Police is filled with a lot of racism. I once witness a black man being stabbed in Grosse Pointe on Lakepointe and Mack. Inargueably, the location was in Grosse Pointe. The police did not ask his name. The other witness (who watched the event in full) was black and they questioned him briefly. They took me aside, to ask me “now, what really happened?” First, I told them the name of the victim, and explained the story. They did not write a report. They did not publish the story in the paper. And, later when Detective Loch came to speak to my classroom i asked him why this story was hidden. Why the man was practically ignored, and not asked his name? Why did the police question my safety as a good Samaritan, and not the safety of the man stabbed in the back and mugged by seven men. The police did not decide to look for the perpetrators, even though two witnesses saw where they went. I am continuously sicked by the lack of empathy in the city that I live in. This is really pathetic and diheartening to hear this kind of defense. I have seen Michael being antagonized by policemen. He is defenseless, and constantly dehumanizing such a great character is sad.

  • will

    What do you expect from bacon

  • GP For Life

    “At times he looked annoyed or embarrassed.”

    I can confirm that the man in question always looks annoyed. It’s like his default emotion. Probably because he’s a surly alcoholic.

    • GP For Life

      Can you tell me when these were recorded?

  • churchchurchliquorstore1

    oink oink!

  • RadioRon

    “… singing or stuttering on command.”

    “… approached by police and told to perform for the camera.”
    Could we see this part of the videos please?

  • Mark Paxton

    My Son is a Police Officer. He will tell you without hesitation this is “NOT” a fair demonstration of how 99.9% of Police Officer act or feel about those thay come in contact with. Mr. Neavling wants his name in the headlines for his 15 minutes of fame.

    • only1adrian

      Because he is your son and you love him, you are only forced to believe what comes out of his mouth is the truth. In the real world, most cops are dirty scumbags who don’t even know the law they are supposed to uphold and make their real money through kickbacks. Im not saying your son is that guy, Im saying this IS a fair demonstration of who pigs really are.

      • Mark Paxton

        I lived in Pontiac near Gross Point a good part of my life. Some Police were on the take. They hassled us for stupid stuff (Being out after curfew.) while Drug Dealers were dealing drugs right accross the street. The dealers were paying the same cops to look the other way. We all knew it. However most of the Police were good. I remeber one white officer who stepped in front of a bullet for a little black girl and ended his career. Officer Ed we called him. He was the reason me and my 4 Brothers stayed out of trouble most of the time. I didn’t find out until I had kids of my own that he was my Mother’s main source of information. How she found out about half the stupid stuff I did. I wish I had someone watching out for my Kids like that when they wetre growing up. As far as my Son. I completly understand why you think my opinion would be the way it is. If you knew either or both of us, neither of us would say or accept a comment like that if it were not true. Can’t prove it, however…

        • Oberyn_Martell

          i respect that your son chose to serve us as a police officer and expending their lives for others is a gift we cannot return. But don’t try and hose anyone here saying living in Pontiac gave you a unique perspective on Grosse Pointe. That dump is not anywhere near GP borders nor within the same social strata.

        • GP For Life

          You better recognize the silent “e’s” around here, son. If you’re going to pretend that you lived anywhere near Grosse Pointe you better up your skill set.

          Also, I wouldn’t care to speculate how your mom came by this information from Officer Ed, but it might explain the concern he showed.

  • motwngrl

    GOOD JOB! I just saw this story attributed to the City of Detroit and DPD on THE ROOT, so in the interest of fairness and accuracy I think the headline should say Grosse Pointe Park not just Grosse Pointe which is a totally different PD.

  • bebow

    If zero credibility on the witness stand doesn’t faze these law enforcement character defects and their enabling department, then perhaps a flurry of lawsuits will do it.