HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZO — The Hazel Park police chief is pushing back against allegations made in a controversial new billboard that suggests racial profiling is prevalent near 8 Mile Road. On the streets of Detroit and Hazel Park, drivers are also weighing in on the controversy.
“It’s definitely a problem. You can have a license and still won’t feel comfortable because you know you probably will be pulled over and harassed,” says driver Candace Anderson. She supports the billboard that now provides a hotline for incidents to be reported. “The billboard is needed and there should be more. You’re completely not welcome and they make sure you know that.”
Another driver tells 7 Action News, “My African American friends don’t want to come over because they don’t want to get pulled over, and racially profiled. It’s about time they put a spotlight on it.”
However, the chief says the claims are unfair and not reflective of the relations between law enforcement and the community.
“I’m very disappointed," said Hazel Park police chief Brian Bucholz. "I believe our officers are treating people fairly. We need the trust of the community for us to be effective in what we do. We cannot tell who’s driving that car at 500 feet away, using the technology we have to enforce speeding violations.”
During a demonstration, a Hazel Park officer also showed us someone driving more than 700 feet away, who was speeding at a distance creating a limited view of the driver.
Still, organizers say more billboards are planned throughout the year and no meetings are set up for both sides to talk. The chief is urging anyone with a complaint after interacting with an officer to contact them for a thorough review and body camera footage will be considered to determine what took place.