Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Facebook Posts Of Alleged Racial Profiling Under Investigation

KENT COUNTY, MI – Grand Rapids police Internal Affairs is investigating a complaint alleging that an officer advocated racial profiling on his Facebook page.

Officer Walter Tett provided instances in which police would profile subjects based on race to help solve crimes, Robert S. Womack, a Kent County commissioner and radio host, told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press.

“These are very bold statements that can’t be taken lightly,” Womack said.

Internal Affairs is investigating the complaint against Tett, who is Black, police spokesman Raul Alvarez said.

Tett, who has been with the department for 28 years, did not immediately respond to MLive’s request for comment.

Womack took screenshots of Tett’s Facebook page and shared them on his own Facebook page. The comments are no longer on Tett’s page.

The screenshots showed that Tett said patrol officers learn to look for things that are out of place, including the race of people within particular communities.

“For example: when I worked 3rd shift in the inner city, we would see old white men in nice cars registered out of Jenison, Grandville, Caledonia, Hudsonville, Byron Center, etc., driving around Division/Hall, Hall/Cass, etc. anywhere between midnight and 0530-0600 in the morning,” Tett wrote.

“Old white men do not live in those areas. They don’t fit. … THEY DON’T FIT. And when they don’t fit, you use any LEGAL reason to stop it to find out why they are there. Those areas are frequented by prostitutes.‘’

“Another example. Same scenario, location and time frame: Young white kids driving through those areas at those same hours. THEY DON’T FIT. Drug dealers frequent those areas. We see things that don’t fit. That’s how crimes are solved.”

Womack said Tett profiled Black neighborhoods as places of drug dealing and prostitution and “my white brothers and sisters as ‘trick daddies,’ and drug users.”

He said that the stereotypes could be passed onto newer officers.

Tett, meanwhile, suggested that Black Lives Matter could be considered a cult. He also criticized Womack, former Kent County Commissioner and activist Paul Mayhue, and the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who “continue to keep the hate and anger alive,” the Facebook post said.

Womack said he did not know why he was mentioned by Tett and said he not talked recently about the Police Department on his radio show.

He said he generally supports the Police Department and Chief Eric Payne but was concerned by the alleged racial profiling.

“I’m highly concerned about what comes out of GRPD,” he said. “We’ll see what GRPD does about this. … We’ve got to all be on the same side.”


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