Controversial racial equality report on DPD under fire

Controversy inside the Detroit Police Department where the officers association wants to disband a special committee on race and equality.

"We can't allow for reckless behavior from that entity," said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association.

That entity the Detroit Police Department's Committee On Racial Equality -- or CORE -- should be disbanded. That's according to Diaz, following a report that claims there's a racial problem in the department.

On Monday, Diaz said he is planning to file a policy grievance to dissolve it.

"It's not based on fact," Diaz said. "It brings about the air of suspicion that there may be systemic racism within our department and that's just not the case."

While Diaz says he supports the original concepts behind the committee, he says he, and other officers now feel a sense of betrayal from the report created by retired police officer John Bennett.

Last week Chief James Craig said the report has "no substance."

"This really deteriorates that relationship that we've worked so hard to preserve with our community," said Diaz. "So we have to take the steps that we are taking today."

While Detroit Police Chief James Craig was not available to comment, Diaz says he plans to sit down with Craig and hopefully come up with some sort of resolution.

"If we're unable to have a resolution there, we'll move to a third-step grievance, which is a grievance that will be heard by him," said Diaz. "And if we have to, we will take it to arbitration."

Meanwhile Bennett says the committee is needed and the reaction to the report now is much different than before.

"I gave Chief Craig that report in August of last year and he was fine with it," Bennett said. "Suddenly with recent events with that officer posting on Facebook, apparently the mayor has become aware that there was a committee on race and now suddenly I'm reckless and rogue."

Bennett says he spoke to several black officers complaining of incidents of disparate treatment in assignments, appointments and training opportunities.

"I seem to be the one getting thrown under the bus, but let's be clear: I'm just a messenger," Bennett said.

Diaz says if racial inequality were an issue -- the DPOA would've handled it swiftly.

"I think they wants the committee to go away and the report to go away," Bennett said. "But the issues aren't going away."
 


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