Michigan Needs Transparency of Police Misconduct Records

Kevin Harrington. Photo from the Michigan Innocence Clinic.

Kevin Harrington was wrongfully convicted of a murder in Inkster, Michigan and spent seventeen years in prison before he was exonerated this past April. Kevin’s conviction was based entirely on a witness’s false testimony, which had been coerced by police who threatened her if she refused to cooperate. Kevin is one of 34 Michiganders who have been exonerated after serving years in prison because of police misconduct. 

In Michigan police officers’ disciplinary histories are mostly unavailable through public records requests. This means that the public, journalists, and even attorneys have no way of knowing which officers are engaging in ongoing misconduct or if any disciplinary actions have been enforced. Secrecy laws that protect those officers leave the public in the dark about information that could prevent future miscarriages of justice. 

The Michigan Legislature is currently considering legislation to fix this — House Bill 4291 would open up access to police disciplinary records.

Sign up to support passing HB 4291 to bring transparency to police disciplinary records and prevent wrongful convictions in Michigan.

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