FLINT, MI — The Michigan State Police is investigating whether someone within the Flint Police Department ran an illegal criminal background check on the man who pushed recall efforts to remove Flint Mayor Karen Weaver from office.
Arthur Woodson, who launched a recall against Weaver earlier this year, filed a complaint with MSP in August saying someone within the Flint Police Department ran an illegal Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) search on him.
“I have no idea why they would run a background check on me,” said Woodson who is running for Flint mayor. “I have again, done nothing wrong. Since I launched the recall against Mayor Weaver I have been under attack including the mayor’s attempt to get a (Personal Protection Order) on me. Just let the people decide. Just let them go to the polls and decide who they want to be mayor of Flint. This is dirty politics.”
The Michigan State Police LIEN office picked up Woodson’s complaint in September. After looking into Woodson’s complaint, MSP officials sent a letter to Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson this month asking him to respond to the complaint and why someone in his department would run a LEIN search on Woodson.
“The Michigan State Police is looking into the allegation,” said MSP Spokeswoman Lori Dougovito. “Notice was sent Oc.t 3, 2017 to Chief Timothy Johnson at the Flint Police Department…As this is an ongoing investigation, we can’t provide any other information at this time.”
The LEIN System is used by law enforcement officials to run various background checks. Prior to running a check a law enforcement official must enter their information and have a valid reason to run the search.
Information or misuse of the LEIN System is described as accessing, using, or disclosing nonpublic information or personal use or gain and disclosing nonpublic information in a manner not authorized by law or rule.
Johnson said he wasn’t aware of any notification from MSP.
“I haven’t heard anything about it,” Johnson said. “I haven’t seen a notice.”
Woodson’s emailed complaint to MSP says he got word from a police officer that someone conducted a LEIN search on him.
“I have reason to believe that the city of Flint Michigan police department ran a (LEIN) on me between June 30, 2016 – August 9, 2017,” read the complaint dated Aug. 9, 2017. “A police officer (called) me and told me that they think they have done it on me because they have been trying to get people to release information about me on facebook. It all started with me putting language in for the mayor of Flint being recalled.”
If it is found that an officer did an illegal search he or she could face a 93-day misdemeanor or $500 fine or both. A second offense calls for a four-year felony and/or a $2,000 fine.