A Detroit police officer was promoted to sergeant even though he had over 80 complaints against him, reports WXYZ. Sgt. Stephen Kue has been accused of targeting, harassing, and threatening people of color. He’s also accused of calling at least two civilians the n-word during stops.
Jay Brown said in 2015, Kue pulled up to him and demanded to know where the drugs were while aiming a gun at his chest. Brown was checking on a rental property at the time and told the officer. Kue searched Brown’s car and found nothing. But Brown said Kue called him the n-word after he received a seatbelt ticket even though he was in a parked car.
“He just said, ‘He’s just another stupid n-word,'” Brown said.
Brown issued a complaint but after an investigation, they found there were “insufficient facts” after Kue denied the claims.
In another instance, DeAndre Reed and his brother were hanging outside where they lived when Kue pulled upon them. Reed said Kue asked them if they had any guns or drugs and told them to lift their shirts and circle around.
The two were handcuffed and searched but nothing was found. But Kuo found that DeAndre had a traffic warrant and uttered the n-word, according to DeAndre.
“Thank my dumb n-word brother that I’m going to jail,” DeAndre recalled Kue saying. “He said it like it’s something he always says. He was very confident in saying it.”
DeAndre filed a report and had three other witnesses, his brother, his sister, and a bystander who lived nearby.
“He told the other brother, put your hands behind your back…and he was like, this is because of your n-word brother,” Bill Fleming, the bystander recalled. “And I was like whoa, man hold on. Wait a minute.”
All four told investigators that Kue said the n-word but Kue denied it. Eventually, the case against Kue was dismissed.
In total, Stephen Kue had 85 complaints against him in his 12 years as an officer. The average officer in the department had eight complaints against them with some officers with none. More troubling was that most of the complaints were filed by black people.
Although Kue had a history of complaints lodged against him accusing him of racist language, excessive force, and harassing people of color, he was promoted.
There were times when Kue was disciplined but that was for not activating his body camera.
The closest he got to actually getting fired was when he shot a dog to death during a drug raid in 2018. He initially denied that he fired his gun but ballistics confirmed he shot the dog. When internal affairs asked him about it he told them he forgot. The disciplinary sergeant recommended Kue be terminated but his commanding officer dismissed the case stating that it dragged out for too long.
Instead of getting fired, three months later he was promoted to sergeant.
Now, after WXYZ reported their story, Stephen Kue was taken off patrol and placed on administrative duty.
“The Detroit Police Department is deeply troubled and disappointed by the perceived pattern of conduct and behavior shown by Sergeant Kue,” the Detroit Police Department Chief James White said. “I’ve immediately launched a full investigation and removed him from patrol and placed him on administrative duty. I will personally review each complaint against Sgt. Kue as well as, review the previous actions of the command team member(s) who dismissed the disturbing allegations. This does not represent the values of the hardworking and dedicated men and women of this police department. Our community expects and should receive policing excellence, respect, and integrity.”