Highland Park detective on leave after pastor's arrest
The Highland Park Police Department has placed a detective on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the arrest of a pastor and gubernatorial campaign manager for Democrat Shri Thanedar.
Chief Chester Logan requested that Michigan State Police assist in the investigation regarding the Rev. David Alexander Bullock's arrest by Detective Keath Bartynski, according to a statement issued by the city this weekend.
Bullock and others rallied outside Bullock's church, Greater St. Matthew Baptist, on La Belle, on Sunday and called for the officer's firing.
Sen. Coleman Young II, running to replace U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. in the 13th Congressional District, was among the speakers.
“When the police do their jobs, we thank them,” Young said. “But when they arrest a man of God trying to tend to his flock, that’s wrong. I’m heartbroken over what happened, but I’m also thankful he’s here with us.”
Bullock instructed the audience to “make some noise for Mike Brown. Make some noise for Sandra Bland. Make some noise for Tamir Rice,” all three having been killed in encounters with police.
While Bullock said Sunday he “just wants to get back to normal” leading his church and managing Thanedar’s campaign, the arrest shook him. Changing a city ordinance, he believes, to require HIghland Park officers to live in the city is necessary.
Bartynski joined the department about 3½ years ago, said city spokeswoman Marli Blackman on Sunday.
In its statement over the weekend, the Police Department said it has reached out to Bullock, but "we have not been successful in getting a response." Bullock said Sunday that the city never tried, and that he would participate in the investigation if asked.
Police initially were called on June 24 to the area outside Bullock’s church, for reports of a woman who was breaking out car windows and who allegedly had assaulted two people, including a 12-year-old girl. The church called the police, Bullock said.
While police were speaking to a woman at the scene, Bullock, who was in his office when the assaults occurred, was called outside for the “situation.”
Police said Bullock began “yelling and demanding to know what the police officer was doing with this woman,” Blackman told The Detroit News last week.
When Bullock refused to go back inside, he was arrested, ticketed and later released, Blackman said. He was cited for obstructing justice, Blackman said.
A June 25 video posted on Thanedar's Facebook page appears to show an officer leading Bullock to the opposite side of the street before telling him to stay there while he conducted his investigation.
When the officer returned to speak with a witness, who appears to be the one filming, Bullock followed the officer back. The officer then handcuffed Bullock and placed him in a patrol car.
"He immediately took me as somebody trying to undermine his authority,” Bullock said last week.
Bullock is a Detroit activist known for his work as state coordinator for the Rainbow PUSH coalition. He is a past president of the Highland Park NAACP and a former radio host on 910 AM.