Family kept GRPD body cam after 4 arrested

Grand Rapids family says arrests at 74th birthday party were unnecessary

eunique allen, body camera, birthday party arrests
Eunique Allen and several of her family members were arrested at her mother's 74th birthday party. She says they kept a GRPD officer's body camera after he lost it for evidence of unfair treatment. (Aug. 1, 2016)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman says after a Grand Rapids police officer lost his body camera while she and some of her family members were arrested at a birthday party, her family kept it for evidence of unfair treatment.

“We went to jail for nothing,” Eunique Allen said.

The family involved said the situation Saturday night should have ended with a request to turn down the music — not a felony charge and three other arrests. They said they want all the charges dropped.

Allen said she and her family were at her mother’s house on Prince Street off Eastern Avenue SE for her mother’s 74th birthday party. They were eating and listening to music when police showed up just before 10 p.m.

eunique allen, marie allen, body camera, birthday party arrests
Four people, including her daughter, were arrested at Marie Allen’s 74th birthday party. (Aug. 1, 2016)

“One of the kids told me that the police was out front…,” Allen’s mother, Marie Allen, said. “I went to the front to greet the police.”

She said when she went to the end of her driveway, police were asking for party-goers’ identification and then began making arrests.

“All hell broke loose,” Eunique Allen said.

A Grand Rapids Police Department officer wears a body camera. (Dec. 17, 2015)
A GRPD officer wears a body camera. (file)

The press release sent out by GRPD detailing the incident said that “while trying to identify the individual responsible for the party the situation deteriorated resulting in the arrest of four subjects.” The release went on to say that one of the people involved “became actively resistant” and the officer’s body cam was knocked off.

“The camera was picked up by another individual who refused to return the camera and threw the camera into a neighboring yard. The Body Worn Camera was evidently picked up by an unknown individual in the crowd prior to officers being able to retrieve it,” the release continued.

Eunique Allen said she was the one who picked up the camera, initially thinking it was her fiancé’s cellphone. She said she tried to give it back.

In cellphone video taken by a neighbor, an officer can be heard yelling at Allen to give the camera back. She said she did, throwing it onto the ground.

“If I would have threw it at him, then that’s probable cause to arrest me,” she said. “But me throwing it like that? No, not at all.”

eunique allen, marie allen, body camera, birthday party arrests
Four people, including her daughter, were arrested at Marie Allen’s 74th birthday party. Family members say they kept a GRPD officer’s body camera after he lost it for evidence of unfair treatment. (Aug. 1, 2016)

She was arrested, along with three other people at the party. She was charged with felony resisting obstructing an officer and her mother was fined for throwing a disruptive party.

Allen said her daughter then kept the body camera as evidence for a judge.

“We’re just trying to hold the body camera so they can see the evidence that police was on some bull****,” she said.

The body camera was returned. GRPD says it will release the video, but has not specified when. A GRPD spokesperson said the officers acted accordingly; however, any alleged misconduct will be fully investigated.

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