‘We’re all family,’ says victim of humiliating videos by Grosse Pointe cops

A mentally ill black man who was the subject of humiliating videos captured by Grosse Pointe Parks police emerged during a protest today and appeared overwhelmed by the response.

“We’re all family,” the man, who had trouble enunciating, told more than a dozen reporters.

The man, whose identity was not released, was among several black people who were filmed by police while they asked the men to sing and dance in demeaning ways.

One text message, with a photo of a black man, read, “Got to love the coloreds.”

No officers have been disciplined yet because the investigation is ongoing, said Greg Bowens, a media-relations expert recently retained by the city. The city has about two dozens officers, none of whom are black.

Dennis Levasseur, a city attorney for Grosse Pointe Park, said that Bowens had been asked to speak due to growing community unrest.

“Residents of the Park are upset.  I live in the Park. Greg lives in the Park.”

Bowens reiterated Levasseur’s sentiment that the videos have struck a nerve in the Pointes.

“You go from one end of Grosse Pointe Park to another, you feel it,” Bowens told us. “People in their hearts, they’re hurt.”

About two dozen protesters of various racial backgrounds converged outside of the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Headquarters on Jefferson.

“We want the Grosse Pointe Police Department to give justice to this man,” protest organizer Malik Shabazz said. “This is a human rights violation. This is a civil rights violation.”

Among a collapse of news reporters, Shabazz stressed that the videos pushed beyond the boundary of acceptable conduct and mandated disciplinary action.

“We want the police department to fire whoever was involved,” Shabazz said.

Echoing the civil rights movement of the 60s, Shabazz also called for a public boycott of Grosse Pointe Park businesses until the matter was resolved.

Since we broke the story Friday, people nationwide have expressed outrage that police officers in the 21st century would demean black, mentally ill men on video.

Locally, however, some residents weren’t surprised.

“When I heard about these videos … I wasn’t shocked one iota,” said Kris Hamel, who lives in East English Village along the Grosse Pointe Park border. “I see black people getting pulled over all the time, in inordinate numbers.
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