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Democrats decry councilman's arrest

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Democrats decry councilman's arrest

Actions of sheriff's deputies amount to racial harassment, they contend


Democratic colleagues of Ann Arbor City Councilman Larry Hunter contend that his arrest by Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies last week following a traffic stop amounts to racial harassment.

Hunter, 39, was arrested Thursday night for allegedly assaulting a sheriff’s deputy after the car in which he was a passenger was stopped in Ypsilanti Township for a missing bumper and defective tail light. Deputies also arrested the driver of the car, Raymond Chauncey, 46, an employee of the city of Ann Arbor for the past 21 years.

Hunter said the next morning that there was “absolutely no basis” for the arrest, and questioned why deputies asked him for identification and searched him. He said he inadvertently touched a deputy while being searched, and Hunter said another deputy laughed and said, “That’s assault.”

Hunter, who did not attend Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, filed a complaint against the sheriff’s department, alleging that he was harassed because he is black.

Sheriff’s department officials have not responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from The News seeking copies of the arresting deputy’s report and Hunter’s complaint. The sheriff’s department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident.

City Councilwoman Ann Marie Coleman, who represents the 1st Ward along with Hunter, said Tuesday she is “truly outraged” over the incident.

“Everyone reports that when they have a tail light out and they’re stopped by the police, they get a warning,” she said. “I’m speechless that they did all they did with Mr. Chauncey and Mr. Hunter.”

A trio of council Republicans — Joe Borda, who represents the 5th Ward, and Mayor Jerry Jernigan and Jerry Schleicher, of the 4th Ward — all refused comment, saying they did not have adequate information on the incident to make a statement.

Nelson Meade, D-3rd Ward, contrasted reports of the incident with an instance when he was treated in a “very polite” manner and not ticketed after driving a short distance with his headlights off.

“He (Hunter) was incensed, I believe, and properly so,” Meade said.

Liz Brater, a Democratic who represents the 3rd Ward and also is running for mayor against Jernigan, said she was “very disturbed to learn about this incident. Every member of council, both Democrats and Republicans, should be concerned to see that no injustice has been done against a citizen of Ann Arbor.”


... has filed complaint