UPDATE: Calls for Michigan civil rights director to step down grow


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/AP) – 15 state senators are calling for the resignation Director Agustin Arbulu of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

The list includes Senators Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Jim Ananich (D-Flint), Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit), Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Marshall Bullock II (D-Detroit), Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing), Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia), Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) and Paul Wojno (D-Warren).

“The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and addressing incidents of discrimination, bias and hate. We no longer have confidence Dr. Arbulu can appropriately lead in addressing such serious issues. Actions have consequences, and public officials are not immune to being held accountable for theirs,” they said in a joint statement.

Arbulu was appointed to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission by former Gov. Rick Snyder in January 2013, serving as secretary until he left the Commission in October of 2015. He was then selected by the commission to serve as executive director.

UPDATE (6:25 p.m.) State Representative Sarah Anthony want Arbulu to step down immediately saying “when I started to get the information the actual words that were said I was disgusted, again we have an individual who is the watchdog for harassment and discriminatory complaints making these off-color remarks it was disgusting and at the end of the day other elected officials from the top on down will start to look at the additional information and say enough is enough”

UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): The Michigan Civil Rights Commission sent a letter to Governor Whitmer on the decision to keep, but discipline Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu.

ORIGINAL STORY: Calls for the head of the Michigan agency that investigates discrimination complaints to resign are growing as new details emerge about inappropriate comments he admitted objectified women.

The Civil Rights Commission reprimanded the Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu after remarks he made to a male staffer outside a May listening session.

Documents obtained by news outlets Friday say that Arbulu told the staffer to “check out” a woman, among other things. Later, Arbulu told an investigator that he was waiting for his adult daughter and he described his daughter as “hot.”

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blasted the commission’s decision to let Arbulu keep his job. Two state lawmakers have called for him to resign.

Arbulu says his comments were a mistake, but he’s focused on continuing his work at the department.

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