DEARBORN HTS, Mich. (FOX 2) - A former Dearborn Heights police officer is facing with assault charges for threatening another officer with a military-style knife in the break room at the police department and authorities believe the incident was racially-motivated.
The Michigan State Police handled the investigation of former officer Paul Graff who is now facing felony charges.
On Monday, Graff was charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and given a $1,000 personal bond.
According to Police Chief Jerrod Hart, as soon as they learned about what happened, they took immediate action.
"We went through the process and the officer was ultimately terminated based on this incident," Hart said.
According to Hart, it happened in 2021 before he was chief in the break room at the Dearborn Heights Police Department. Graff, who is white, allegedly pulled a tactical knife on a fellow officer, who is Arab. Sources close to the investigation tell us, the situation appears to be ethnically motivated even though charges do not reflect that.
The incident in the break room was caught on video but it hasn’t been released pending investigation. Hart says the initial complaint was reported to human resources in 2021. When Hart took over as chief in 2022, an internal investigation was done and Graff was fired.
Hart said it's incumbent upon officers in his department to make the right decisions at all times and he is committed to maintaining.
"We are drawn from society, and sometimes we carry these things to work with us and do not make the best choices," Hart said. "At the end of the day, there is an era of accountability that permeates this department until I'm no longer here."
Hart says the department will be more transparent and has volunteered to have a group within the Department of Justice to come and look into the department to find ways to run more efficiently and improve performance.
"I just want to deliver the message that this is not representative of the police department we have outstanding men and women whether they are dispatching calls, handling FOIA requests, or answering calls on the street this should not be seen as a reflection of the entire department as a whole," he said.
Paul Graff, a former Dearborn Heights Police Officer, has been charged with assault for an alleged threat against another officer in the police departments break room.