The Michigan Department of Civil Rights announced on Monday formal charges of discrimination filed against the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The department says these charges are in response to two separate complaints.

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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Executive Director John E. Johnson Jr. said the community is concerned about bias and discriminatory actions on the part of the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Johnson said the first complaint was filed on behalf of Honestie Hodges, who alleged unequal treatment by GRPD on December 6, 2017.

Johnson said police were looking for a middle-aged white woman, who was a suspect in an attempted murder when police officers pointed their weapons at 11-year-old Hodges who is Black as she exited a house police had under surveillance.

Johnson said Honestie who did not fit the description of the suspect, was compliant, visibly afraid and in tears.

In a second complaint, Grand Rapids resident Melissa Mason filed a discrimination complaint in response to a traffic stop on January 20, 2020.

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The complaint said Mason, who is Black, was stopped by a Grand Rapids police officer for expired plates.  She was driving with three children in the car.

Even though reports show Mason was compliant with officers, she was removed from her car, handcuffed, and held in a police cruiser for 20 minutes.

MDCR said the investigation was unable to find that people of another race in similar situations were treated the way Mason was by GRPD.

In the next steps, an administrative judge will hold a proceeding to consider all the evidence and make a recommendation on whether the evidence shows discriminatory action occurred and what penalties should be given. Then, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission will conduct its own hearing.

Additionally, the department says it is investigating 28 complaints of discrimination filed against GRPD. GRPD has dealt with civil rights issues in the past.

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