FBI Investigation

Mace was not the only controversy that dogged the department in 1968. In November of that year, the local ACLU filed a civil rights complaint against the department through the Justice Department. This complaint led to speculation that the department would be investigated by the FBI. The charges ranged from civil rights violations to illegal entry and illegal searches. There were rumors that the FBI investigation would lead to indictments against Ann Arbor Officers.

Needless to say, Chief Krasny was not happy about the investigation and at first could not even find out if there was one. Officials at the Justice Department further confused the situation. Their spokesman, Kenneth McIntyre, gave a statement about the potential investigation that was ambiguous at best. McIntyre did state that charges could be brought against the local police department under a 100 year old civil rights act which protected American citizens from being deprived of due process of law.

Chief Krasny spoke with local and Detroit FBI agents who were unaware of any investigation. The chief was incensed over McIntyre's statements, saying the original news release from McIntyre “indicts us even though we had no official knowledge of the charges or of the accusers. At the very best this action shows a lack of professional courtesy on the part of the U.S. Justice Department.” The chief stated that since the charges were criminal in nature his officers “who are accused would be given all possible legal protection. A police officer forfeits none of his constitutional rights when he becomes a public official.”

The chief felt the department's crackdown on narcotics traffic could have led to the investigation. “We've made numerous arrests, have broken up a good part of a narcotics ring, been keeping the heat on steadily,” he said. “It's possible people who are starting to feel that heat figure a red herring by way of a federal investigation will slow us down. It won't.”

It was finally found that the charges stemmed from a drug raid which occurred at 1513 S. University. Allegedly 12 officers raided an apartment there, whose occupants were suspected of narcotics dealing. The front door was kicked in without a search warrant after the occupants failed to open the door. Three different searches took place over a three week period and each time no narcotics were discovered. Depositions were taken from the occupants and forwarded to the council members.

Chief Krasny stated his officers had probable cause to allow the search. “The information we had led us to believe that something more serious was going on in the apartment,” he said. “On the first search, we had a search warrant. On the second, we had criminal warrants for people we suspected lived in the apartment. And the third time we had good reason to believe that a life was being threatened at the apartment.”

The Detroit office of the FBI admitted on December 2, that two agents from that office were in fact looking into the complaint. A spokesmen for the FBI stated the investigation began immediately after the complaint was received. All information was to be turned over to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. These agents met with Chief Krasny for four hours on December 3 and the chief would not make any comments after the meeting.

The city attorney's office issued a report on the incident on January 13, 1969. The report found the search conducted by the officers was legal and justified. The police department had received a call that a knife fight was going on in the apartment. When the officers could not get anyone to come to the door, it was forced open. The report concluded that the officers did have reason to believe a felony had been committed and their procedure for entering the building was correct.

The FBI did not report on any violations committed by Ann Arbor Officers. This did nothing to lead to a smoother relationship or gain the trust of many people in the community. Due to the changing times, there was tremendous distrust between the police and the citizens. This point is illustrated by a resolution that city council attempted to pass in October of 1969.

This resolution would have required officers to hand out a pamphlet to anyone that they had arrested, searched or stopped. This pamphlet would describe citizen's rights when dealing with the police. The proposal would also have required the officers to fill out a police “contact slip” to everyone they spoke with.

Chief Krasny did not think highly of the idea. He stated the slip system would be impractical, and in an emergency situation where many persons are contacted, handing out this slip would be “ludicrous.”

Some citizens were also not happy about this resolution and attempted to recall Mayor Harris as “he has permitted interference with the lawful and necessary operation of the Ann Arbor Police Department in its attempt to maintain the public peace and prevent criminal acts.”

The resolution was never passed.