After the pepper spray last week, I have been asking people to approach the MSP with some tolerance and understanding. I still encourage people to approach the MSP with solidarity and thoughtful consideration. I also thank the Michigan State Police for engaging with the public on their Facebook page and on Twitter. However in spite of this there are four incidents in particular that the MSP should investigate.
1. Michigan State Police troopers entered the House floor yesterday, allegedly over Democratic objections. This is probably the most alarming thing to me, primarily because it is very uncommon to have armed troopers enter the House floor. Here’s the FB statement (linked earlier)
Michigan State Police Hi Christine — Troopers passing near the House Floor were waved over by a representative. Not knowing the issue, they began to respond, but were assured by the House Sergeant at Arms that there was no issue. The troopers then left.
Seems odd that the Democrats would object to that. What Representative called them in? Certainly a Republican. An investigation will clear all of this up so we can put it behind us.
2. Troopers were recording spraying mace into a crowd. Facebook conversation here.
3. Troopers were recorded using a baton on a senior citizen who was already knocked to the ground. Another officer had to step in to restrain the trooper from making further contact with baton. What would have happened if the second trooper had not restrained him?
4. It was reported that troopers were searching cars. Here’s the FB thread:
Which feels a lot like “no comment.”
These actions should be investigated using the normal investigation procedures and the public should be informed of the outcome.
Additionally it was reported that MSP troopers were carrying assault rifles in the Capitol Building. I do not know if this true; the tear gas launchers look like assault rifles to people who are not familiar with weapons of this nature. Here’s the MSP state on Facebook:
Michigan State Police Hi Christine — Troopers carry various weapons depending on the assignment.
I suspect they can’t just come out and talk about what they are carrying when they’re in a situation like this. However this situation should be scrutinized; the people have a right to know what weapons are carried into the Capitol Building, especially when there is a risk that the troopers will enter the House floor over the objections of the duly elected minority party.
While most troopers were professional and on model behavior yesterday, we need to know that troopers in a crowd can control themselves. We can have that confidence if the above items are investigated and the officers are not found guilty of any wrongdoing.
Again I thank the Michigan State Police for their ongoing communication with the public, and I am grateful that no one was hurt yesterday while they worked to protect the public.
Update: MSP issued a press release here – http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123–291257–,00.html