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DeWitt police officer fired for pulling gun on Black teen delivering newspapers

Posted at 9:55 AM, Nov 15, 2021

Former City of DeWitt police officer Chad Vorce was fired in May after a string of policy violations during an incident on the morning of Jan. 14, including excessive and unjustified use of force.

Vorce, who is white, pulled a gun on Black 19-year-old man who was delivering newspapers for the Lansing State Journal. Vorce was off duty at the time.

Just after 7 a.m. that day, Vorce was taking his teenage son to school when he saw a gray van in his neighborhood that he found suspicious. Vorce approached the van in his red pickup truck wearing civilian clothes and asked the driver what he was doing.

According to Vorce, cars had been getting broken into near his home and he thought the driver fit the description of the suspect. The driver responded with "I'm just doing me." Vorce called 911.

Vorce is heard on the 911 call saying there was a "Black male hanging out in the area" who "needs to be checked."

"The plate's covered up with dirt so I can't get it," Vorce told the operator.

Vorce followed the driver, who later said he put his vehicle in reverse to try to speak with Vorce. But, when he reversed, Vorce did, too. Vorce later said he thought the man was trying to ram him.

Vorce exited his vehicle and pulled out his gun, pointing it at the driver. He told the 911 operator he was "going to go shots fired if he does it again."

The driver said he saw the gun and left. He would tell investigators he thought was going to get shot and wanted to get to somewhere public.

They ended up at a Sunoco gas station, where Vorce blocked the man's vehicle, identified himself as a police officer and demanded he exit, pointing his gun at him. A city of DeWitt police officer and a Michigan State Police trooper arrived shortly after. They detained the driver.

The DeWitt Police Department said in a statement that Vorce was immediately placed on administrative leave for violations of city and police department policy.

Though the Clinton County prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges, the city of DeWitt conducted an internal investigation and determined the policy violations warranted termination. Vorce was fired on May 5.

Vorce appealed the termination. His appeal is in the arbitration process and the city of DeWitt expects to know the results of the arbitrator’s decision in the next 30 to 45 days.

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