Cop faces charges for making black man ‘dance like a chimp’
Police have declined to identify the officer, but he has been removed from duty and faces disciplinary charges next week. The officer reportedly told 55-year-old Detroit man Michael Scipio to sing songs and “dance like a chimp” as his actions were recorded with a cell phone.
“An officer has stepped forward to take responsibility and has been removed from duty pending the conclusion of an investigation,” said Gross Pointe Park spokesman Greg Bowens to CBS Detroit.
According to the Motor City Muckracker blog, which broke the story, an unnamed source said the police dealt with the issue “immediately,” and that a restructuring of the department is in the works to prevent situations like this from occurring again in the future. The source also said that police were informed there would be no tolerance for the use of cell phone videos unrelated to work while they’re on duty.
The story became national news after the Muckracker published two videos allegedly filmed by officers who told mentally ill residents to perform songs and make animal noises for their video cameras. These videos were reportedly shared with other officers via text messages and social media. The Muckracker claims there are 12 videos total, the rest of which it won’t publish, and that it has sent them to Scipio’s legal team.
The original story implied that more than one officer could be responsible for these actions, though so far only one has been implicated in any wrongdoing.
Speaking with local Fox 2 News, Scipio told a reporter that he didn’t think police were going to embarrass him with the videos, though that’s what they ended up doing.
“They told me to sing songs and stuff … they made me look like a fool,” he said. “They humiliated me.”
Gross Pointe Park city officials will not comment on the case since it’s still under investigation, but last week Bowens appeared on Fox 2 News’ “Let It Rip” program and apologized.
“My friends, my neighbors and residents are all appalled by what has occurred,” he said. “This is not a true representation of who we are in Grosse Pointe Park. We are working very hard at getting to the bottom of it.”