Michigan Senator Drafts Bill After Discovering Eaton County Cop That Resigned Before Being Disciplined for ‘Traffic Stop Gone Bad’ Immediately Joined Another Department
Sen. Rick Jones announced on Tuesday that he has introduced legislation to ensure that bad behavior by a police officer will not be hidden by that’s officer’s resignation.
“I was shocked when I read the ‘Traffic Stop Gone Bad’ article in the Lansing City Pulse and viewed the video in April,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I was even more shocked to read that the Eaton County Sheriff deputy went right out and got another police job.”
The Lansing City Pulse article, written by reporter Todd Heywood, describes how he obtained a cell phone video of a June 2014 traffic stop through the Freedom of Information Act. The deputy in the video was not wearing his body camera, but the young man who was stopped, Todd Brenizer, recorded the incident with his phone.
The article described how Brenizer was stopped for having a tail light out and then an “abusive and improper arrest” was made. According to the article, after the video surfaced Brenizer was released from jail and not charged by the prosecutor. While Brenizer’s attorney was negotiating a settlement with Eaton County, the deputy resigned and got a job with another sheriff’s department.
After working with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), Jones drafted Senate Bill 1022, which would require that a law enforcement agency shall maintain a record regarding the reason for and the circumstances surrounding a separation of service of a police department and shall allow a prospective employing law enforcement agency to seek a copy of reasons and circumstances surrounding the separation. In addition, the law enforcement agency would be immune from civil liability.
“After 31 years in law enforcement, I want to ensure that Michigan has the best police officers on the road,” Jones said. “Bad behavior should never be hidden by the officer resigning.”
SB 1022 was introduced on June 8 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.