GRPD suspends 3 officers amid Kuiper investigation

A photo from the scene of a crash involving a Kent County assistant prosecutor, provided by the victim. (Nov. 19, 2016)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department has suspended three officers for their handling of an alcohol-related crash involving an ex-assistant prosecutor.

According to a release from the department, the officers have been suspended without pay, pending a termination hearing. The hearing has not been scheduled. The officer, sergeant and lieutenant were previously on administrative leave during the investigation.

FILE -- Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper talks to 24 Hour News 9 on March 25, 2015.
FILE — Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper talks to 24 Hour News 9 on March 25, 2015.

The officers were at the center of an internal investigation and an investigation by Michigan State Police after former Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper crashed his car into a parked vehicle. Kuiper, 42, was the at-fault driver in a wrong-way head-on crash with a parked car on Union Avenue SE. The car’s owner was injured in the collision, which happened around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 19.

A Grand Rapids officer called to the crash interviewed Kuiper and gave him a field sobriety test. Police reports indicated alcohol was a factor in the accident, but the officer also wrote that Kuiper “was able to perform well” on the field sobriety test. The officer did not give Kuiper a breathalyzer test, but ticketed the assistant prosecutor for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Kuiper has since resigned from the prosecutor’s office. The victim in the crash, Daniel Empson, is now suing Kuiper. Empson is still recovering from his injuries.

Grand Rapids police have not released the officer’s names, saying they are waiting for the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether the officers will be charged.