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Officer on leave amid uproar over veteran detention

Associated Press
Jilmar Ramos-Gomez

Grand Rapids – A western Michigan police officer has been placed on administrative leave after activists accused him of racial profiling by notifying immigration officials about the arrest of a mentally ill Latino war veteran who is actually a U.S. citizen.

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington on Thursday announced Lt. Curt VanderKooi’s leave pending a city review of whether he “was properly held accountable.”

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Activists called for VanderKooi’s firing after Immigration and Customs Enforcement held Jilmar Ramos-Gomez for three days in December before releasing the Michigan-born man.

VanderKooi told ICE about Ramos-Gomez’ November arrest at a hospital, referring to him as “loco,” or crazy. Interim police Chief David Kiddle says VanderKooi was reprimanded for “unprofessional language.”

Dozens of people attended a city commission meeting Tuesday to express displeasure with how Ramos-Gomez was treated.