Off-duty Michigan cop Chad Vorce was insistent that the Black teen he had just profiled and stalked and threatened with a gun last year be charged with felonious assault, even after it became clear the 17-year-old boy was doing nothing more than delivering newspapers in the cop’s neighborhood.
But the DeWitt police officer ended up being the one charged with felonious assault earlier this month along with felony firearm possession and official misconduct after a lengthy investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
Vorce also ended up losing his job at the DeWitt Police Department last year where he had worked for 18 years, a law enforcement agency made up of less than 50 officers, serving a municipality of less than 5,000 just outside of Lansing.
Vorce, however, appealed the termination and was reinstated by an arbitrator who determined that all he needed was a little “sensitivity training with regard to racial and other related protected characteristics.”
But Vorce returned to work as a city employee at the same pay rate but with no law enforcement duties because his law enforcement certification became inactive upon termination, according to the Lansing State Journal.
He was in the process of getting re-certified as a cop when he was charged with the three felonies on April 7.
The incident took place on January 14, 2021 at around 7 a.m. as Vorce was driving his son to school when he noticed a white van driven by the Black teen and immediately deemed it suspicious because cars had been stolen from that neighborhood a month earlier.
He began following the van and noticed it would make frequent stops, furthering his suspicions.
The teen, Alexander Hamilton, told police he was in the van placing newspapers in plastic bags in order to deliver them to subscribers when Vorce pulled up alongside him.
“Hey, are you lost or something,” Vorce asked Hamilton.
“No, I’m just doing me,” Hamilton responded and continued bagging the newspapers.
Vorce told investigators he placed his truck in reverse to try and read the license plate number on the white van but the van drove off so Vorce began to follow him.
Realizing he was being followed, Hamilton told investigators he then placed the van in reverse in order to tell the driver he was delivering newspapers since it had not become evident to him.
But that made Vorce fear for his life, believing he was going to be rammed, so he also placed his truck in reverse to move away from the van, then hopped out of the truck with his gun drawn, ordering the teen to “stop! stop!”.
“He tried to ram me,” Vorce told the dispatcher as he continued following the van. “I’m going to go shots fired if he does it again.”
Hamilton told investigators that he was in fear for his life upon seeing an angry man with a gun ordering him to step out of the van, so he drove out of the neighborhood and pulled into a Sunoco gas station where he began driving in circles around the pump in order to draw attention to the man he believed was trying to murder him.
Vorce followed him to the gas station and pulled his truck in front of the van, stepping out once again with his gun drawn, threatening to shoot and kill the teen. Two witnesses said Vorce’s behavior was very unprofessional, according to internal reports.
That was when Michigan state police officer Luke Shafer arrived, the main investigating officer, who said he encountered Vorce and Hamilton yelling at each other.
“When I see a Black guy in my neighborhood, I think you’re doing stuff like this,” Vorce was telling Hamilton, referring to cars being stolen from his neighborhood.
Vorce then tried to pressure Shafer into arresting Hamilton on charges of felonious assault, claiming the teen had tried to ram him, an allegation which Hamilton denied.
Neither Shafer nor the two sergeants he called that morning were inclined to arrest Hamilton on felony charges, according to footage from Shafer’s dash camera which you can view below.
“You’re not taking anybody to jail,” said Michigan State Police Sergeant Brian Beuge. “I don’t care how much pressure DeWitt city puts on you, this officer.
“As far as I’m concerned, he pushed it too far.”
Nevertheless, the teen spent 38 minutes handcuffed in the back of a DeWitt police car, an officer who responded to the scene despite it being out of his jurisdiction.
Vorce continued playing the victim by sending an email later that morning to the Lansing State Journal, the newspaper that employed Hamilton, trying to get him fired by accusing him of smoking marijuana while working, an allegation which had not been brought up earlier.
This morning at approximately 709 am I noticed a suspicious vehicle stopped in the roadway in front of my residence, (Shadybrook Ln, Dewitt). I asked the driver if he was lost. He responded, ” I’m just me doing me.” I promptly called 911 for the suspicious activity and followed the vehicle. We have had recent stolen vehicles and larceny from automobiles in our neighborhood. The driver fit the description of the accused. While following the vehicle it attempted to ram my vehicle several times. (Side note- I am a police officer and am trained in suspicious activity and felonious assault.). I drew my weapon and Identified myself as a police officer and told him to stop. The driver drove to a gas station at Airport Rd near Clark Rd. The driver started driving recklessly around the parking lot until PD arrived. The driver smelled of marijuana and was uncooperative with PD. The driver identified himself as an LSJ delivery driver, something he should have told me at first contact. I have decided to not press charges on felonious assault but I would like if he were put on a separate route for my safety and the safety if my family.
Hamilton’s attorney, Dustyn Coontz, filed a lawsuit against Vorce and the city of DeWitt on April 8, the day after Vorce was charged, which you can read here.
Watch the video below of the conversations between Michigan state police officer Luke Shafer and his two sergeants about how to handle the “predicament” of an off-duty cop out of his jurisdiction threatening to shoot and kill a teenager delivering newspapers.