Evans, Duggan Call State Police Chief’s Facebook Post ‘Breach of Public Trust’

“When you are in a position of leadership, you keep it to yourself,” says Evans.

Jake Neher/WDET

This week, the director of the Michigan State Police made waves when she shared a meme on Facebook that called national-anthem protesters “degenerates.” 

Athletes taking a knee during the anthem are protesting inequality in America, particularly the unfair and violent treatment of unarmed black people by police officers.  

Col. Kriste Etue of the State Police has since apologized for the post, and has received the backing of Gov. Rick Snyder, who says he will not fire her or ask her to resign.

But many critics think she is unfit to lead a department that is already dealing with controversies over how the organization and individual state troopers treat minorities.

This week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans put out a joint statement chastising Etue, and questioning her ability to lead her department.

The statement reads:

“Leadership begins with respect. And there’s nothing more important than respecting the constitutional rights of our citizens. State Police Col. Kriste Etue’s recent Facebook post shows a lack of respect for the people she serves and the post she holds.
Effective law enforcement is based on trust, mutual respect and the principle that the police will protect the rights of everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe. So when the head of the Michigan State Police posts a message demeaning citizens for exercising rights guaranteed them by the constitution, it damages the credibility of a department charged with protecting those rights. Gov. Snyder should treat this as the serious breach of trust that it is and take the steps necessary to make sure that this type of disrespect from our state’s law enforcement leadership will not be tolerated.

Evans, a former police officer who led the Detroit Police Department from 2009-2010, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the statement.

“I get the fact that we all have personal feelings about things that may not be in keeping with what everybody would like to see and hear,” says Evans. “The problem is, when you are in a position of leadership, you keep it to yourself.”

“People make mistakes, I get that,” he continues. “But at the core of this is, I think, a breach of the public trust and that needs to be regained.”

Evans says he won’t weigh in on how that trust should be regained. He and his joint statement with Duggan stop short of directly calling on Gov. Snyder to fire Etue. But, Evans says, “the silence has been deafening, to me, in terms of really reaching down and grabbing the essence of what was said and making it right.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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