Macomb Police Chief Barker Must Go/Investigate Macomb P​.​D.

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Questions for Mayor Inman, City Administrator, and City Council Members re: Macomb P.D. Role in Disappearance of a Disabled Black Man

January 17, 2020

[Note: Based upon interviews and collaboration and input from multiple sources in our city, we believe the following to be accurate based upon our understanding at this time. As we are volunteers, community members, and concerned human beings, we believe the overall picture of this situation emerging from these preliminary findings is of sufficient concern to warrant a demand for action.]

Situation: A mentally disabled, traumatized Black man with intellectual challenges went missing a few weeks ago in our community. He has a legal guardian, his brother, who is also Black.

The guardian brother, worried and desperate to find him, tried to make a report about his missing brother at the police station. They refused to help him, claiming that since his brother was an adult, they couldn’t take a report. The brother kept trying to locate him on his own, without any police help. 

More days passed. The brother asked yet another police officer to take a report, and he refused as well. But one of the police officers told the brother that another officer had given his brother a one-way ticket to Chicago. The statement was witnessed.

The brother continued his search without any assistance nor even support from the Macomb Police Department.

A few days later, the police officer then changed his story and stated they hadn’t given him a ticket and sent him away. Frantic and traumatized, the brother, who is his guardian, finally received aid from a professional health provider who went with him to the police station to insist they finally report his brother as missing and endangered.

The Macomb P.D. finally, approximately two weeks later, filed the missing persons report, neglecting to mention in that report he was missing because they had given him a one-way ticket to a city where he has nobody to help him. The Chicago Police Department located him, sitting on a stoop, with frostbitten feet, in the same clothes he had left Macomb with two weeks prior.

The brother who is the guardian of this man not only wasn’t offered any assistance nor apology, he had to drive up to get his brother and bring him back to his home community at his own expense, with no assistance from the Macomb police, who had created this emergency in the first place through their own actions.

When we became aware of the situation, we notified the paper, who began asking questions of the police. The police responded with an article reminding people to register in a database to assist with location services, BUT completely ignored the fact that this man was harmed, and could have died, due to their actions and then their failures to help locate him in a timely manner.

Worse, the police appear to have decided to make the man go “missing by design”, a practice so-called “leaders” in our community have used in the past to “get rid of” persons they deemed unwanted and/or unwelcome in our community. Basically, they give a person a one-way bus or train ticket to anywhere they want to go, to encourage them to leave our community and not return. We wish to know if this is indeed what happened in this case, as nothing else seems to explain the bizarre behavior of the Macomb Police Department.

In lieu of exculpatory evidence or proper, public acknowledgement of a mistake, we think this is likely what happened here. When the police officers knew they had sent a person out of this community who had a legal guardian, instead of doing the right thing, they closed ranks and tried to lay the groundwork for blaming the victim or ignoring the danger and harm they caused.

Because of the way this situation has played out, and the apparent lack of remorse nor even acknowledgement of harm done, the Democratic Women of McDonough County call for:

  • Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker to immediately STEP DOWN or BE REMOVED by the man who appointed him, Mayor Mike Inman.
  • an investigation be launched by McDonough County State’s Attorney, Matt Kwacala
  • an explanation, with full apology, be read into the public record at a city council meeting
  • written answers to our questions from Mayor Inman and the Macomb Police Department
  • A commitment from Mayor Inman and the City Council that the “one-way ticket” program be ENDED permanently.

Chief Barker must go. The Macomb Police Department must be investigated. 

We held a press conference on 1/17/20 at which the information on this page was read into the public record on our Facebook page. We wish to thank all those who participated, supported us, provided affidavits, witness, and to the people in the community who found the courage to relate disturbing information despite the risk of job loss and/or retaliation.

We wish to state clearly that we support most of the Macomb Police Department officers and employees, and are grateful for their service to our community. Their leadership, and certain police officers must be investigated, however, and we will continue shedding light on these case until the facts of these events are known.