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DPD union president due in court March 3

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz has been suspended without pay by the city’s police department after prosecutors charged him with reckless driving and malicious destruction of property at a school.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the department has launched an internal affairs investigation against Diaz that will run concurrently with a Michigan State Police probe.

Mark Diaz

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office issued the complaint against Diaz on Friday, alleging he committed the crimes around 9 p.m. Dec. 20 at Holly Academy School in Holly.

“I am concerned,” Craig said. “However, Mark Diaz has been cooperative with us, and with the outside agency (state police). We will remain consistent in the way we deal with any officer charged with a felony, which is to suspend the officer without pay, pending the outcome of the case.”

Craig said it will be up to the union board to decide whether Diaz remains in his role as president.

The case was investigated by Michigan State Police, said Paul Walton, chief assistant prosecutor for the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.

The office charged Diaz with one count of malicious destruction of a building with damages between $1,000 and $20,000 and one count of reckless driving. He was arraigned Friday at 52-2 District Court, where he received a $10,000 personal bond.

Diaz is not to return to Holly Academy grounds, officials said. He is due back in court March 3 and March 10.

Walton declined to provide further details surrounding the incident.

“I’m very surprised by these charges,” Diaz told The Detroit News on Friday. “But we will cooperate with the justice system and get this adjudicated as soon as possible.”

Earlier Friday, Diaz was on hand for a news conference where public safety unions including police, endorsed Mayor Mike Duggan for re-election. He praised Duggan, saying last year opened public safety contracts to renegotiate wages.

Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Kenneth Reed released a statement Friday calling on Diaz to turn himself in to authorities “so that justice can be served.”

“From child pornography to drug dealing conspiracies to drunken driven to the shooting of an unarmed person, not to mention the damning report about interdepartmental racism, these allegations and reports add up to what is increasingly appearing to be a dysfunctional law enforcement function in our city,” Reed said in the statement. “Diaz’s alleged behavior is all the more troubling because of the connection with a school, and it is another black eye on the Detroit Police Department.”

Detroit News staff writer George Hunter contributed