GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A phone line in the Grand Rapids Police Department’s watch commander’s office once marked “non recorded” had in fact been recording conversations since 2010, according to documents filed Thursday in an ongoing lawsuit in federal court.
The city is continuing to claim the recording of line 616-456-3407 as accidental and that no one at the city knew it was recording up until Dec. 7, 2016, according to the documents filed in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Michigan.
The city attorney’s office declined to comment on whether the phone line was still recording, citing ongoing litigation.
The city of Grand Rapids initiated the suit Feb. 3, asking a judge to rule whether recordings on the line could be used as evidence as they investigated the conduct of three officers – or if they broke laws in “inadvertently” recording the calls.
The recorded phone line was discovered as internal investigators examined how the officers handled a Nov. 19, 2016, wrong-way crash by former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper. The responding Officer Adam Ickes said Kuiper appeared “hammered,” but Kuiper ultimately was not charged for driving while intoxicated.
The five phone calls on line 3407 between the officers as they investigated the crash have not been made public.
Former Lt. Matthew Janiskee – who was fired for his involvement in directing the crash investigation – filed a countersuit to the city’s claims. He had filed a motion for discovery this summer, seeking to find out who asked that the line be recorded.
The city responded in its Thursday filing, asking the motion be denied. Documents filed with the city’s response reveal more about the “non recorded” phone line’s history.
Prior to 2010, line 3407 had been set up in the watch commander’s office as a private, unrecorded line, according to a statement filed in court from Paul Klimas, the city’s Director of…