Mar 4, 2024 - News

Report: Detroit police commissioners "abused" positions

Illustration of a cracked magnifying glass over a police badge.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Current and former members of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners "abused their positions," the city's inspector general office found in an investigation released last week.

Why it matters: The body that oversees Detroit police has long had a "reputation for dysfunction and ineffectiveness," the Free Press writes.

State of play: The investigation came from allegations involving citizen complaints against police officers received last February.

  • The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that hundreds of complaint reports were closed without contacting the person who complained, proper documentation or commissioner approval, according to a press release.

Between the lines: The investigation also says three ex-commissioners and current Commissioner Willie Bell abused their positions by submitting budget requests and recommendations without full board authorization, per the Free Press.

  • Among a list of other findings, the OIG's investigation says that former Commissioner Charles "Jim" Holley "abused his position by implementing overtime payments to (complaint) investigators without authorization from the full Board."

The latest: The commission removed Bell from his vice chair role in a vote on Thursday, the Free Press reported.

Yes, but: Detroit's corporation counsel Conrad Mallett denied wrongdoing by Bell in a recent letter to inspector general Ellen Ha, according to the Free Press, which quoted the letter as saying: "Commissioner Bell believes it would be fruitful for the OIG to make constructive management recommendations rather than attacking commissioners."

What they're saying: "It is disappointing that the OIG is making many of the same recommendations we have previously made in the past years based on our prior investigations," Ha said in the OIG's release.

Go deeper: Read the OIG's report and the Free Press's full story.


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