Michigan Court Won’t Review Controversial Police Fingerprint, Photo Procedure

Critics say the policy is akin to “stop and frisk” and disproportionately affects young black men.

Jerome Vaughn

A controversial Grand Rapids police procedure can continue, for now. A Michigan Court of Appeals chose to not decide if the so-called “photograph and print” — or “P and P” — procedure is constitutional.

Grand Rapids police officers stopped a young man in a parking lot and took his picture and fingerprints because he didn’t have an ID on him.

Miriam Aukerman is a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. She said this policy is akin to “stop and frisk” and disproportionately affects young black men.

“The photograph and print procedure is an example of the type of aggressive police tactics that undermine trust and lead to a feeling of a community being policed rather than that they’re operating in partnership,” she said.

Lawyers for the police department argued that the officer’s actions were not based on race and the stop was based on reasonable suspicion.

But Aukerman argues that the policy does violate the Fourth Amendment.

“None of us believe that if you walk out of the house in the morning, and forget your wallet and forget your purse that you should end up in a government database in the afternoon,” she said.

Aukerman says she has been told the Grand Rapids police are not using the procedure as much.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.