DeWitt police officer fired after pulling gun on Black teen delivering newspapers

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DEWITT, Mich. (WLNS) – 6 News is learning more about a City of DeWitt police officer that was terminated after an incident on Jan. 14, 2021.

Former Dewitt Police Officer Chad Vorce was off-duty and thought a teen was a suspect in recent break-ins and was breaking the law again, but he was actually just delivering newspapers.

The teen was identified as Alexander Hamilton.

“I thought it was him because he fits the same description, black hoodie… Fricken black guy,” said Vorce.

That’s why Vorce said he decided to follow Hamilton, and even told that to Hamilton.

On a recording of an MSP trooper, you can hear him repeat what Vorce said…”He told the kid right to his face, when I see a Black guy, you know I think you’re doing stuff like this,” said the trooper.

It started around 7:15 a.m. the morning on Jan. 14, 2021. Vorce says he came up on Hamilton in his van and asked if he needed directions. Hamilton responded by saying “I’m just doing me.”

Vorce called 9-1-1 for Hamilton to be checked on.

“There’s a Black male in the area, and he needs to be checked,” said Vorce to a 911 operator.

When Hamilton said “I’m just doing me,” Vorce backed up and drove behind him.

“I tried to back up and reverse around him so I could talk to him but he just kept backing up, kept backing up so I just eventually turned off and left the whole neighborhood,” said Hamilton to a state police interviewer.

Hamilton’s license plate was covered with dirt so Vorce couldn’t get his plate numbers and he continued to follow Hamilton out of the neighborhood.

When he tried to back up and talk to him again, Vorce thought he was trying to back into his truck.
“He just tried to ram me!” Vorce said. “He’s trying to ram me! I’m going to go shots fired if he does it again!” Vorce said on the 9-1-1 call.

But minutes later, Vorce pointed his gun at Hamilton while he was still in his van, so Hamilton drove off towards a gas station.

You can see them driving around the gas pumps until they both stop and Vorce gets out and points his gun at Hamilton.

A witness statement says that Vorce threatened to shoot Hamilton.

Another witness said he was shocked at Vorce’s behavior

“It just seemed like this gentleman did not have control of his own emotions and therefore couldn’t be in control of the situation he was in,” said the witness.

Even officer statements highlighted Vorce’s aggressiveness.

Body camera footage and audio from the first responding DeWitt police officer glitched and wasn’t recorded. Things were still heated when a Michigan State Police trooper arrived and yelling between Hamilton and Vorce was caught on camera.

Vorce says he just wanted Hamilton to answer him but the teen didn’t know Vorce was an officer because he was off-duty.

“Did you have any indication that he was a police officer?” said the interviewer.

“No, not at all,” said Hamilton.

After multiple investigations, Chad Vorce was terminated for violating different department policies and regulations.

Michigan State Police also found that Vorce did not have law enforcement authority to investigate the situation. Officials also concluded that Vorce was outside of his jurisdiction, his use of force was unjustified and excessive, his tone and demeanor was excessive and he put the community at risk when he stated he was going “shots fired” while on the phone with 911 dispatchers.

6 News reached out to the union attorney for Vorce, but he did not answer any calls or emails.

Officials with the City of DeWitt say that they believe the appropriate actions were taken in this matter.

Vorce is appealing his termination and the case is still going through arbitration. City officials say they expect to hear the arbitrator’s decision in the next 30 to 45 days.

Both Hamilton and Vorce decided not to press charges against each other.

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