- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan pastor who recorded and shared a video online of police conducting a high-risk traffic stop is questioning officers’ procedures and treatment of minorities.

The Rev. Denise Kingdom Grier hosted a community meeting Monday after witnessing Holland police arrest individuals in her church’s parking lot last week.

Police ordered four people out of a vehicle at gunpoint, including Grier’s nephew, who is black. Officers believed one of the passengers to be a suspect in a domestic assault complaint and armed, which police said is why they considered the traffic stop high-risk. Police arrested the man for domestic assault and felon in possession of a firearm, and released the rest of the passengers without any charges.

Grier’s main concern is “the excessive, traumatizing force used in community policing,” she said during the event at Maple Avenue Ministries.

“No one should have a rifle pointed to their head when they’re in a defenseless position,” Grier said. “So, if that is their practice - black or white or any other race - I take issue with that practice.”



Many residents expressed frustration Monday at how police handled the situation, while others said the actions were appropriate.

The Holland Department of Public Safety issued a statement Friday saying police appropriately handled the incident.

“This stop was handled as any high-risk stop would be where all occupants are removed at gunpoint until the gun is recovered and it is considered safe,” the department said in its statement. “Race doesn’t change that, gender doesn’t change that, we are consistent with handling a high-risk situation that way.”

Capt. Keith Mulder said the excessive force accusations are based on “a false narrative” by “people trying to make this into a race issue.”

Grier said that “racial profiling and implicit bias leaves pools of blood for parents and pastors to attend to.”

“When we see the law is oppressing, it’s our responsibility to say what we see,” she said. “This fell in my lap and I believe God is trusting us with this.”

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