Ronald Dupuis, a police officer from Highland Park, Michigan, has a record of questionable — and even outright bad — behavior dating back to the 1980s. These decades of missteps don’t seem to be hampering his career, though.
With almost daily reports of brutality and fatal shootings of unarmed black people by police, activists in America are asking why officers so rarely face lasting consequences for their actions.
When Darren Wilson left his post with the Ferguson Police Department, crowdfunding efforts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the man who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Investigations into Wilson’s past revealed that he’d first been employed by a Missouri police force that was disbanded for corruption.
A similar pattern emerged in the recent slaying of Walter Scott. Writing for Counter Current News, Jackson Mariana reported that Scott’s killer, North Charleston Police Officer Michael Thomas Slager, had a history of violent incidents:
“Back in 2013, Mario Givens, an African American North Charleston man, had been ‘roughed up’ when Slager came to his door, demanding to be let in ‘as part of an investigation.’”
North Charleston Police have faced 46 federal lawsuits since 2000.
But few cops can match the checkered past of Sgt. Ronald Dupuis, the officer from Highland Park, Michigan, who remains employed despite a string of incidents that have followed him through multiple departments. Highland Park is the seventh police force to employ Dupuis.
A new lawsuit alleges that Dupuis held two women in jail without charges for four days. Shockingly, the incident didn’t even begin in Highland Park, where Dupuis is employed as a cop and where he allegedly imprisoned the two women, “Rhianna Turner and her domestic partner Kera Hill.” Instead, Dupuis is accused of intervening in an incident in Detroit.
In September 2013, a sheriff’s deputy witnessed the pair “playfully wrestling over a set of keys,” and intervened because he feared an assault had occurred. Although both women denied a crime had occurred, Dupuis arrived on the scene, arrested the two women, and took them to jail in nearby Highland Park. Though no charges were filed, Turner lost her job as a Detroit Parking Enforcement Officer.
Just this past January, Dupuis made headlines when he was videotaped beating a man suspected of carjacking.
“The video of the arrest, which was recorded by Detroit resident Emma Craig on Monday on the city’s northwest side and posted on Facebook, shows Dupuis striking the suspect several times while apparently trying to handcuff him and administering a final blow after Jackson’s hands were secured behind his back,” reported George Hunter in The Detroit News.
In 2012, Dupuis was hospitalized for shooting himself in the leg with his own gun, which discharged accidentally outside a cell block. Another incident involved him choking a woman he had in custody.
He was previously fired from the Hamtramck, Michigan, Police Department for using a taser on his own partner. Although a jury declined to convict him for it, courts refused to force the city to reinstate Dupuis, which is how he ended up employed by Highland Park.
Reneé Harrington, creator of the Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence Project, compiled a lengthy timeline of Dupuis-related incidents dating back to 1997. According to the timeline, the Southgate, Michigan, Police Department fired him in 1999 for stalking a woman and repeatedly pulling her over.
Because there is a lack of national data on police violence in general, it is difficult to determine how often police face consequences for their crimes. But in 2013, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey estimated that 90 percent of officers fired from the Philadelphia Police Department force were later rehired through arbitration with police unions — even those accused of crimes including shoplifting and sexual assault.