Dec. 24, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis accused of falsifying overtime slips. Southgate PD.
VIDEO: What Does It Take To Fire A Bad Cop? Just Ask Ronald Dupuis
By MintPress News Desk
April 17, 2015
Ronald Dupuis, a police officer from Highland Park, Michigan, has a record of questionable -- and even outright bad -- behavior dating back to the 1980s. These decades of missteps don’t seem to be hampering his career, though.
With almost daily reports of brutality and fatal shootings of unarmed black people by police, activists in America are asking why officers so rarely face lasting consequences for their actions.
When Darren Wilson left his post with the Ferguson Police Department, crowdfunding efforts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the man who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Investigations into Wilson’s past revealed that he’d first been employed by a Missouri police force that was disbanded for corruption.
A similar pattern emerged in the recent slaying of Walter Scott. Writing for Counter Current News, Jackson Mariana reported that Scott’s killer, North Charleston Police Officer Michael Thomas Slager, had a history of violent incidents:
“Back in 2013, Mario Givens, an African American North Charleston man, had been ‘roughed up’ when Slager came to his door, demanding to be let in ‘as part of an investigation.’”
North Charleston Police have faced 46 federal lawsuits since 2000.
But few cops can match the checkered past of Sgt. Ronald Dupuis, the officer from Highland Park, Michigan, who remains employed despite a string of incidents that have followed him through multiple departments. Highland Park is the seventh police force to employ Dupuis.
A new lawsuit alleges that Dupuis held two women in jail without charges for four days. Shockingly, the incident didn’t even begin in Highland Park, where Dupuis is employed as a cop and where he allegedly imprisoned the two women, “Rhianna Turner and her domestic partner Kera Hill.” Instead, Dupuis is accused of intervening in an incident in Detroit.
In September 2013, a sheriff’s deputy witnessed the pair “playfully wrestling over a set of keys,” and intervened because he feared an assault had occurred. Although both women denied a crime had occurred, Dupuis arrived on the scene, arrested the two women, and took them to jail in nearby Highland Park. Though no charges were filed, Turner lost her job as a Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer.
Just this past January, Dupuis made headlines when he was videotaped beating a man suspected of carjacking.
“The video of the arrest, which was recorded by Detroit resident Emma Craig on Monday on the city’s northwest side and posted on Facebook, shows Dupuis striking the suspect several times while apparently trying to handcuff him and administering a final blow after Jackson’s hands were secured behind his back,” reported George Hunter in The Detroit News.
In 2012, Dupuis was hospitalized for shooting himself in the leg with his own gun, which discharged accidentally outside a cell block. Another incident involved him choking a woman he had in custody.
He was previously fired from the Hamtramck, Michigan, Police Department for using a taser on his own partner. Although a jury declined to convict him for it, courts refused to force the city to reinstate Dupuis, which is how he ended up employed by Highland Park.
Reneé Harrington, creator of the Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence Project, compiled a lengthy timeline of Dupuis-related incidents dating back to 1997. According to the timeline, the Southgate, Michigan, Police Department fired him in 1999 for stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over.
Because there is a lack of national data on police violence in general, it is difficult to determine how often police face consequences for their crimes. But in 2013, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey estimated that 90 percent of officers fired from the Philadelphia Police Department force were later rehired through arbitration with police unions — even those accused of crimes including shoplifting and sexual assault.
Checkered past casts doubt on the wisdom of his hiring
Detroit Free Press
January 19, 2006
Ronald Dupuis' troubled past.
Feb. 17, 1997: Written up for careless driving while working for the Ecorse Police Department.
Nov. 4, 1998: Reprimanded by the Southgate Police Department for a incident Oct. 8, 1998, in which he allegedly beat up a mentally disabled man at a gas station.
Dec. 24, 1998: Accused of falsifying overtime slips while working for Southgate.
March 16, 1999: Accused of stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over, also while working for Southgate.
March 30, 1999: Told by the Southgate Police Department that his one-year probationary period would not be honored and that he would be fired. He resigned three days later.
Nov. 7, 2000: Laid off by the Highland Park Public Safety department.
April 21, 2002: While working with the Hamtramck police, he is accused, with another officer, of assaulting a man during a traffic stop, which resulted in a lawsuit.
Nov. 3, 2005: Accused of discharging a Taser stun gun and striking his female partner, Prema Graham, in the leg with the weapon.
Nov. 5, 2005: Lawsuit settled for $20,000 stemming from traffic stop April 2, 2002.
Nov. 10, 2005: Fired from the Hamtramck Police Department.
Dec. 7, 2005: Charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in connection with the Taser incident.
Ronald Dupuis was written up for careless driving in 1997 when he worked for the Ecorse Police Department.
He was reprimanded for allegedly beating up a mentally disabled man at a gas station when he was a Southgate police officer in 1998.
And in 1999, he was accused of stalking a woman while on patrol in Southgate.
Yet the 32-year-old still had a job -- as a Hamtramck police officer -- on Nov. 3 when police say he wounded his partner with a Taser stun gun while on duty.
Dupuis, who is scheduled to appear in Wayne County Circuit Court on Jan. 31 on a misdemeanor assault charge involving the Taser incident, has been fired. But his history as a cop raises questions about why he was hired in Hamtramck in the first place.
Hamtramck police officials concede that their background investigation may not have been thorough enough. When Dupuis was hired in 2001, the state had taken control of the city's finances.
"We didn't have the funding to use detectives for thorough background checks," Hamtramck Police Chief James Doyle said Wednesday. "We did the best we could."
Dupuis has worked as a police officer in Inkster, Ecorse, Hudson, Southgate, Highland Park and Hamtramck. He also worked as a Wayne County sheriff's deputy.
Dupuis declined to comment on his prior troubles and the Taser case through his attorney James Sullivan, who said it's not uncommon for ambitious police officers to change jobs often.
Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel says his department doesn't take background checks lightly. Not only are would-be employees subjected to driving record and criminal background checks, but their neighbors and past employers also are interviewed."Everyone, I don't care who it is, goes through this," Hackel said Wednesday.
An examination by the Free Press of Dupuis' employment records with seven different law enforcement agencies in 10 years shows a checkered past.
Eleven months into Dupuis' tenure with the Southgate department, a panel of three officers wrote a report recommending he be terminated after his one-year probation.
The March 1999 note cited five problem areas: attention toward police work, acceptance of feedback, problem solving and decision-making, field performance and relationship with citizens.The panel pointed to a February 1999 incident when Dupuis went to lunch rather than assist other officers in an arrest.
According to the report, when confronted, Dupuis responded: "That's right," with no further explanation.The next night he was sent to a residence on a domestic violence call and never showed, the report said.
Attorney Ben Gonek sued Dupuis, his partner and the City of Hamtramck on behalf of a man who said he was beaten during a traffic stop in 2002, settling for $20,000 last year.Gonek said he checked Dupuis' background and was baffled that Hamtramck hired him."It's clear to me that any department that hired him after some of his previous incidents" was subjecting its taxpayers to liability, Gonek said. "It was clear from his demeanor when I deposed him that he had a real short fuse."
Doyle, who fired Dupuis after the Taser incident, declined to comment on the case because it's still pending.
In that case, Dupuis allegedly demanded that his partner, Prema Graham, who was driving the police car, stop for a soda. When she refused, Dupuis grabbed for the steering wheel before prodding her twice with the Taser as she warded him off with her free hand, police said.
He then recharged the Taser and drove it into her right thigh, police reports said. She was hospitalized with minor injuries and has since returned to work.
Most of his trouble came in Southgate. In 1998, a lieutenant accused him of overtime fraud. In 1999, a 26-year-old woman filed a complaint claiming he had been stalking her."I was afraid he was going to harm her," said the woman's mother, Vicki Bedo.
The Southgate memo written by the three officers mentioned the stalking claim, adding: "it has come to our attention that there are multiple claims of similar actions by Officer Dupuis."
While there are no set standards for background checks, Gonek wondered how Hamtramck Police didn't consider the incidents in Southgate."All they had to do was get his personnel files," he said.
Gonek said that after he checked Dupuis' background for his lawsuit, the Taser incident didn't surprise him at all."The guy just seemed like a walking time bomb to do something really stupid," he said. "Hamtramck had no business hiring him."
Officer Ronald Dupuis' past law enforcement history:
Feb. 17, 1997: Officer Ronald Dupuis written up for careless driving while on duty. Ecorse Police Department.
Between 1997 and 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis leaves the Ecorse PD and becomes an officer with the Southgate PD.
October 08, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis allegedly beat up a mentally disabled man. Southgate PD.
November 04, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis reprimanded by the Southgate Police Department for the October 8th beating incident.
Dec. 24, 1998: Officer Ronald Dupuis accused of falsifying overtime slips. Southgate PD.
March 16, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis accused of stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over while he was on duty. Southgate PD.
March 30, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis was informed that he would be fired from the Southgate PD [Stalking incident].
April 02, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis resigned from the Southgate PD, to avoid being fired for stalking incident.
Sometime after April 02, 1999: Officer Ronald Dupuis was hired by the Highland Police Department [after resigning from the Southgate PD, to avoid being fired for stalking incident].
Nov. 7, 2000: Officer Ronald Dupuis was laid off by the Highland Park Public Safety department.
Sometime after November 07, 2000: Officer Ronald Dupuis was hired by the Hamtramck PD, after being laid off by the Highland PD.
April 21, 2002: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of assaulting a man during a traffic stop. Hamtramck PD. Resulted in a lawsuit, which was settled for $20,000 on November 05, 2005. Dupuis was not fired from the Hamtramack PD. for this incident.
2004: Hamtramck police officer Dupuis was sued by a man who alleged Dupuis wrongfully arrested him and had him jailed for no reason. The man was released without being charged. His lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Nov. 3, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of discharging a Taser stun gun and striking his female partner, Officer Prema Graham, in the leg with the weapon. [Hamtramack PD]
Nov. 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis was fired from the Hamtramck Police Department for tasering Officer Prema Graham.
Sometime after November 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis won legal challenges related to the tasering incident Officer Prema Graham, and the Hamtramck PD's firing of him.
Sometime after November 10, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis returned to duty at the Highland Police Department [previously laid off from department in November 2000].
Dec. 7, 2005: Officer Ronald Dupuis charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in connection with the Taser incident.
April 01, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis found not guilty at trial of November 2005 taser incident against Officer Prema Graham
June 16, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis won an unemployment claim dispute against the City of Hamtramck for their firing of him after the November 2005 taser incident Officer Prema Graham. Chief of Police also refused to reinstate Dupuis.
2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a lawsuit against the City of Hamtramck and Officer Prema Graham [November 2005 taser incident]
August 2006: City of Hamtramck lost appeal on Officer Ronald Dupuis' unemployment.
November 01, 2006: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a lawsuit against the City of Hamtramck: Civil Rights / Employment. Police Chief refused to reinstate him. [November 2005 taser incident of Officer Graham].
January 2007: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed suit to be reinstated to Hamtramck PD, following his being terminated after November 2005 taser incident against Officer Prema Graham.
October 31, 2008: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed suit against City of Hamtramck.
2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis was accused of choking a woman who was in custody.
February 28, 2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis filed a suit against Highland Park: Civil Rights / Employment.
May 22, 2012: Officer Ronald Dupuis' gun "accidently" went off outside the department's cell block. Dupuis was shot in the leg. Sources at the Highland PD said there would be no disciplinary action taken against Dupuis.
September 19, 2013: Highland Park Officer Ronald Dupuis arrested uniformed / on duty Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer Rhianna Turner and her girlfriend Kera Hill, in front of Detroit PD. Dupuis transported them back to Highland PD and had the women jailed for four days - without charges. Turner lost her job due to the unlawful arrest and imprisonment.
January 12, 2015: An online video from Emma Craig surfaced, showing Officer Dupuis beating a handcuffed Andrew Jackson during an arrest. "Highland Park city attorney Todd Perkins said he's aware of Dupuis' checkered past, although he said he will "draw no conclusions" from it." In April 2015, Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney stated that Officer Dupuis was not facing discipline for the beating of Andrew Jackson.
January 14, 2015: Michigan State Police investigation of Officer Ronald Dupuis and other officers for the January beating of Andrew Jackson. Officer Dupuis was not suspended from duty during this criminal investigation.
February 09, 2015: Officer Ronald Dupuis was shot in the leg during a raid. Officer Dupuis was still on active duty despite an MSP investigation of the beating of Andrew Jackson during a January 2015 arrest.
February 13, 2015: Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy began criminal investigation of Officer Ronald Dupuis and other officers for the January 2015 beating of Andrew Jackson. Officer Dupuis was not suspended from duty during this criminal investigation.
"According to the office, it received a warrant request from the Michigan State Police, which investigated the arrest of Andrew Jackson Jr. on Jan. 12 by officers...One of the officers shown in the video making the arrest is Highland Park Sgt. Ron Dupuis..."
February 25, 2015: Lawsuit filed by Andrew Jackson against Officer Ronald Dupuis for January 2015 beating.
April 15, 2015: Lawsuit filed by Rhianna Turner and Kera Hill against Officer Ronald Dupuis for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment [September 2013]
April 20, 2015: Officer Dupuis cleared by Prosecutor Kym Worthy of criminal charges in the January 2015 beating of Andrew Jackson.
"Worthy did not defend some of the officers’ conduct. She said some of Sgt. Dupuis’s behavior was improper and warrants possible punishment from his superiors. Still, Worthy said, charges aren’t warranted."
April 20, 2015: Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney announced that Officer Ronald Dupuis was not facing disciplinary action for the January beating of Andrew Jackson.