The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is calling for the dismissal of a Royal Oak cop over his zealous mishandling of a Black man accused in a 911 call of looking suspiciously at a white woman.
The Royal Oak Police Department's interaction with 19-year-old Devin Myers drew strong backlash after it was captured Aug. 14 on live Facebook video
, which went viral after Metro Times
publicized it. More than 1 million have viewed the video.
The officer, Michael Pilcher, who was still on probation because he's a rookie, detained Myers, demanded his identification, and interrogated him. A supervisor who later arrived was dismissive of Myers' complaint that he was being harassed.
Myers was walking to a restaurant and said he did nothing wrong.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel launched a civil rights
investigation. Royal Oak's mayor and police chief acknowledged Myers was mistreated and apologized. Pilcher was ordered to get remedial training, and the supervisor was disciplined.
“The situation in which Mr. Myers found himself — an African-American man accused of ‘suspicious behavior’ by a Caucasian woman as he merely attempted to have a meal at a local restaurant — is all too familiar," Kenneth Reed, spokesman for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said in a statement Wednesday.
"For Probationary Officer Pilcher to even give credence to her alarmist call by demanding Myers' identification and holding him at all is worthy of his dismissal. He failed his probation, and all law enforcement departments must have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. If we allow such a culture to persist, we continue to feed the beast of systemic and institutional racism that has continuously fought against any kind of equal protection of citizens’ rights.”
In a letter to the police department and city officials, Reed said the officers' actions violated Myers' constitutional rights and "calls to mind a long history of African American males being falsely accused by white women of suspicious or inappropriate sexual behavior, the most egregious being the tragic story of Emmett Till, who was lynched for allegedly ‘whistling’ at a Caucasian woman in Mississippi."
Reed also is requesting records of police misconduct over the past two years and a breakdown of diversity within the department.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.