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18 Nov, 2013 23:46

Michigan cops investigated for allegedly forcing black men to sing, dance on camera

An internal police investigation has begun in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan following the posting of photos and videos on a Detroit blog which allegedly show officers calling on black men to sing and “dance like a chimp.”
Michigan cops investigated for allegedly forcing black men to sing, dance on camera

Motor City Muckraker, a blog run by former Detroit Free Press reporter Steve Neavling, who now works for Reuters, ran a post on Thursday alleging Grosse Pointe Park police officers of taking “humiliating photos and videos” of black men and sharing them with friends and family.

Neavling wrote that he received the materials from an anonymous source “confirming that more than a dozen demeaning videos of black men were sent and forwarded from the phones of Grosse Pointe Park police.”

The blog posted two grainy videos which show black men singing and making vague animal noises after reportedly being told by police officers to perform in front of the camera.

In one incident, a Grosse Pointe Park police officer allegedly texted a photo of a black man in the back of a trailer with the message, “Gotta love the coloreds.” In a video posted on the blog, the same officer is alleged to have told a mentally ill black man to sing. The unspecified officer “sent at least six videos of the same mentally ill man singing or stuttering on command,” Neavling wrote.

Neavling told The Huffington Post that he has not shared the rest of the materials at this time due to their "humiliating nature."

Grosse Pointe Park Police Captain David Loch told The Huffington Post that an investigation has begun in response to the blog’s allegations.

“On Thursday, November 14 2013, the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department was contacted by an individual who said that he was in possession of video clips and a photo of African American males. The video clips and photo are allegedly made by an officer of this department. The department has begun an internal investigation of this matter. The Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department does not tolerate unprofessional conduct by its officers when interacting with any citizen they may come in contact with,” Loch said.

The blog reported that multiple police officers were involved in the videos, but only named Officer Mike Najm as a source of the photos and videos. Huffington Post was told by “several people” that Najm’s ex-wife may be the source of the materials.

Grosse Pointe Park - a mostly white suburb where nearly half of all households have an income of $100,000 and up - borders the east side of Detroit, a predominantly African-American city with a population over 60 times the suburb’s size.