Saturday, June 26, 2004

Officer Christopher Kennedy - Detroit PD

On June 26, 2004, Detroit Police Officer Christopher Kennedy forced his girlfriend into his car during an altercation.

Officer Kennedy drove around Detroit with his victim....and then drove towards the  Metro Airport. While driving, Kennedy repeatedly struck his girlfriend.....

...Officer Kennedy drove at a high rate of speed....was weaving in and out of traffic....and then lost control of his vehicle on Interstate 94.

Officer Christopher Kennedy was not charged with kidnapping. He was only charged with misdemeanor aggravated assaulted. On July 21, 2004, Officer Kennedy pled no-contest to the charge and was sentenced to probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim.


Minutes of the Regular Board of Police Commissioners Meeting
Thursday, August 19, 2004
The regular meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners was held on Thursday, August 19, 2004, at 3:00 p.m., at Police Headquarters, 1300 Beaubien – Rm. 328-A, Detroit, Michigan 48226

On August, 19, 2004, Police Officer Christopher Kennedy, badge 3666, assigned to the Sixth Precinct, was suspended without pay by Chief Ella M. Bully-Cummings.

On August 19, 2004, the Professional Accountability Bureau, Internal Affairs Section was notified of an allegation of misconduct on the part of Officer Christopher Kennedy. More specifically, the allegation concerned Officer Kennedy’s sentence to serve 93 days in the Wayne County Jail for violation of probation.

As a result, the Internal Affairs Section initiated an investigation, which revealed the following:
On June 26, 2004, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Officer Kennedy was at his girlfriend’s (hereinafter victim) home, located within the city of Detroit. As that time, a verbal argument ensued. During the course of the verbal argument, Officer Kennedy grabbed the victim by her arms and forced her into his vehicle whereupon he drove in and around the victim’s neighborhood, eventually making his way to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (hereinafter Metro Airport).

During the course of travel, Officer Kennedy repeatedly struck the victim in the throat area, the leg area, and with his elbow struck the victim under her left eye.

Additionally, upon nearing Metro Airport, Officer Kennedy began driving at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, and eventually losing control of the vehicle, which spun around on Interstate 94 and came to rest facing eastbound in the westbound lane of travel.

On June 28, 2004, the incident herein described was reported to the Professional Accountability Bureau, Internal Affairs Section. On June 30, 2004, a warrant request was presented to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

On July 1, 2004, a warrant was issued against Officer Kennedy, charging him with “Aggravated Assault,” contrary to MCL 750.81a. Aggravated Assault is a misdemeanor punishable by one (1) year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.00.

On July 21, 2004, Officer Kennedy appeared for pre-trail at the Thirty-Sixth District Court, Judge Jimmy Lee Gray, presiding. At that time, Officer Kennedy pled no contest to the aforementioned charge. Accordingly, Judge Gray sentenced Officer Kennedy to one (1) year reporting probation, 26 weeks of battering counseling, fines and costs, and ordered that Officer Kennedy have no contact with the victim.

On August 12, 2004, the victim reported to the Internal Affairs Section to file a complaint against Officer Kennedy. The victim indicated that Officer Kennedy had engaged in repeated and/or continuing contact with her that caused her to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, and/or harassed. The contact included death threats.

On that same date, Thirty-Sixth District Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Officer Kennedy for violation of probation. More specifically, the no contact provision. Bond was set in the amount of $15,000.00, cash/surety or 10%.

Also, on August 12, 2004, Officer Kennedy was arrested and conveyed to the Detroit Police Department, Sixth Precinct for processing. He was released after posting a bond.

On August 19, 2004, Officer Kennedy appeared before Judge Marylin E. Atkins, of Thirty-Sixth District Court, for a probation violation hearing. He was found guilty of violating his probation, and sentenced to serve 93 days in the Wayne County Jail.

Based on the above circumstances, it is recommended that Officer Kennedy be charged with, but not limited to the following violation of the Detroit Police Department Rules and Regulations:
Unless contravened by this Commission, the above suspension without pay will stand.
Exec. Dir. Goss stated oral arguments will waived for two weeks.

Comm. Holley asked is the only thing recommended for the person is without pay? Would this be subject to dismissal or…?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated that is a discipline matter.

Comm. Holley asked is the discipline handled by Internal Affairs?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated no, it is handled by the Disciplinary Administration Section.

Comm. Holley asked is that something that is handled between the police department and the union? Will it come before us?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated no, unless he appeals the dismissals.

Comm. Holley asked is it possible that all we are doing is basically determining whether or not he/she is getting paid while their on suspension?
Comm. Holley asked is that the only jurisdiction we have?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated yes.

Comm. Holley asked is that all jurisdiction we have?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated for right now.

Comm. Holley asked if the outcome is that the person is recommended that they go back on the police department, does that mean as a Commissioner I don’t have any jurisdiction over that?

Exec. Dir. Goss stated no, not that I know of.

Comm. Holley asked so I have jurisdiction if he appeals, but I have no jurisdiction if I disagree with the outcome of the decision?

(Atty. Hooks entered the conference room.)
Exec. Dir. Goss stated that is correct.

Vice-Chairperson Ramirez stated unless otherwise contravened by the Commission, we could either approve it or…. First of all, the arguments have been postponed for two weeks.

Atty. Hooks asked it two weeks or until next week?

Vice-Chairperson Ramirez stated two weeks.

Comm. Holley asked does that include all three suspensions?

Vice-Chairperson Ramirez stated right.

(Chairperson Blackwell entered the conference room.)

Comm. Holley stated I can decide whether the person should be paid or not while they are going through the process of being found guilty or not guilty, in terms of the discipline, as far as the police department is concerned. However, when the decision is made, then a person is put back on the police department after certain charges and so forth. He asked do I have any jurisdiction over that, unless it is only appealed to me when the officer disagrees.

Atty. Hooks asked when you say that the person will continue or not continue on the payroll, are you saying from this point until the time the arguments are made?

Comm. Holley stated I am really beyond the payroll. I am trying to decide whether a person could continue to be paid or not. However, once the disciplinary action is taken between the police department and the union or whatever they work for this police officer. If I disagree with what they work out,
I don’t have any jurisdiction to say that I think that this person should not be a police officer, if they decide that that person should be a police officer after the action.

Atty. Hooks stated it kind of sounds like there may be a mixing of apples and oranges. Because with a suspension, that is not considered a disciplinary action, that is strictly a…. What they look at, is the underlined conduct that led to the recommendation that is being presenting to you by the Chief. So that’s one thing. After the suspension action has come to you, I guess completion, if you want to put it in that way, that the officer will be charged with conduct unbecoming or so forth and that starts a discipline track.

Comm. Holley stated or he may be vindicated.

Atty. Hooks stated exactly, he may be fully exonerated. Either no charges will be brought or after the disciplinary charges are dropped or he can even….

Comm. Holley asked as a Commissioner and on the organization chart, if I disagree with the final action, I have no jurisdiction as a Commissioner to say that I think that…?

Atty. Hooks stated it will come to you to be finalized only if the action has gone, they have changed it now, it used to be from a Chief’s Hearing to a Trial Board and then after that finding by the Trail Board the member had the right to appeal to either the Board of Police Commissioners or to Arbitration. If it went to arbitration that was binding or the Board had no say so, if it came to you then you did have the right to decide whether or not you were going to uphold whatever was meted out at the Trial Board or to alter that in some way.

Comm. Holley stated I am appalled by the fact that I can only intervene or I can only have a part to play in this, if a police officer disagrees with it. If I disagree with the findings, I have no part to play. He asked is that true?

Atty. Hooks stated that is true.

Comm. Holley asked as a Board of Police Commissioner, I have Commission on one hand and no authority on the other. I feel like there are some decisions that I disagree with. He asked if a police officer disagrees and wants to appeal  to me, then who would I appeal to, if I disagree with the decision that they gave to the police officer?

Atty. Hooks stated the only time that you cannot intervene or step in, is if that police officer determines or decides that he wants to go to arbitration, you have no say over that.

Comm. Holley asked that if I, as a person that represents the community, disagrees with the final decision of the disciplinary action on this police officer, he/she goes back on the police force and I disagree with that decision…. That should be looked into because it is not fair to the community.

Atty. Hooks stated that might be an issue that we will have to explore, but as it stands now….

Comm. Holley asked am I making sense?

Vice-Chairperson Ramirez stated I understand what you are saying.

Chairperson Blackwell stated it’s just not part of the authority of the Board of Police Commissioners, but I know what you are saying.

Comm. Holley stated that is how you get police officers, who perhaps should not be on the police force or back on the police force, then why am I here?

Atty. Hooks stated you still play a very important role?

Comm. Holley stated ya’ll keep telling me that.

Atty. Hooks stated sometimes it is good to explore these other areas to see whether or not we need to step in or what we need to look at. But as it stands now, when it goes to binding arbitration, you don’t have that.
There were no contravention’s to the above suspension without pay.

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