Genesee County prosecutor changing warrant policy | Michigan Radio

Genesee County prosecutor changing warrant policy

Jun 16, 2020

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says his office will no longer accept warrant requests tied to charging someone for walking in a city street.

He says in the past, police officers have used the ordinance to uncover potential crimes, like illegal drug possession or outstanding warrants. 

Leyton says enforcement of something as minor as walking in the street is potentially selective and subjective.

“I suspect that far more African Americans are being burdened by being stopped in the street for walking as opposed to Caucasians. To me that’s unconstitutional,” says Leyton.

Leyton says the policy change is being made in light of important social conversations currently taking place across the nation.

The city of Flint has an ordinance against walking in the street. 

Flint Police Chief Phil Hart says his officers infrequently cite people for walking in the street. 

“If you’re walking on Dort Highway, most likely we’re going to make contact just to make sure the person is alright,” says Hart.

Hart says he would support scrapping the city ordinance.