The Grand Rapids Police Department is back in hot water after a judge ordered the release of several phone recordings showing a cover-up in the investigation of a drunk-driving crash involving a prosecutor.
On November 19, 2016, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper was allegedly drunk when he drove down a one-way street in Grand Rapids and caused a crash, injuring a man — Daniel Empson — getting into his vehicle on the street.
Officer Adam Ickes of the Grand Rapids Police Department responded to the crash, and Kuiper was let go from the scene even though he was intoxicated, according to the recordings.
Phone recordings ordered to be released by a Michigan Court of Appeals judge on September 13 show Ickes conspiring with Sgt. Thomas Warwick and Lt. Matthew Janiskee on how to cover-up the crash report.
The three officers were suspended without pay in January, and termination hearings were to be held the next month for all three of them. Instead, though, Ickes was suspended for 30 days without pay, Warwick for 160 hours, also receiving a demotion to officer, as well as being placed on a two-year probation.
Janiskee, who seemed from the recordings to be one of the main conspirators, was fired and is currently suing the city. He claims that his rights were violated and has actively tried to get his job back.
In one of the recordings, the officers suggested using a phone line they believed wasn’t being recorded. However, the audio was recorded.
Speaking to Janiskee, the watch commander that evening, Ickes referred to Kuiper as being “hammered.” Ickes says Kuiper admitted to being intoxicated as he approached his vehicle.
Janiskee then asks Ickes how much of the ordeal was captured on “ICV” and his body camera, and he replies that “plenty of it” was.
“Let’s, let’s pass him if we can, if we can’t we can’t, Adam,” Janiskee can be heard saying in regard to the field sobriety tests. “We’re not going to get f***ed.”
Janiskee tells Ickes that he’d “like to pass him on sobrieties,” and Ickes vows to do what he can to do that.
Listen to the first police recording on line 3407 in the videos below:
During the second recording, Ickes tells Janiskee that Kuiper struggled through some the field sobriety tests and skipped “the one-foot stand.”
“How much has everybody seen there?” Janiskee asks Ickes.
Listen to the second audio recording below:
Things turn south in the third recording, as Warwick joins in on the conversation.
“He’s f***ed up,” Warwick cane be heard saying before later telling Janiskee that he was going to cite Kuiper with a “ticket for driving the wrong way on a one way.”
The three officers then engage in talks about how to draft the incident report and what to include or leave out.
Listen to the third recording below:
In the fourth recording, the officers say that Empson was taken to the hospital because of his injuries. Janiskee indicates he would send a text to his “ol’ lady” about the incident because he wouldn’t “see her tomorrow.”
Janiskee’s wife is Monica Janiskee, who was a Kent County assistant prosecutor at the time.
The last recording involves the officers talking about how they see the case unfolding, saying that investigators may decide to “pull footage” from the crash.
Warwick inquires about the possibility of the tapes getting released and Janiskee says they won’t “because I’ll f***ing tell (Monica) not to.”
Listen to the final recording below: