By Sherry Sokolowski
Man in Distress Approaches Officers
On Sept. 8 at 11:10 a.m., Officers Timothy Nelson and Martin Ruiz were patrolling in the Bostwick Commons when a distressed man approached them. The man was later identified and he told the officers that he needed help getting a ride home to his grandmother’s house in White Cloud, Michigan. He said he had come to Grand Rapids to look for his girlfriend.
The man told officers that he was having a bad day due to allegedly being harassed by Grand Rapids Police officers and was considering harming himself. He also stated that he’d been caring for his grandmother for 10 years and was just trying to get home. Officers gave the man bottled water and asked if he needed medical attention, to which he claimed he didn’t. Officers called the man’s grandmother to arrange transportation to the home and were told by the man he’d wait for his ride. The man currently has an officer safety caution regarding a mental health injunctive order, but he had no warrants.
Man Threatens GRCC Employee Over Laptops for Sale
On Sept. 8 at 4:50 p.m., Officer Zack Penniman met a GRCC student employee in the lobby of the GRCC police department. She was working for the school’s online store pick-up center when a customer came in saying he wanted to buy laptops.
The employee took the customer downstairs in Sneden Hall to see the inventory of laptops for sale. She said the man tried to negotiate with her to lower the prices: when she told him that the prices were set prices, he grew verbally aggressive and made threats to harm her. The employee told the man that she didn’t set the prices but if she contacted her supervisor, they might be able to work something out. She then walked the man out of the store.
Penniman was given the man’s phone number. When Penniman called the man, he asked if he made threats or became upset, to which the man claimed he didn’t. Penniman told the man he wasn’t allowed on GRCC’s property as he was not a student. The man asked how he could get the trespassing order reversed because he still wanted to purchase the laptops. Penniman said he’d speak to the employee’s supervisor regarding the situation.
After speaking with GRCC Police Chief Rebecca Whitman, Penniman and Whitman set up a virtual meeting with the student employee and the director of purchasing. The decision was made to no longer allow the man on campus. They let the man know via email that he was no longer able to shop at GRCC”s online store and of the trespassing warning.
Man Trespassing in the Applied Technology Center
On Sept. 15 at 5:57 p.m., Officers Thomas Stasiak, , Michelle Tett, and Penniman were sent to the ATC Building in regards to a homeless man on the premises. Stasiak and Tett checked the first floor of the building while Penniman searched the second floor. As they were looking for the man, they were given an updated description of the person. The man was later found in front of the Ferris State University office at a table.
The officers explained that they received multiple calls from individuals saying he was begging for money and asking to use people’s cell phones. He denied those claims and said he used to be a student at FSU.
After identifying the man, they found that he had a clear record and had a mental health order. There was no order to pick him up to transport him to treatment. The man recognized Penniman from having prior contact with him at the GRCC Library. He was given a trespassing warning and was told he couldn’t come back unless he was trying to enroll at GRCC or FSU. The man left the premises without any altercation.