Justice Department to sign pact with Grosse Pointe Park over video scandal

A solemn Michael Scipio looked on at a press conference. (Steve Neavling)

Four months after we revealed videos of Grosse Pointe Park cops humiliating a mentally impaired black man, the city expects to reach a reform agreement today with the U.S. Department of Justice and several civil rights groups.

The victim, Michael Scipio, who has a speech impediment, said police told him he was being recorded for a future music contract. But text messages obtained by Motor City Muckraker show police often poked fun at him and circulated the videos via cell phones.

“Working together, the agencies will help the city train police officers in the latest strategies in community policing,” Grosse Pointe Park wrote in a statement. “In addition, the city is signing a resolution reaffirming its commitment to diversity, human and civil rights.”

After we showed the videos to city officials, they responded immediately, conducted an internal investigation and hired public relations expert Greg Bowens.

Five police officers were suspended without pay, placed on probation for a year and required to attend sensitivity training. At the time, police would only say the suspensions ranged from one to 60 days.

Today’s agreement would require police to undergo training in community policing and diversity. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights also is expected to endorse the plan.

The video scandal shocked many in Grosse Pointe Park, a growingly diverse and progressive community that still suffers occasional setbacks from an ugly past that included barring black people from owning property up until the early 1960s.

Some residents responded by setting up a panel discussion on race relations at 7 p.m. March 20 at the Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church. WDET’s Craig Fahle is moderating.


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.

  • Dust Buster

    us department of justice???? seriously with all the terrible things they do and what they ignore or promote and they get involved in this? sorry but if you need an official training program to learn that mocking a retarded guy is wrong then whats next? follow cops around and you can see that some of them do wayyyy worse than this and they never get popped. note i said “some”

    they are only doing this to appease the race pimps and keep them at bay. also there are 5,900 other much worse injustices visited on detroit blacks every day than a video. the problem is when its black on black these same race pimps dont care and say nothing. when was the last time you saw one of them protest outside a house where a little child got shot by someone that felt disrespected earlier by one of the childs family members?

    happens all the time but all they can do is muster up a candle light vigil and stuffed animal pile. but, get a white security guard or anything else where a black is on the receiving end and blammo…. all sorts of screaming demands etc….why is that

  • Whatever happened with the arrest Mr. Scipio experienced in Detroit for home invasion? Is his arm healing?