Appeal Board explains GRPD officer decision

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (via WOOD TV) — The fate of Grand Rapids Police Capt. Curt VanderKooi is now in the hands of the city manager.

The Citizen Appeal Board, which is tasked with responding to complaints against the Grand Rapids Police Department, last week overturned Internal Affairs' findings that there was no substantial wrongdoing by VanderKooi. They explained why during a Wednesday meeting at City Hall.

VanderKooi, who has been with GRPD for nearly 40 years, was thrust into the public spotlight when he contacted ICE about Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, who was arrested after apparently setting a fire at a local hospital. Ramos-Gomez is a U.S. citizen and Marine veteran who has post-traumatic stress disorder. ICE ended up detaining him for three days before his attorney proved he is a citizen.

In a 6-2 vote, the appeal board decided that VanderKooi was racial profiling when he called ICE from home while off-duty based on seeing Ramos-Gomez's picture and name on TV.

Dissenting board member John Van Tholen said VanderKooi’s decision was prudent due to his alleged concerns about terrorism.

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