- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - The leader of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety will meet with an officer accused of grabbing a man by the neck before deciding how the department should respond.

The family of Diante Churchwell, 20, filed a complaint with the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported .

“We are planning on holding Kalamazoo Public Safety accountable for policing themselves,” said the Rev. Strick Strickland, president of the local NAACP. “And we want to make sure this is not one of those things where we just admit that something happened that wasn’t right, and are not truly holding the individuals who are responsible accountable.”

The family said Churchwell went to assist his teenage brother, Antonio Churchwell, 17, who was being arrested July 10. The family said Diante Churchwell was grabbed by the throat and arrested after asking officers why they were arresting his brother.

Police said Churchwell aggressively approached officers.

The brothers’ father, Timeeko Churchwell, said Antonio was released by police and never charged with a crime. He said he was told at the scene that his son was accused of having drugs and that an officer asserted he was carrying a gun. Neither of those items was found.

The father also said Diante Churchwell was arrested for interfering with police and was held in jail overnight. He was released the next day, and the charge was immediately dropped in Kalamazoo District Court.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said Tuesday he’s going to meet the accused officer before making a decision about the action.

“The (internal) investigation is complete,” Hadley said. “I have to meet with the affected officer and discuss the matter, per union rules and per the union contract. Then I can communicate what my findings are.”

Strickland said the NAACP doesn’t expect to make any recommendations. He said he expects police to consider the situation in the same fashion they would if the citizen had grabbed the officer by the throat.

“We want to make sure there isn’t a double standard,” he said.


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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