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Please begin with an informative title:

I searched the tags and didn't see a diary about this already: there's been a disturbing story developing in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park.

At least one Grosse Pointe Park police officer is capturing humiliating photos and videos of a black men with disabilities and texting them to co-workers, friends and family, the Motor City Muckraker has found.

Most of the videos are shot from squad cars while at least one African American man is told to sing or dance. Some of the subjects are even in the back of police cars.

Grosse Pointe Park Capt. David Loch said the department is launching an investigation.

Apparently the police officer has been distributing the videos for over a year, but have finally come to the public attention after being shared with the Motor City Muchraker's Steve Neavling. Mr. Neavling has said he is in possession of over a dozen such videos, but is only sharing the one publicly because of their humiliating nature. He is waiting for his source's permission to share the rest with the police department and their investigation. In one of the videos the subject is asked by a police officer to "dance like a chimp." If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the one video posted online by following the first link above.

After the story broke, a Grosse Pointe Park police officer, reportedly Mike Najm, has taken responsibility for making the videos and was relieved of duty. It seems unlikely though that only one officer was involved. The subject of many of the videos has been identified as Michael Sipio, 55, a resident of Detroit.

Scipio has acknowledged that he is the man in the videos, saying he thought he was recorded singing various songs in an effort to make fun of him. Scipio had lived in a Detroit boarding house near Grosse Pointe Park and often came in contact with Park public safety officers.

Bowens said authorities have asked the Motor City Muckraker operator, Steve Neavling, to provide them with any additional examples of such videos. Bowens said as of late Friday, the department has yet to receive any additional videos.

“If there is a pattern, certainly Grosse Pointe Park (officials) would like to know about it, but as it stands right now, the only evidence is of what has occurred to Mr. Scipio,” Bowens said. If this is “a quest for justice and a desire to set this right, then we need the evidence to do that.”

It's possible the videos are only coming to light as a result of a contentious divorce of one of the officer involved. Grosse Pointe Park is 85% white.

The Grosse Pointe Park public safety department can be emailed at publicsafety@grossepointepark.org

The findings of their investigation and resulting discipline of the involved officers should be announced sometime next week.


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Originally posted to Watership Down on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan and Motor City Kossacks.

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