A former Detroit cop who resigned in August 2021 after an internal investigation found he punched an unarmed man in the face and then lied about it has left another local police department in disgrace.
The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) suspended Officer Kairy Roberts’ driver’s license on September 15, preventing him from serving as a police officer in the state.
The suspension was related to two-year-old allegations that Roberts assaulted a man in Greektown, knocked him unconscious, then failed to provide him with medical help, a incident that was captured on cellphone video.
About a year after resigning from the Detroit Police Department, Roberts was hired by the Eastpointe Police Department, despite serious allegations against him.
Eastpointe Police Chief Corey Haines says Metro timetable that Roberts was immediately placed on leave after his license was suspended, then resigned Friday.
It’s unclear why it took MCOLES two years to suspend Roberts’ license. State officials did not respond to questions for comment.
Haines, who was not Eastpointe’s chief when Roberts joined the force, could not explain why the city hired him.
“Unfortunately, I now know what hiring criteria the former administrator used,” Haines says. “I understand he was aware of the incident.”
George Rouhib, the Eastpointe chief who hired Roberts, accepted a job as chief of the Rochester Police Department in May. Metro timetable I was unable to reach him for comment.
An internal investigation by the Detroit Police Department in July 2022 concluded that Roberts punched Marcus Alston in the face, even though he did not appear to pose a threat, and walked away from him despite his serious injuries. Roberts then falsely claimed that Alston took a fighting stance and assaulted another officer, even though he did neither, according to the internal police investigation. In fact, Alston was punched while demanding the badge numbers of police officers who allegedly assaulted several people while dispersing a crowd in Greektown.
Roberts resigned from DPD before he could be fired.
Alston’s attorney, Johnny Hawkins, who is suing Roberts and Detroit police over the incident, says it was inexcusable for Eastpointe to hire Roberts and for MCOLES to take two years to suspend his license.
Hawkins represents four people who were allegedly assaulted by Detroit police the night Hawkins was punched. Two of them, he says, were assaulted by Roberts, whom Hawkins calls a “rogue cop.”
Alston’s injuries changed his life, Hawkins said. He suffered a concussion and a herniated disc. A truck driver and youth sports trainer, Alston has been unable to return to work because he is unable to pass the physical exam.
“It was in pretty bad shape,” Hawkins says. “The hardest part for him is explaining to the kids he coaches why and how this happened. All he did was ask for a badge number, and he got really screwed.
Hawkins says Michigan needs to do a better job of protecting residents from abusive police officers.
“As a country, we don’t take police brutality as seriously as we should,” Hawkins says. “There is a great need for reform. The Boys in Blue are part of this country’s largest national gang. They are protected and whatever they say will be respected. »
Roberts’ ability to move from one police department to another after allegations of serious misconduct is nothing new in Michigan. The problem is so common that officers like Roberts are referred to as “errant cops.” They are forced to leave one police department, only to find work in another law enforcement agency, Metro timetable reported in August.
In Michigan, as in many states, there is no law requiring police departments to disclose information about much of an officer’s misconduct to another law enforcement agency.
Without reporting requirements, agencies risk unknowingly hiring agents who left their previous jobs under questionable circumstances.
In an attempt to learn more about errant cops in Michigan, Metro timetable and the Invisible Institute sought records identifying all certified and uncertified officers in the state. But the Michigan State Police denied our request under the Freedom of Information Act, saying “public release of the information would constitute a grossly unjustified invasion of an individual’s privacy.”
By concealing the identities of officers, MSP hinders the public’s ability to track down errant cops.
Now that Democrats control the Michigan state Senate and House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 40 years, lawmakers may soon make it harder for errant police officers to continue landing new jobs.
In 2017, the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring police departments to maintain a record of officer separations and for officers to sign a waiver allowing departments to view their past records. But that hasn’t stopped officers with significant histories of misconduct or use of force from being rehired, and hasn’t stopped agencies from allowing officers to resign rather than be fired. If an officer is allowed to resign, the documentation required to keep regarding their separation will likely be much less.
In 2021, Michigan State Senator Jeremy Moss introduced a bill targeting officers with checkered pasts. But because Republicans held a majority in the Senate, the legislation dragged on.
Senate Bill 474 would have required police departments to report all use-of-force violations, in addition to the separation records they are required to provide to potential new employers for their former officers. This way, law enforcement would have broader access to job applicants’ histories of misconduct.
After discussing the bill with law enforcement, Moss says he received a lot of support for resurrecting the legislation.
Hawkins says lawmakers should act urgently.
“We need legislators to protect the citizens of the state of Michigan,” Hawkins says. “If other states are doing this, then why shouldn’t Michiganders be given the same benefits as properly vetted police officers so that our citizens are not targeted by a rogue cop who has been allowed to pass one police department to another, doing what? are they known to do this?
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