Detroit Assistant Police Chief to Head Michigan Civil Rights Commission

August 25, 2020, 12:59 PM by  Allan Lengel

James E. White

Detroit Assistant Police Chief James White on Monday was selected as head of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

"With our vote for James White as the next Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the commission has selected an experienced administrator to provide thoughtful, yet strong, leadership for the department and its employees," Chair Stacie Clayton said in a statement.

"Mr. White’s guidance of the Detroit Police Department’s Civil Rights Integrity Bureau, along with his graduate level degrees in business and sociology, will allow him to lay the groundwork to move the MDCR into a new era."

Those voting Monday for his appointment were Clayton, Laura Reyes Kopack, Jeffrey Sakwa, Ira Combs, Regina Gasco-Bentley and Denise Grim. 

The eight-member commission, established in 1963, issued a statement:

Mr. White currently serves as the Assistant Chief of the Detroit Police Department.  With almost 25 years of exemplary law enforcement experience, problem-solving and decision-making skills, the Commission believes Mr. White can help to address one of our state’s and the country’s most prevalent issues – the enforcement of civil rights while reforming police operations and improving community relations.

He's expected to begin Sept. 21, replacing attorney Agustin Arbulu, who was booted a year ago after sexist remarks.

The commission holds public hearings and investigates selected complaints about alleged discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, gender, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability.

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