Grand Rapids City Commission moves to strengthen civilian appeal board
November 17, 2021
The board reviews “complaints of use of excessive force, falsification and lying, civil rights violations, hostility, discourtesy, racial animosity or prejudice and other conduct unbecoming of an officer.”
In 2020, there were 76,281 calls for service. Of those, only 0.41% (less than one half of one percent) resulted in any type of use of force. Over 99% of calls had no use of force involved. Want to learn more about this and other stats on police operations? Check out the 2020 Annual Report
A follow up to a previous post about working at home and the tax implications. In a typical pre-COVID year, about 45% of total income tax collections in Grand Rapids come from those who live outside the city.
In April 2020, inside a local, Ottawa County, MI sandwich shop, my client expressed his opinion regarding the Governor's COVID orders .... and was charged with "disturbing the peace," a misdemeanor under MCL 750.170. We moved to dismiss the charge on 1st Amendment grounds arguing that the statute was unconstitutionally applied against my client in a manner that unconstitutionally punished his 1st Amendment rights of free speech and expression in a public place.
In its opinion regarding our motion to dismiss, the Court denied our motion, but limited the prosecution to only presenting evidence of his "threatening" conduct (of which the State's witness had already testified in an evidentiary hearing Mr. Steffes did not threaten her).
The prosecution continued its case against my client despite the court's opinion and order.
We then moved to limit the prosecution from using any expressive, non-violent words during trial, arguing, again, that any testimony discussing his non-violent expressive conduct necessarily required testimony about what he was communicating by means of his expressive conduct. This was based upon the Court's prior order and the testimony of the State's witness that she had not been threatened by Mr. Steffes (she did testify that she felt threatened by the content of his speech, but the Court ordered that this was protected speech and could not be used against him in the prosecution's case).
Today we were back in Court to argue the motion. Prior to the commencement of arguments, the Prosecution admitted that due to the Court's order it "could not proceed" and therefore dismissed the case.
This is a HUGE win for proponents of First Amendment civil rights, but, once again, the "forgotten man" suffers under the financial strain of protecting that interest. We are asking once again (and thanking you in advance) for any assistance to help cover his attorney fee costs.
"Grandparent Scams" making it's way across West Michigan
January 10, 2021
GRPD says that specifically in West Michigan the fraud tries to get their victim to withdraw money from the bank and, believe it or not, the scammer will actually show up to the person's house to get the cash.