Makiah and MichaelAngelo’s great-grandmother Marie Jackson speaks to news at candlelight vigil April 26, as Darius Andrews, Sr. father 3-year-old Darius Andrews, Jr., who was injured during chase, hugs Alisha Jackson, mother of the two children who were killed.
“The police were right on their rear, bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up into the air . . . .When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me—it keeps re-playing in my head” — Eyewitness
Police continued chase after 2 children killed into next block, where three others sustained serious injuries
Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, and Makiah Jackson, 3, killed during deadly police chase. Family photos.
DETROIT – “I told L’il Mama ‘give me a hug, I love you,’ and she said, ‘I love you too,” a friend of Alisha Jackson’s family told VOD two days after Makiah Jackson (L’il Mama), 3, and her brother Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, were killed June 24, in front of their home on Nottingham during a high-speed Detroit police chase.
“I’m the last one they talked to,” she said, as she sat on the family’s porch. “They looked at me, they were here, I saw their faces. L’il Mama thought I was going to take them to the park, so she came with me to the sidewalk. I told her I promise I’ll take you to the park tomorrow.”
In the next seconds, she said she saw a police car chasing what looked like a red Challenger.
“[The police] were right on their rear, the police car bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up in the air,” the friend said. “There was no need for the police to be that close. I yelled ‘WATCH OUT’ but it was too late. When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me. They screamed. It just keeps re-playing in my head.”
(L to r) The children’s great-grandmother Marie Jackson, grandmother Nicole Jackson, and uncles Delvontie and Justin Thompson at memorial set up in front of Jackson home on Nottingham. Children were playing in this front yard when they were killed.
She said she heard tire squeals indicating the car must have hit its brakes, but it was out of control and going too fast to stop. The police “tap” of the bumper, according to a report on a similar chase down 1-75, is what’s called a “precision immobilization technique,” or TIP.
“I ran down there, I yelled out their names, but they were gone. Makiah’s eyes were wide open, they died on impact.”
Lighting candles at vigil for 5 children killed and injured during police chase.
It appeared the car dragged the children part way down the street, the friend said. But the police car did not stop the chase even then. They continued until the car being chased ran across the front lawns of homes in the next block, and crashed into the driveway of one, hitting children and adults there as well. Then police finally put the Jackson children in their car to take them to the hospital.
Three children at the second home, Darius Andrews, Jr., 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7, were critically injured. Gardner was flown to a hospital in Ann Arbor because his lungs had collapsed, according to media reports quoting his father.
A passenger in the car being pursued was in serious condition, and an adult, LaKendra Hill, 22, in the yard sustained injuries to her leg. A relative told VOD that she had been released from the hospital but went back the next day because her leg was still bothering her.
“(Zyaire) is the real hero,” Darius Andrews Sr. told the Detroit News. “He saved my son’s life. He grabbed him and tried to hold him.”
Children seriously injured at second house: Darius Andrews, Jr. 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, Zyaire Gardner, 7
As he ran down the street to a candlelight vigil being held for both families, Andrews, Sr. shouted out to VOD, “I say, Detroit police, when they see children on the street, stop your goddamn chase.”
Police reported that Lorenzo Harris, 29, who is on parole but has not been reporting, was the driver of the car being chased. They have not identified his passenger, or reported what charges they plan to bring.
Detroit police chief James Craig’s version of events keeps changing. On the night of the pursuit, he said that the three “Special Ops” police in the car had suspended their chase when they “lost sight of the car.” After numerous witnesses reported that was not the case, Craig said a supervisor had ordered them to stop the chase, but that has not been documented.
Family, neighbors console Alisha Jackson, being hugged by woman in blue-checked shirt, at vigil.
Craig said at first that the chase began when police saw an occupant in the car with a gun, then said June 25 that there was no gun, that the chase started when the police “made eye contact” with the two men in the car.
Evangelist Kim Stephenson organized the candlelight vigil, which included members of both families and neighborhood residents, many of them in tears. One young man collapsed to the ground in grief.
Mourner at vigil is comforted after he collapses to ground.
“We want no more chases,” Evangelist Stephenson told the families. “We’re going to fight back. You aren’t going to fight these battles no more by yourself. We are coming together to help both these families heal.”
Candice Paschall asked VOD, “Isn’t it against the law for them to pursue their chase when children are there? They need to enforce that. There’s no telling how many innocent bystanders are getting hurt and dying. It’s about the kids, not the police and the people they’re chasing. This is getting out of hand.”
In fact, DPD policy says,
“Members involved in a pursuit must question whether the seriousness of the violation warrants continuation of the pursuit. A pursuit shall be discontinued when, in the judgment of the primary unit, there is a clear and present danger to the public which outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of the violator.
Officers must keep in mind that a vehicle pursuit has the same potential for serious injury or death as the use of fatal force. . . .Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.”
Neighborhood kids remember police chase victims with candles.
VOD has requested the following information, among other items, from the Detroit Police Department Public Affairs Unit, whose Officer Donkowski said an investigation is ongoing:
The NAMES of the three officers involved in the chase. Are they on “restricted” duties” or “administrative leave,” as variously reported?
Are criminal charges and disciplinary action including discharge being considered?
Why is Police Chief Craig giving so many varying stories of the events?
Mother holds her child’s hand tightly during vigil. Is it safe for Detroit’s little children to be on the streets in front of their own homes?
No response had been received by publication time, so VOD will be filing a Freedom of Information Act request for that and other information.
On June 24, Michigan State Police spun out a suspect’s vehicle on the westbound Davison ramp off I-75 after a dangerous 15 minute high-speed chase on the freeway.
Channel 7 News reported, “As the suspect was driving the TrailBlazer on the freeway ramp, an officer was able to tap the suspect’s vehicle, sending it into a spin and onto a grassy median where the vehicle came to a complete stop.
It’s called a precision immobilization technique or PIT Maneuver.”
The PIT maneuver sounds precisely similar to that reported in the chase that killed little Makiah and Michael Angelo.
The family of Mikiah and Michael Angelo Jackson has set up a GoFundMe account to help with their funeral expenses, which they said they cannot afford. Click on http://www.gofundme.com/m-mcare to access the site.
Ironically, the DPD sponsored this Summit calling for safety of Detroit’s children the day after the Jackson children died, and the others were injured during dangerous police chase.
Homes of Black Brush Park residents burn in previous years.
Plan for new Brush Park, controlled by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate
Duggan has no right under state law to order Brush Park Plan
State and city bureaucrats destroyed BLACK Brush Park:
Historic homes and enterprises demolished, set on fire
At least 800 residents left homeless, with no relocation funds
By Ron Seigel
June 25, 2015
Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan, billionaire developer Dan Gilbert.
A few weeks ago Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan held a well-publicized press conference about an urban renewal project he claims will restore the historic Detroit area of Brush Park. That project is dominated by multi-billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate.
The problem is that it is against the law for the Mayor or any city department to approve such a plan. Any city council member who votes for the plan or for that matter any urban renewal plans in any area whatsoever will be breaking the law.
State Act 344 Section (a)(6) states “A local commission, public agency, [such as a city]] or legislative body of any municipality shall not approve any development unless there has been consultation between…the officials responsible for the development” and the citizens district council (CDC) representing residents and businesses in the area where the development is taking place.
Detroit’s former EM Kevyn Orr with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at side announces plan for bankruptcy which has destroyed Detroit, on July 19, 2013. Orr abolished CDC’s on Sept. 22, 2014.
This is impossible, because in his closing days as Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, abolished all CDCs.
Neither Orr nor the Snyder Administration had any legal right to do so.
It may be arguable that under the recent legislation rammed through by Snyder’s Republican Party, Orr did have the authority to repeal every law in the City of Detroit whenever he wanted to. However, citizen district councils were established under state law. Orr, as a creature of state government, had no more legal power to interfere with state laws than his boss Governor Snyder has to shut down the state legislature. One might ponder whether the former emergency manager and the governor behind him need a lesson in high school civics.
A more compelling question is whether they have something they are desperately trying to hide.
Orr’s spokesperson, Bill Nowling, justified Orr’s actions by saying “It was felt CDCs represented an unnecessary level of bureaucracy that was hindering future development by revitalization efforts.”
Gwen Mingo (r), formerly chair of Brush Park CDC, talks with Jimmy Cole at Call ‘Em ‘Out dinner Feb. 25, 2012.
Actually citizen district councils had no power to stop or even delay any development whatsoever. The law set them up as an advisory body so those in the area have a chance to voice their concerns about what the government was doing to their area.
They could in no way be considered a bureaucracy.
What probably frightened Orr and Snyder was that CDC’s could occasionally try to use the influence of private citizens with their elected representatives to prevent the real bureaucrats, the ones in government, from doing whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Perhaps most frightening of all, under state law the private citizens had the right to know what the bureaucrats were doing.
Historically in past urban renewal projects it was the state and city bureaucrats which ruined Brush Park. As Father Norman Thomas, Pastor of the nearby Sacred Heart Church, said, “It’s the most terrible thing I’ve ever seen.”
The government bureaucrats committed illegalities all along the way. The Brush Park CDC’s asked for an investigation by a federal grand jury. It seems clear why the bureaucrats may not want them around. Looking at the record:
STATE OFFICIALS DESTROYED THE AREA’S BUSINESSES
Paradise Theater in Paradise Valley.
Several decades ago Brush Park had a prosperous business district on Hastings Street and a popular entertainment district called Paradise Valley. The owners just happened to be Black.
“It was a high period of Black culture,” Dorothy Robinson, a playwright and the owner of a theatrical group, said regarding the area’s entertainment district. “There would always be excitement and a variety of things going on. ”
She added, “When we had anything, white people came to see it. They were not so prejudiced that they did not enjoy Black entertainment.” State officials just happened to build the Chrysler Expressway (I-75) right in the middle of the Black business area.
455 Alfred as it looks today. Formerly residence of Douglas Fuller.
In an interview 10 years ago William Worden, then Director of the Detroit Historic Advisory Board, stated, “The common view is that this was not done inadvertently.”
Douglas Fuller, a lifelong Brush Park resident, said, “The kids don’t know the pride we had or how it felt. There is no more evidence of where we came from or what we did here.”
The businessmen authorized to “revitalize” Brush Park are not the ones who were displaced, but a new group of outsiders.
The Orr-Snyder Machine may call this free enterprise, but it seems more like free loading.
City Cab registered logo for historic Black-owned Detroit cab company.
While city bureaucrats may talk of restoring city buildings, it was the bureaucrats who were responsible for illegally destroying them. Some were private houses. Some had significance in Black history, like the original stand for the first African-American taxi cab company in Detroit, and buildings in the entertainment district. They also destroyed one building that once belonged to the infamous Purple Gang.
On hearing about this, one man quipped,”They don’t even have respect for fellow gangsters.”
In 2003 state bureaucrats joined in the demolition with funds from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) under the pretext of its Clean Energy Program.
The Brush Park CDC wrote to MDEQ, “It is criminal, outrageous, and an abomination to demolish these properties.”
Former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm lays down the first EM law in State of the State address.
At a time when so many neighborhoods were pleading in vain for the demolition of vacant houses that they considered eyesores or positively dangerous, why were taxpayer dollars being used to demolish houses in the one area where residents wanted them to stay?
When spokespersons for state and city officials were asked about this, they promptly passed responsibility to those on other levels. Liz Boyd, spokesperson for former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, said this was a matter for the MDEQ.
MDEQ spokesperson Patricia Spetzley stated, “The City of Detroit prioritizes what is torn down with state tax dollars. The residents should go to the Mayor. ” Ironically, professed concern from the Granholm administration about cities setting priorities did not prevent Granholm a few years later from advocating that state appointed managers of local governmental bodies be given powers beyond financial issues and control all policies — paving the way for the reign of Kevyn Orr.
Call ’em Out Sambo award was presented to Kwame Kilpatrick.
Just as ironically the spokesperson for Detroit’s mayor, then Kwame Kilpatrick, indicated that it might not be any use for residents to go to his boss. Kilpatrick’s spokesperson Howard Hughey said the Mayor did not care to know where state environmental funds were going, but was leaving these things up to the city’s Planning and Development Department (P&DD).
Hughey declared, “It’s not a mayoral issue, but a P&DD issue. The P&DD submits their plan for making the city cleaner. The Mayor has perfect confidence in those he put in leadership positions. It doesn’t go from the top down, but from the bottom up.”
This left voters who put Kilpatrick in office below the bottom level with no place to go.
When P&DD press secretary Lona Reeves was interviewed, she promised to look up the position of her department, but failed to call back. Actually appropriate officials substantiated the Brush Park CDC statement that the demolition of historically designated houses was criminal.
William Worden today/Facebook
Worden from the Historic District Commission, said before a historic building can be torn down, the commission had to hold a hearing and grant a permit. The city’s own Historic District Ordinance said a private owner who did not follow such procedures would be subject to fines and imprisonment.
The Detroit City Planning Commission under the Detroit City Council said this violated federal law, Section 100 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Brush Park CDC sent resolutions charging the city with “perpetrating fraud for failing to carry out objectives listed in its own urban renewal plan to preserve historic buildings.” It called for a criminal investigation over their use of funds.
In its 2003 letter to the MDEQ, the CDC speculated on the reason for this historic vandalism of Detroit’s history. It said that if the historic buildings were preserved, as the law specified, developers could not take the land. With the buildings out of the way, the developers could get the land “at low cost or no cost.” In short, the taxes paid for such illegal demolition was assisting “rich developers” in “destroying a historic district.”
Looking at what the city and state bureaucrats have done to historic buildings, how much faith can we have that the ones under Duggan and Snyder will preserve anything?
BUREACRATS TOOK BRUSH PARK RESIDENTS’ HOMES
Even more compelling, state and city bureaucrats took people’s homes away.
Gwen Mingo lives in her Brush Park home to this day, despite terror tactics that drove most of her neighbors out.
Gwen Mingo, former head of the Brush Park CDC, said, “They tried to kill you from the inside just like they tried to destroy the buildings . They threw the people out, smashing them to the ground like a piece of trash.”
Originally the stated legal purpose of urban renewal was to clear away slums and to “provide a decent home for every American family.” It expanded to allow government to seize the property of the poor and middle class in order to bring in big business and richer folks under a sociological process called “gentrification. ” This moved people into slums and created greater homelessness for many American families.
Jackie Green declared, “We became homeless for a long time. You had to sleep here and there in vacant houses.”
In this case too there have been violations of the law. Urban renewal programs have received federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD ). Part of the legal mission of HUD is to “address the challenge of homelessness,” and that would mean not creating homelessness. Another part of the legal purpose is “to move people from renting to home ownership.” HUD-funded urban renewal has moved people out of the homes they own into a place they can rent, if they can find one.
Heroic Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant workers wildat strike Sept. 30, 2012: THE BATTLE FOR DETROIT BEGINS NOW! John Riehl and Local 207 leaders had built for this strike for months, foreseeing what was to come if the people did not rise up in a general strike. Now, under the dictatorial emergency manager and illegal bankruptcy, Detroiters have lost their city, at least for now, including its most valuable asset, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department. DWSD was the third largest municipal water and sewerage facility in the country, covering six counties and 137 communities. Local 207 was its largest local union.
LABOR HERO DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO THE PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE, TO THE WORKERS AND RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF DETROIT
HE WILL BE SORELY MISSED, BUT HIS LEGACY LIVES ON
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO
AFSCME Local 207, Public Utility Employees of The City of Detroit, Michigan District Council 25
John Riehl, Local 207 President, at funeral for another militant union leader, Leamon Wilson, Pres. of AFSCME Local 312, D-DOT Mechanics, on April 15, 2015. Leamon was only 55. John also lost his life too early, fighting for the people.
John Riehl, president of AFSCME Local 207 from 2000-2012 has died. Detroit and the labor movement has lost a great and uncommon leader.
John worked at the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant for 34 years under difficult and dangerous conditions. During most of that time he served as an elected union steward for AFSCME Local 207 which represented Detroit Water& Sewerage Department workers.
He headed the rank & file militant caucus City Workers for Justice (CWJ). He helped lead countless fights both inside and outside the union for the rights of workers, Detroiters and the oppressed in our society. He helped make Local 207 a symbol of labor’s fight for civil rights.
He served as the elected President of AFSCME Local 207 from 2001 through 2012.
During that time John steadfastly stood against the tide of concessions being demanded of Detroit’s public workers, even if it meant being the only union president to do so. City workers always knew that John could be trusted to defend them when no one else would. John laughed when the press sometimes referred to him as a “union boss.” His members knew him as their elected and accountable leader who administered their union democratically and with integrity. Based on this reputation he was later elected to represent all city employees on the Detroit General Pension Board.
WWTP workers guard back of plant during strike.
Facing an imminent takeover of Detroit by the Emergency Manager, John led a strike of Local 207 in the fall of 2012, openly defying a federal court order and threats of arrest. When no one else would fight, John would.
John was a supporter of the civil rights organization Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). Below is a Face Book posting by a leader of BAMN.
“RIP John Riehl: socialist, champion of working class and oppressed people, former proud “union boss” and president of Detroit sewage workers, head of City Workers for Justice, loved and admired by so many people for your courage, strengths, and very human weaknesses. You taught us that the measure of a person isn’t only what side they’re on, but the actions they take on behalf of their side to win. Never to be mistakenfor a liberal, you were a true militant who stood by and acted on your principles. You made a huge impression on everyone who ever met you and for those fortunate enough to call you friend. Your light went out too soon. I am honored to have called you comrade and one of my personal inspirations and heroes. You will be dearly missed.”
Local 207’s signs were prominent at every city union action.
Funeral Arrangements for John Riehl, former president AFSCME Local 207
Riehl consults with local union members including Local 207 VP Lakita Thomas during protest Aug. 2, 2012. When John spoke at City Council meetings and rallies, he never gave long rhetorical speeches. He spoke like a worker, in short militant sentences. It was obvious that his experience representing individual workers over the years had given him a deep understanding of their concerns.
Desmond & Sons Funeral Home 32515 Woodward Ave. Royal Oak, MI 48073
VIEWING: Tuesday, June 23 10m – 8pm
SERVICES: Wed., June 24 10am
Expressions of Condolences can be mailed to:
C/O Mrs. Pattie Riehl @ above funeral home address.
The excellent video above, published on Youtube by Detroit talk show host Cynthia Johnson, gives the lie to people touting the benefits of Detroit’s bankruptcy, such as Citicorp, which published the commercial at bottom.
In reality, the banks have left Detroit in a total of $3 billion in debt through 2034 since the conclusion of the bankruptcy trial. The bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment specifies that the debt is priority #1; it must be paid first before anything else is spent on city services. Before bankruptcy was declared, Detroit was $1 billion in debt through 2034.
Detroit’s Public Lighting Department has been deliberately decimated over the past two decades through privatization and deliberate sabotage, including mass lay-offs and refusal to purchase needed equipment as simple as street light bulbs. The Public Lighting Authority is part of that privatization and regionalization.
Banner on side of Herman Kiefer Health Complex, vacated after Detroit Health Department was eliminated.
EM Kevyn Orr auctioned off numerous assets of the Public Lighting and Public Works departments in November, 2014. They filled the parking lots surrounding the Herman Kiefer Health Complex, now vacant after the elimination of the Health Dept. This lot used to border the Herman Kiefer Family Health Center, no longer in existence.
City of Detroit PLD workers fixing streetlights on Belle Isle July 29, 2012. Belle Isle itself has been taken over.
“EM Kevyn Orr told DTE the entire Public Lighting Department (PLD), including its revenue-generating provision of lighting to public buildings, will be phased out over the next five years to DTE, which has already taken over PLD’s electricity grid.
The newly-founded regional Public Lighting Authority plans to dismantle 46,000 of the city’s 88,000 streetlights, in areas targeted for “blight (i.e. Black) removal,” according to Orr’s May 12, 2013 Financial and Operating Plan.
AFSCME, CBTU protest May 27, 2010 demanded no privatization of PLD, among other issues.
PLD was founded in the 1920’s and was originally meant to provide electricity to the entire city, including its residences. The city’s former Auditor General reported several years ago that those service lines could have been revamped to provide revenue-generating, public cable TV service to city residents at lower costs.
PLD has been one of few opportunities for Black and women skilled trades workers such as electricians to get long-term employment.
Profit from the auctions is to be used to “pay down debt,” with some allegedly restored to the departments, according to an Oct. 30 article in the Monitor. Considering there will be no DPW or PLD, it is clear only the banks will profit from these auctions.
Look at the Citicorp commercial below, and decide which of the videos most accurately represents YOUR experience in the streets of Detroit.
Terrance Kellom’s father Kevin Kellom says, “What kind of lottery do you win for someone killing your son in your presence?” in response to comment by David Griem, attorney for ICE agent who shot his son. He again said his son was assassinated. Kellom’s mother Nelda Kellom is at left.
Worthy sealed all reports in case, including autopsy report
Kellom’s children, including newborn daughter, attend rally with family
Family attorney Mitchell calls death “execution without a trial,” says he saw at least one gunshot wound in 19-year-old’s back
Worthy: “waiting for a couple of important items”
Since 2004, Worthy has not charged one Detroit officer for killing civilian
“If anyone kills a person it is as if he kills all mankind.”
By Diane Bukowski
June 19, 2015
Kevin Kellom holds his son’s newborn daughter Terranae Destiny Kellom as his infant son Terrance Desmond Kellom looks on.
DETROIT – Janay Williams, mother of Terrance Kellom’s newborn daughter Terranae and his son Terrance, brought the infants to a rally for their father June 15, 2015. They joined his parents, other family members, and community members in calling for charges to be brought against Terrance’s killer(s).
Kellom did not live to see Terranae’s birth, which he was anxiously awaiting.
During the rally, the family’s attorney Karri Mitchell called the 19-year-old’s death April 25 an “execution without a trial.” It was carried out by a multi-jurisdictional police task force including Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent (ICE) Mitchell Quinn, and many Detroit police. The force invaded his father Kevin Kellom’s home without a search warrant and shot the young man multiple times to death in front of his father.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy consults with assistants, including Robert Moran at right.
Those attending the rally, organized by Michigan United, Black Lives Matter-Detroit, the Franklin Park Association, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc., and others, demanded to know why Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is taking so long to investigate the case. In a highly unusual move, she has sealed all reports on the case, including the young man’s autopsy report, which is normally public information.
No second autopsy was done in the case as in customary in disputed killings, particularly by police officers.
The Medical Examiner’s office works to support police versions of homicides in some cases.
Arnetta Grable of the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. Three-time killer cop Eugene Brown shot her son Lamar to death in 1996.
In 1992, then Deputy Wayne County Executive Mike Duggan (now Detroit “Mayor”) fired forensic pathologist Kalil Jiraki after he reported that Malice Green died of a brutal beating at the hands of Detroit officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn, instead of from the results of drug ingestion. Jiraki sued and won $2 million. He has written a book on the events, “Medical examiner under fire : the Malice Green police brutality trial.”
In the case of Aiyana Jones, 7, shot to death by Detroit officer Joseph Weekley in 2010, the Medical Examiner first reported that the entrance wound was in her throat and exit wound at the top of her head, which would have supported Weekley’s version of events. However, the ME changed his report to indicate the entrance wound was at the top of her head and the exit wound in her throat after family attorney Geoffrey Fieger had a second autopsy done showing those results.
Arnetta Grable of the Original Coalition Against Police Brutality said she had contacted Macomb County Medical Examiner Mark Spitz, who had agreed to come to the Trinity Chapel funeral home to do the second autopsy, likely in time for the planned funeral.
Rev. Curtis WIlliams of Trinity Chapel Funeral Home
However, according to family members, Pastor Curtis Williams, who owns the funeral home, told Mitchell that he would charge much more for the funeral if a second autopsy was done. Mitchell reportedly paid for the funeral.
The Detroit Free Press and the Voice of Detroit filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the autopsy report, but to date they have not been granted. It is questionable whether Worthy has the authority to seal an autopsy report absent a judge’s order.
“I don’t think we’re getting close to anything, they’re not moving fast enough,” Kellom told reporters outside the United Christian Church where the rally took place, around the corner from his home on Evergreen. “I see my son every day. I hear my son call my name every day, as he died on the floor after they shot him. His son asks for him every day when he comes to my house. Why haven’t we seen the autopsy report?”
Terrance Kellom kisses his son in earlier photo.
The younger Kellom died of multiple gunshot wounds, at least one of which was in the back, according to Mitchell. His father witnessed the shooting and has repeatedly denied police claims that his son came at Quinn, who Detroit police have identified as the shooter, with an axe. He said he was brought downstairs with two officers in front of him and two behind him.
Quinn’s attorney David Griem told the media, “He (Mitchell) sees five defendants for a civil lawsuit, and they’re trying to hit the lottery without buying a ticket.”
Kevin Kellom reacted with outrage and sorrow.
L to r: Kevin Kellom, Janay Williams and her sisters, holding baby Terranae. Janay said on her Facebook page: “We miss you baby, why they have to take you away from us. I need you here with me.”
“What kind of lottery do you win for someone killing your son in your presence?” Kellom asked. “What kind of lottery is it for the assassination of my son?”
He said he, Kevin’s mother Nelda Kellom, and the rest of his family want no money; they only want their son back.
He added there was no need for the task force to invade his home to arrest his son on an outstanding warrant for armed robbery. Kellom said police had his home under surveillance that day, and saw him walk to a neighborhood gas station with Terrance. On the way back, he said, Terrance stopped in the street to tie his shoes.
Nelda Kellom with granddaughter Terranae at rally.
“They could have arrested him then,” Kellom said.
Nelda Kellom said, “My son didn’t deserve to be killed the way he was killed,” but said she would be patient until the investigation concludes.
Ron Scott, of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc., said Prosecutor Worthy told him they would “probably have a statement” on the investigation within a week.
He also demanded an end to the use of multi-agency task forces by the Detroit Police Department, like the Fugitive Apprehension Task Force that killed Terrance Kellom. He said they are funded and armed from the federal level on down.
Terrance Kellom’s stepmother Mrs. Theresa Kellom during rally.
“A lot of people in the community want answers,” he said. “We want oversight and control of federal officers and Detroit Police before they’re standing over you.”
Worthy’s office issued the following statement to other news outlets:
“In all police involved matters handled by the WCPO Public Integrity Unit we first receive the completed findings of the Michigan State Police and then conduct our own independent investigation. Each investigation is unique in terms of the amount of time it takes. Factors to consider are the complexity of the matter, amount of witnesses that must be interviewed, forensic reports that are needed, and other work that must be completed to make an informed decision regarding whether to charge or not to charge. At this point most of the work has been done, but we are waiting for a couple of important items before the review process is completed.”
Family attorney Karri Mitchell.
During the rally, Mitchell denied he told local media, as quoted, that he had no problem with Worthy sealing the autopsy report.
“I said I understood her decision if she wanted to do a full investigation,” Mitchell said. “She has shown in the past that she is willing to charge police officers, as in the case of Officer Weekley.”
In fact, Joseph Weekley, who shot seven-year-old Aiyana Jones to death during a military-style “Special Response Team” raid on her home May 16, 2010, was charged with “involuntary manslaughter” by a one-man grand jury comprised of Third Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Division Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, 17 months after Aiyana’s death.
At the same time, Worthy charged her father, Charles Jones, and “uncle” Chauncey Owens with murder.
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway (l) dismissed manslaughter charge against Detroit cop Joseph Weekley, for killing Aiyana Jones, 7, at request of prosecution
After Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed the manslaughter charges against Weekley during his third trial, his jury hung on the remaining charge of reckless use of a firearm and he walked scott-free.
Aiyana’s father is serving a sentence of 40-60 years in prison for first-degree murder in the Je’Rean Blake case.
Worthy, who took office in 2004 as the county’s first Black woman prosecutor, has never brought charges against any Detroit police officer in the fatal shooting of a civilian. There have been dozens of cases during her tenure in which police killings, of young Black men in particular, appeared highly questionable, but were ruled “justifiable” by her office.
During the rally June 15, Bobbie Johnson, President of the Franklin Park Association, expressed condolences to Kellom’s family and anger at police tactics and called on Worthy to answer to their community.
Bobbi Johnson of Franklin Park Association.
“Our community is making a come-back,” Johnson said. “We don’t need a Fugitive Apprehension Task Force coming in here during the afternoon, while little children are coming out of two day-care centers nearby. Why do they feel that in a city full of Black children and Black life they can do this? We ask Kym Worthy to come before the community, and we want a protocol so that this never happens again.”
A Muslim minister quoted the Kuran, “If anyone kills a person it is as if he kills all mankind.” [The police] desecrated the sanctity of human life itself. This was a crime against my family and everyone here as well.”
Elisa Hernandez, from a Latino immigrant advocacy organization, said, “ICE has a really long history of an extensive use of force. They have the FBI at their disposal, and they feel they are above the law. They have executed many others in front of their families.”
Eric Kelly of Michigan United, Black Lives Matter Detroit.
Eric Kelly of Michigan United and Black Lives Matter said the rally is only a beginning.
“Black Lives Matter recognizes that we are fighting a racist government,” he said. “Everyday, lawmakers, cops and prosecutors get up planning new ways to attack us.”
He said Black Lives Matter-Detroit meets every Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Trinosothes Café in Eastern Market to plan and mobilize against continuing police brutality in the city.
Gary, of the October 22nd Coalition against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, said, “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people, it is to serve and protect the system and continue the conditions of poverty and degradation most of us face. We do not have to live like this. We will win when Black mothers can have their sons walk out the door without fear of what will happen to them.”
He said charges that were brought against the Baltimore cops who killed Freddie Gray came about only because the people, especially the youth, took to the streets in open rebellion and demanded justice.
Gary of the October 22nd Coalition denounces killings by police across the U.S. Over 570 people have died at the hands of law enforcement in the U.S. since the beginning of 2015, according to the website killedbypolice.net.
The raid on the Kellom home was part of a series of neighborhood raids dubbed “Operation Restore Order” by Detroit police chief James Craig. The latest in the series, sub-titled “Operation Double-Down,” just took place June 18 on the city’s west-side.
Shot to death by white terrorist Dylann Roof: Left: Susie Jackson | Top Row: Cynthia Hurd DePayne Doctor, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton | Bottom row: Daniel Simmons Sr., Tywanza Sanders, and Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
Pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney, was a well-known civil rights leader who was campaigning for all S.C. cops to wear body cameras
Emmanuel African Methodist Church founded in 1816 by kidnapped Africans in South Carolina
Denmark Vesey, executed for attempted 1822 rebellion against slavery, was a church founder
Boston police expert calls crime “terrorism,” not just a hate crime.
JUNE 17, 2015
Dylan Roof in photo from racist website. His father reportedly gave him the gun.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – A white man was arrested on Thursday on suspicions he killed nine people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina after sitting with them for an hour of Bible study in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime.
The mass shooting set off an intense 14-hour manhunt that ended when 21-year-old Dylann Roof was arrested in a traffic stop about 220 miles (350 km) north of Charleston, South Carolina, where the shooting occurred, officials said.
Wednesday’s mass shooting at the almost 200-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, comes after a year of turmoil and protests over race relations, policing and criminal justice in the United States. A series of police killings of unarmed black men has sparked a renewed civil rights movement under the “Black Lives Matter” banner.
Protesters in Charleston after white cop Michael Slager shot Black man Walter Scott, 51, in the back to death in April, 2015.
Four pastors, including Democratic state Senator Clementa Pinckney, 41, were among the six women and three men shot dead at the church nicknamed “Mother Emanuel,” which was burned to the ground in the late 1820s after a slave revolt led by one of its founders [Denmark Vesey].
Other victims included three church pastors: DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45 and Reverend Daniel Simmons, 74; Cynthia Hurd, a 54-year-old employee of the Charleston County Public Library, and Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70, Tywanza Sanders, 26, and Myra Thompson 59, an associate pastor at the church, according to the county coroner.
“This is going to put a lot of concern to every black church when guys have to worry about getting shot in the church,” said Tamika Brown, who attended one of several overflow prayer vigils held at Charleston churches.
Police in Charleston responded to multiple bomb threats around the city through the course of the day on Thursday.
Three people survived the attack.
“It is a very, very sad day in South Carolina,” Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, in a tearful statement.
The South Carolina and U.S. flags fly at half staff at state capitol as the Confederate flag unfurls at full staff after the church killings, at the Confederate Monument nearby, in Columbia, SC. Sean RayfordGetty /Images
That grief rang hollow for some civil-rights activists, who noted that the state capital in Columbia still flies the Confederate flag, the rallying symbol of the pro-slavery South during the Civil War.
“The reality that racism is alive and well and that we have a problem with guns,” said Clayborne Carson, founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. “People will throw up their hands and say ‘how terrible’ and the governor of South Carolina will put the Confederate flag of the state at half staff and then will get back to passing more laws that allow people to carry guns.”
“The fact that this took place in a black church obviously raises questions about a dark part of our history,” said U.S. President Barack Obama. “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
Mourners of nine victims pray outside AME church after hate crime.
The United States has seen a series of mass shootings in recent years, including the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. Democratic efforts to reform the nation’s gun laws, protect by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, failed after that incident.
Editor: Comparisons with other mass shootings are not valid; they leave out the fact that police have killed 527 people, mainly Black and Latin, since Jan. 1, 2015.
GIFT OF A GUN
A man who identified himself as Carson Cowles, Roof’s uncle, told Reuters that Roof’s father had recently given him a .45-caliber handgun as a birthday present and that Roof had seemed adrift.
“I don’t have any words for it,” Cowles, 56, said in a telephone interview. “Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming.”
Roof was armed with a handgun but surrendered peacefully at his arrest, said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.
Participants in memorial for victims.
In a Facebook profile apparently belonging to Roof, a portrait showed him wearing a jacket emblazoned with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and of the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, both formerly ruled by white minorities. Many of his Facebook friends were black.
Roof was arrested on two separate occasions at a shopping mall earlier this year for a drug offense and trespassing, according to court documents.
Roof’s mother, Amy, declined to comment when reached by phone.
“We will be doing no interviews, ever,” she said before hanging up.
Father and daughter grieve at memorial in front of church.
Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Pinckney, told MSNBC that a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times during the attack despite pleas for him to stop.
“He just said, ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country,” Johnson said.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her office was investigating whether to charge Roof with a hate crime motivated by racial or other prejudice.
Under federal and some state laws, such crimes typically carry harsher penalties, but South Carolina is one of just five U.S. states not to have a hate-crimes law.
RISING RACIAL TENSIONS
Demonstrations have rocked New York, Baltimore, Ferguson in Missouri and other U.S. cities following police killings of unarmed black men including Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown.
A white police officer was charged with murder after he shot Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, in the back in April in neighboring North Charleston.
Walter Scott, 51, shot to death by N. Charleston cop Michael Slager.
SC cop Michael Slager shot Michael Scott, 51, to death as he ran from being tasered. Slager faces murder charges.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which researches U.S. hate groups, said the attack illustrates the dangers that home-grown extremists pose.
“Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of Jihadi terrorism. But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real,” the group said in a statement, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
There have been 4,120 reported hate crimes across the United States, including 56 murders, since 2003, the center said.
“It is a very, very sad day in South Carolina,” Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, in a tearful statement.
CHURCH A SYMBOL OF BLACK FREEDOM; DENMARK VESEY, EXECUTED FOR 1822 REBELLION AGAINST SLAVERY, WAS A CHURCH FOUNDER
Denmark Vesey, leader of the Emmanuel AME Church, was executed along with three dozen others for planning a rebellion against slavery in 1822.
When a gunman opened fire on Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church Wednesday, spraying bullets into a group of worshippers gathered for a mid-week prayer meeting, it was as though history repeated itself.
This historic congregation, the oldest of its kind in the South, had already seen more than its fair share of tumult and hate. It was founded by worshippers fleeing racism and burned to the ground for its connection with a thwarted slave revolt. For years its meetings were conducted in secret to evade laws that banned all-black services. It was jolted by an earthquake in 1886. Civil rights luminaries spoke from its pulpit and lead marches from its steps. For nearly two hundred years it had been the site of struggle, resistance and change.
On Wednesday, the church was a crime scene — the street outside aglow with the flashing red lights of police cars and echoing with the screech of sirens. Nine people had been killed there, reportedly including the church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, though police had not confirmed his death.
I do believe this was a hate crime,” Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at a press conference early Thursday morning.
To those watching in Charleston and from afar, it was devastating.
Emmanuel AME Church after murders; founded in 1816 the original church was burned to the ground after Denmary Vesey rebellion.
“It’s not just a church. It’s also a symbol … of black freedom,” said Robert Greene, who studies the 20th century South at the University of South Carolina. “That’s why so many folks are so upset tonight, because it’s a church that represents so much about the rich history and tradition of African Americans in Charleston.”
In Charleston, the church is affectionately known as “Mother Emanuel,” a nod to its age and its eminence in the community. It is a place people take pride in, said Rev. Stephen Singleton, who was pastor there from 2006 to 2010 — all soaring ceilings and fine pinewood floors, with an antique pipe organ that had been shipped from Europe more than a century ago.
Morris Brown founded church in 1816.
“They’re just God-fearing people,” Singleton said of his former congregation. “People who lived in modesty in light of the history of the congregation they called home.”
That history is a long and storied one. The congregation was founded in the era of slavery by Morris Brown, a founding pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1816, frustrated with the racism he encountered in Charleston’s segregated churches, Brown decided to form a Church of his own. About 4,000 parishioners followed him — more than 75 percent of city’s black community, according to a history published by the College of Charleston.
From the beginning, the congregation was a focal point of community organizing and anti-slavery activism — provoking fears and intense distrust among the city’s white population. According to a PBS documentary, white Charlestonians constantly monitored the church, sometimes disrupting services and arresting worshipers.
Painting shows Denmark Vesey planning rebellion.
They had some reason for alarm: Denmark Vesey, the organizer of one of the nation’s most notable failed slave uprisings, was a leader in the church. He fiercely and insistently preached that African Americans were the new Israelites, that their enslavement would be punished with death, and in 1822 he and other leaders began plotting a rebellion.
The revolt was planned for June 16 — 193 years and one day before the shooting Wednesday night. But another member of the church, a slave named George Wilson, told his master about the plot. Nearly three dozen organizers — including Vesey — were put on trial and executed, while another 60 were banished from the city. Believing that “black religion” had caused the uprising, South Carolina instituted a series of draconian measures against African American churches and communities, including a ban on services conducted without a white person present. The Charleston A.M.E. congregation was dispersed and their building set ablaze.
Emmanuel AME as rebuilt after Civil War.
After the end of the Civil War, the A.M.E. congregation — which had been conducting services in secret for decades and worked as part of the Underground Railroad — was formally re-established and adopted the name Emanuel. Parishioners rebuilt their church on Calhoun Street, a half mile away from Fort Sumter, where the Civil War’s first shots were fired and, a block from the square that had been a military marching ground during the Civil War and the site of a celebratory parade of African American residents once the conflict ended.
When that wooden building was destroyed in a 1886 earthquake, the congregation replaced it with the stately gothic revival structure seen today.
The church’s activism resumed along with services, and by the 20th century it had become a focal point of South Carolina’s civil rights movement.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at Emmanuel AME in 1962.
Booker T. Washington spoke there in 1909 to a large audience of both white and black admirers. In 1962, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speach about voting rights and making the “American dream a reality.” So did Roy Wilkins, as executive secretary of the NAACP. In 1969, as Charleston was in the midst of a massive strike aimed at creating a union for the state’s mostly black hospital workers, Coretta Scott King led a march from Emanuel A.M.E.’s steps while 1000 state troopers and national guardsmen looked on.
“If there was any sort of civil rights protest or activity in Charleston it was almost always centered around that church,” Greene said.
Singleton, the former pastor of Emanuel A.M.E., said the church was still a place for political organizing when he was there. Politicians often dropped in, he recalled. Parishioners organized for community issues.
Pinckney, 41, the current pastor who was in the church when the gunman opened fire, was even more active. For more than a decade he’d served as a member of the South Carolina State Senate. He was an advocate for a bill in the state legislature that would require police officers to wear body cameras, calling it “our No. 1 priority,” according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
For many, the initial response was one of shock.
Four little girls died in the bombing of 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963. Revolutionary activist Angela Davis lived next door to one.
“If we’re not safe in the church, God, you tell us where we are safe,” mourners at a prayer circle told a reporter for MSNBC.
But Robert Mickey, a University of Michigan political scientist who studies race and politics in the post-War South, noted that activist African American churches have been targeted before.
“They’ve been sites of black protest and community organizing, and they have long been targets as well,” he said, noting the long list of racist attacks on black churches, particularly the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
The gunman on Wednesday, who police said was about 21 years old, may not have been aware of that history, Mickey added. But the congregation at Emanuel A.M.E., as well as the thousands of people who watched the news of the killings there in horror, certainly did.
“When you’re on the receiving end of the violence it’s pretty hard not to put it in that context,” Mickey said. “You can’t help but notice the continuities, the violence and fear that constantly these revisit these same communities.”
Emmanuel AME church will survive.
But Singleton said that the attack on his old church “should be dealt with as an individual,” not as part of some broader trend.
“I think the comparison that you can draw from it is, evil is real and it’s prevalent all over the place,” he said, adding, “I want to encourage people of faith to be prayerful. Embrace our faith and embrace each other.”
Singleton, who preaches in Columbia, S.C. now, said he’ll heading back to Charleston in the next few days. He wants to visit his old congregation, he said, to pay his respects to those who were killed and the church that has had another painful chapter added to its history.
“That church has a legacy, and it won‘t be destroyed because of this,” he said, firmly. “Chances are it’ll probably come out stronger.”
GLWA meeting June 12, 2015: (l to r) co-chair Gary Brown of Detroit, chair Robert Daddow of Oakland County, Board member Brian Baker of Macomb County, with maps showing areas covered by GLWA.
Great Lakes Water Authority contract with city a SALE, not a lease
Means higher water/sewerage rates for population of six counties
Detroit water shut-offs, attachment of unpaid water bills to property taxes, to be continued
Contract subject to referendum vote of people of the city of Detroit; DAREA votes to begin petition collection process in coalition with others
DAREA also files new challenge to bankruptcy plan citing Illinois Supreme Court decision striking down pension cuts as unconstitutional
By Diane Bukowski
June 15, 2015
Gary Brown speaks at Detroit City Council meeting April 3, 2012, next to Council Pres. Charles Pugh. The next day, the Council voted 5-4 to approve a Consent Agreement with the state that led eventually to the state takeover of Detroit and bankruptcy declaration. Brown and Pugh also sat on “Roots Cause” committee, signed document agreeing to separate DWSD from Detroit in 2011. Pugh later absconded his post after allegations that he was a child molester surfaced.
DETROIT – “We’ve been waiting for this for 40 years,” a beaming Gary Brown, co-chair of the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), an entity organized under the Detroit bankruptcy plan, boasted June 12.
Brown is also COO of the City of Detroit under “Mayor” Mike Duggan. During its meeting that day, the six-member GLWA board voted 5-1 to approve a contract with the City of Detroit that is an irrevocable sale, not a lease, of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD).
The GLWA will pay only a total of $1.4 billion for the $6 billion system. It is expected to approve skyrocketing rate increases, and will continue water shut-offs and the attachment of unpaid water bills to property taxes for Detroiters. (See link for entire contract at end of story.)
Six major items still need to be completed before the contract actually takes effect, no later than Jan. 1, 2016. These include agreements with customer communities to have the GLWA assume their contracts, the Detroit General Retirement System to provide information on pension obligations, 51 percent of bondholders to agree to have the GLWA assume $5.2 billion in DWSD debt, bond rating agency confirmation that ratings will be no lower than current DWSD bond ratings, legal opinions that bonds are still non-taxable, and adoption of a bond ordinance.
Doug Scott, of Fitch Ratings.
Crain’s Detroit Business quoted Doug Scott of Fitch Ratings Ltd., who said the current DWSD debt load is a problem.
“The limit on their revenue-generating ability would be a factor. It could be a credit negative, depending on the situation — it’s certainly not a credit positive,” Scott said. “But I can’t say it’s a definite negative in this situation, since we have other factors to look at, like how affordable rates are right now. That could be an offset.”
Scott also cited the alleged four percent cap on rate increases, which has already been removed in the plan, likely at Wall Street’s direction.
During bankruptcy negotiations, the “City” as represented by Jones Day had proposed that DWSD bondholders take a $2.3 billion cut. Bankruptcy protesters had pointed to at least one illegal DWSD interest swap agreement amounting to $537 million. However, provisions creating the Great Lakes Water Authority restored the full debt load.
Another hurdle to enactment of the Authority is the state law authorizing the contract. Public Act 233 of 1955, “Municipal Water and Sewer Supply Systems,” allows the affected municipality a people’s referendum vote on the contract.
Bill Davis, President of DAREA (l) carries banner at Wayne County tax foreclosure protest June 8, 2015.
The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) voted unanimously at its meeting June 15 to begin that process, drafting petition language and reaching out to other organizations, especially those concerned about the people’s water rights, to join in collecting the 15,000 petition signatures needed according to PA 233. Members said they were outraged at what they called the theft of Detroit’s six-county system, and provisions in the contract, some of which are noted below.
DAREA officer Yvonne Williams Jones.
“We have to continue fighting,” DAREA President Bill Davis said. “If not, they’ll think we have given up.” Yvonne Williams Jones encouraged members to take up the battle any way they can, including in the streets.
Davis also announced that DAREA had just filed a supplemental brief to its appeal of the Detroit Bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment, which authorized the creation of the GLWA.
The brief cites the resounding decision of the Illinois State Supreme Court which struck down all cuts to state employee pensions enacted in 2013 by the State Legislature, saying they violated state constitutional protections that prohibit “diminishing or impairing” such benefits. The language is virtually identical to that in Michigan’s Constitution.
“You do not have the authority to take this vote,” a City of Detroit retiree told the GLWA board at the outset of their meeting June 12. “Under the City Charter, DWSD assets can only be sold or transferred after a vote of the people. This action will destroy Detroit, the largest and poorest Black-majority city in the country. Detroit has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., but this agreement takes away thousands of jobs from city workers. Fifty-nine percent of Detroit’s children, and 39 percent of its population, live in poverty.”
Water in Lake Erie by Toledo, Ohio after crisis of 2014.
Another retiree, Cindy Darrah, said, “This is illegal. People can’t afford to pay their water bills now. It’s hard to pay when you don’t have a job. You are voting for something that 99.9 percent of the public has never seen, while their public taxes are paying for a new hockey arena and the M-1 rail system.”
Darrah also raised the issue of the Toledo water crisis, noting that residents of Toledo don’t have the right to weigh in on the agreement.
Retirees earlier said it was a “near catastrophic failure” of DWSD sewage pumps after massive lay-offs in the Wastewater Treatment Plant last year that led to pollution of Lake Erie, from which Toledo draws 80 percent of its water supply. They said the failure also caused great flooding of Detroit sewers, streets and homes at the same time. The WWTP is currently under the management of private contractor EMA, which recommended the elimination of 81 percent of the DWSD workforce.
Metro Detroit’s “Raging Grannies,” part of a national organization, sing against takeover, water shut-offs at GLWA meeting June 12, 2015.
Whether the condition of DWSD’s infrastructure will improve under the GLWA is questionable. They have hired global water privatizer Veolia as an advisor.
Veolia has recommended the cancellation of $600 million in Capital Improvement Program funds that were to finance 14 major plant upgrades.
The Raging Grannies presented the GLWA with a song decrying water shut-offs during the meeting.
Earlier, both the Sierra Club and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization resigned from the Water Residents Assistance Program created by the GLWA, because it did not stop water shut-offs and did not constitute a true water affordability program.
DWSD is the third largest public municipal facility in the U.S, owned and controlled by Detroit since 1836. It has revenues of $6 billion annually, and provides service to almost one million people in Detroit and three million in 127 Michigan communities throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, Washtenaw and Monroe counties.
DWSD’s Lake Huron water treatment plant.
According to terms of the contract, the GLWA will pay $50 million annually to the city of Detroit for 40 years, subject to numerous conditions, which amounts to about $1.4 billion. Conditions include payment by the city itself of $14.4 million of the annual amount, and availability of sufficient revenues after the payment of bond debt. Under the plan, the Authority will assume $5.2 billion in DWSD bond debt, and immediately borrow $300 million again.
Rate increases scheduled to take effect July 1, 2015.
The GLWA will control and collect customer rates and payments, incorporating approved increases of 20.1 percent for Detroiters and 12.4 percent for suburbanites set for July 1.
Despite Detroit bankruptcy plan promises that GLWA rate increases would be limited to 4 percent a year, the contract says, “The Authority shall for each Fiscal Year fix and approve rates and charges to its customers in an amount that is expected to produce Revenues sufficient to satisfy the Authority Revenue Requirement.”
The “Revenue Requirement” prioritizes the payment of bond debt. The GLWA has the exclusive authority to issue bonds and plans to do so abundantly, beginning with a $300 million bond to finance the transition from DWSD to GLWA. Under the plan, the Authority will also assume $5.2 billion in DWSD bond debt.
Nurses at July, 2014 national protest against Detroit water shutoffs, in downtown Detroit. A nurse also spoke at the GLWA meeting June 12, 2015.
GLWA’s Macomb County board member Brian Baker, the sole “No” vote on the contract, said that he expects rate increases to run at least 10 percent a year.
He also blasted what he claimed was Detroit’s “lack of responsibility” for collecting bad debts from its customers. The DWSD began water-shuts again last month.
Unlike Brown, also a former City Councilman and Detroit police officer, city officials have fought a regional takeover of the system for decades. DWSD’s six-county infrastructure was built with bonds paid for by Detroiters.
“This is nothing but a takeover, a power grab for the largest asset the city holds,” former Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said at a council meeting in Nov. 2012. “It would be malfeasance for any elected official to advocate breaking it up, divvying it up. There is no drinking water in the country better than ours. DWSD is a magnificent asset, paid for by the citizens, owned by the citizens, and run by the citizens. This is a disgrace before God!”
Former Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson led the triumphant battle against Michigan’s first emergency manager act, Public Act 4. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislature, acting on the advice of Jones Day, later replaced it with the referendum-proof PA 436.
Watson was responding to a revelation that Brown and former Council President Charles Pugh had signed a secret “Roots Cause” committee agreement to separate DWSD from the city, in front of U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox.
Pugh is now in disgrace after being exposed as an alleged child molester. He abdicated his post after voting to allow the state takeover of Detroit under a Consent Agreement, and has been working as a waiter in New York City according to local media reports.
Unlike his predecessors, particularly Mayor Coleman A. Young, who opposed a regional takeover of DWSD, Detroit’s new “Mayor” Mike Duggan, allegedly elected on write-in ballots after a court ruled he had not been a resident of Detroit long enough, issued the following statement.
“This is an historic step forward in resolving decades of conflict between Detroit and our suburban neighbors. Detroit will have the resources we need to rebuild our city’s crumbling water and sewer pipes. County leaders will have a true voice in running the part of the system that serves the suburbs. Each community will be responsible for its own water and sewer bills. And, we have created a new $4.5 million assistance fund to help low income families afford their water bills.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder with buddy Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan.
GLWA board members credited Duggan with breaking an impasse in negotiations when he agreed to have lease payments to the city remain within the GLWA system.
At last report, about 500 of more than 1,400 current DWSD workers will remain with the city, while about 900 more will become authority employees. DWSD workers have all been asked to re-apply for their jobs.
Although the authority claimed it is honoring all labor contracts in effects, an attachment to the plan left out AFSCME Local 207, which used to represent 1200 DWSD workers. It was the most militant water department local, supporting a wildcat strike by Wastewater Treatment Plant workers in Sept. 2012. Local 207 members warned that the future of the entire City of Detroit was at stake, but representatives of AFSCME Council 25 sabotaged the strike. Other unions have now carved up most of the local’s membership, leaving it with only a little over 100 workers.
Heroic workers at WWTP strike Sept. 30, 2012: “The battle for Detroit starts NOW!”
‘I can’t breathe’—Young man died March 30 during Detroit police stop
Autopsy report, police statement to father, say Clark Reed died from asthma attack, contradicting other police statements alleging he ingested drugs
Detroit officer Brian Gadwell, at scene according to his website comments, made those allegations, has record of previous brutality lawsuits
Grieving family still has not received police reports, dashcam and store videotapes, son’s possessions
By Diane Bukowski
June 11, 2015
Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed.
DETROIT – “He wasn’t just my son, he was my best friend,” Leda Reed, the grieving mother of Anthony Clark Reed, said. “He had a smile on every day, and was always doing something silly. He was my first-born. He never cried even when he was a baby. He worked in Wixom for four years, went to Henry Ford College, and had just been hired at Chrysler.”
Reed said her son, who was 6 feet, two inches and often drove his girlfriend’s new red Charger, was frequently stopped by police.
“He would always call me or his girlfriend on his cellphone right away and leave it on so we could hear what was happening, and he would always call me by 9 p.m. to let me know he was home.”
On the night of March 30 of this year, however, Reed received no such calls. After an unwarranted delay, she and Pastor Kevin Clark, the young man’s father, were told that their son was dead, after a Detroit police stop outside a store on W. Vernor and Lawndale, just around the corner from his father’s Springwells Avenue Baptist Church.
Pastor Kevin Clark, with twin daughters, sisters to Anthony Clark reed.
“They said they put [my son’s] hands behind his back [to handcuff him], which would have restricted the air flowing into his lungs, causing an asthma attack,” Reed said. “They didn’t have a reason to pull him over, they stereotyped him.”
Pastor Clark said, “I’m not claiming they did anything unless the videotapes show differently, but what occurred says they did not attend to his request that he could not breathe. Why were they so neglectful?”
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report says Clark Reed died of “natural causes,” an asthma attack.
But during his funeral, one of Clark Reed’s twin sisters left crying, “They killed him.”
Anthony Clark Reed’s family surround casket at his funeral April 11, 2015. Photo: Cornell Squires
Both parents said police and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office continue to tell them the case is still “under investigation.”
“Why is this still going on, 45 days after his death?” Pastor Clark asked.
Police have given the parents conflicting stories about the reason their son was stopped. They have not given the family or their attorney written police reports, dashcam videos from at least six cars witnesses saw at the scene, and videos confiscated from cameras on nearby buildings. Witnesses said all the Charger’s doors and trunk were open after the stop. Their son’s possessions, including two cell phones and cash, have also not been returned.
Youth at candlelight vigil for Anthony Clark Reed April 1, 2015, outside his father’s church on Springwells.
Pastor Clark said a police lieutenant told him that his son was pulled over because he was reaching under his seat. His father he was likely looking for his inhaler if that was the case. Police have told various media outlets that Clark Reed was stopped because he had tinted windows, and that he had an asthma attack after the stop. They said they went inside the car to get his inhaler, then called EMS, but those efforts failed to revive him.
Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell reported a third version in comments on WXYZ TV’s website after Pastor Clark was interviewed by that station.
“He was pulled over and started eating his dope he had in the car ……. No one’s fault but his,” Gadwell said on the site. In response to another commenter critical of that remark, Gadwell said, “Where u there at the scene nope that’s right or I would of seen u, but go ahead and try blaming the police for some one else’s stupidity.”
John E BGood, pseudonym for Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell. Facebook
Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell/Photo TV 2 News.
That comment, said Clark Reed’s mother, obviously implies Gadwell was present during her son’s death.
WXYZ has since changed the name of the commenter to John E BGood, whose Facebook page displays a photo of Good. It is identical to a photo of Gadwell published in a 2012 news report by Amy Lange on Channel 2. That report identified Gadwell as a Detroit police officer who had “thwarted a fence theft” in his Delray neighborhood while off-duty. See
Henry Sawicki commented on the John E Bgood Facebook page, “Damn john e bgood u look just like John E Bgood lol,” and “Lol just like brian gadwell I mean lol.”
Yolanda Delgado, Anthony Clark Reed’s aunt
Clark Reed’s aunt Yolanda Delgado preserved the original comments with Gadwell’s name on her Facebook page.
On that page, and on the WXYZ website, she said, “Officer Brian Gadwell is making false, unfounded allegations about a pending investigation into the death of Anthony Clark-Reed. He is inciting racial bias and prejudice and his comments are insensitive and unnecessary. Apparently he is attempting to create an alibi for the senseless death of this young man. He does not honor the badge or uniform of the US Law enforcement bureau and he needs to be removed from service. Our country will never mend their racial divide wounds as long as people like him serve in office.”
Numerous other commenters also castigated Gadwell’s comments. None supported him.
Barbara Reed Bolden Facebook
Barbara Reed Bolden said, “The last thing Detroit needs is Bad Cops PROFILING Men/Women shaking them down for their valuables and using a gun and badge to do so. This family lost a love[d] on. You are on Social Media Boasting about a case you personally had something to do with. You show no sensitivity nor respect, for this alone that badge and gun should be removed from you. Who are you serving and protecting?”
Along with the medical examiner’s autopsy report, VOD obtained the ME’s “Case Registration Summary.”
It says “ER Dr. called to report the death of a 25yr male, who was stopped by police while driving swallowed a unknown substance and collapsed. Conveyed from Lawndale and Vernor in Detroit by EMS arriving asystole with no signs of trauma or foul play. Package of drugs found on person.”
The summary adds, “No labs, no film, hx (history) unknown.”
Police stopped Anthony Clark Reed in front of this store on W. Vernor and Lawndale March 30. He was dead shortly thereafter.
“It is my opinion that the cause of death is asthma,” Wayne County Assistant Medical Examiner Chantel Nijawi reported May 4. “The contributory factor is morbid obesity. Mr. Clark-Reed complained of feeling short of breath during a traffic stop. An inhaler which Mr. Clark-Reed instructed the police to remove from his car was administered multiple times; however the inhaler failed to work. An emergency medical unit was immediately called and police began cardiopulmonary resuscitative efforts. Upon arrival of the emergency medical unit to the scene, cardiopulmonary resuscitative efforts were continued and he was conveyed to the hospital where despite continued medical intervention he died. There were no signs of injury and no evidence of foul play.”
A good portion of Nijawi’s remarks are taken at face value from what he was told by police, a not uncommon occurrence at the medical examiner’s office.
California NORML: “Dedicated to reforming Californias marijuana laws.”
But Nijawi reported further, “The stomach is devoid of gastric contents.”
In other words, he found no evidence in the young man’s stomach that he had ingested anything, let alone drugs, as Gadwell alleged online.
The toxicology findings in the report do indicate the presence of 1.9 nannograms per millimeter (ng/ml) of Delta-9 THC, and under 5.0 ng/ml of Delta-9 Carboxy THC, components of marijuana, in Clark-Reed’s blood.
A scientific report by the California chapter of NORML says, “. . . high levels of THC may be correlated with impairment, though low levels less than 3-5 ng/ml are not.” In other words, the tests showed only low levels present in Clark-Reed’s blood.
Several lawsuits at the state and federal levels have been filed against Gadwell, although he was given a “Top Cop” award by the National Association of Police Officers in 2005.
NAPO report on “The Myths of Ferguson.” Gadwell got their “Top Cop” award in 2005.
Two were filed by Jerry Ashley, who said in a sworn deposition that he grew up with Gadwell, who lived in the Delray area. He said Gadwell belonged to a gang called the Delray Mafia, while he himself belonged to a competing gang called the Counts. He said his brother “stole” Gadwell’s girlfriend Melissa, which caused subsequent animosity from Gadwell toward the Ashleys.
Later, Gadwell joined the Detroit Police Department, working variously on the gang squad and in special operations.
In 2007, according to a lawsuit filed by attorney Daniel G. Romano, Gadwell arrested Ashley, handcuffed him, then kicked him in the face, breaking the orbital bone around his eye and scarring his face. The lawsuit was later settled for $50,000, according to a City Council agenda for June 16, 2010.
Two other Detroit officers pulled Ashley over on April 9, 2010, telling him that Gadwell “wanted to see him.” Romano said in the lawsuit that the officers falsely arrested Ashley for non-existent child support warrants, then took him to the Second Precinct on Grand River and Schaefer, where one placed a “baton-like object” between Ashley’s arms while he was handcuffed, then twisted it, fracturing his elbow.
Ashley said that Gadwell later told him he heard he “got arrested and got f-cked up again.” The case evaluation in that lawsuit recommended payment of another $50,000.
Demonstrators march in New York, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, during the Justice for All rally and march. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In another lawsuit, Javier Pointer vs. Gadwell, adjudicated in both state and federal courts, attorney Romano alleged that Gadwell trespassed into Pointer’s yard without a warrant, and told him to stop selling drugs, which Pointer denied doing.
Romano said Gadwell “showed him his badge and punched him in his face, plaintiff fell to ground and defendant kicked him. . . .The defendant fractured plaintiff’s nose, jaw, and wrist, and he humiliated him . . . . as the plaintiff lay on the ground, the defendant continued to beat him.”
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland remanded state-appropriate claims to Wayne County Circuit Court. On the federal civil rights violations claims, he found Gadwell not responsible because he was not “operating under color of law,” although he did not deny that Gadwell had beaten Pointer. He ignored the lawsuit’s contention that Gadwell showed Pointer his police badge.
The Detroit City Council later authorized legal representation for Gadwell on the state claims. An unknown settlement was reached in December, 2011.
Luis and Paricia Perales sued Gadwell, U.S. Homeland Security Officer Antonio Galvan, and two other individuals who were the target of a high-speed chase after they allegedly shot into a crowd during Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 6, 2012.
The lawsuit, again filed by Daniel Romano, alleged that Gadwell and Galvan negligently engaged in a “high-speed chase through the crowded streets of Southwest Detroit during the Cinco de Mayor Parade . . . continued the chase the wrong way down the one-way Morell Street, and hit or otherwise physically forced the vehicle operated by Defendants Gonzales and Garcia into Plaintiff Luis Pareles, thereby striking him violently and with great force.”
The lawsuit said Perales suffered “serious injuries to his face/head, brain, neck and other parts of his body . . .” that would likely cause lifelong impairment.
That case was administratively closed due to the Detroit bankruptcy filing, and later re-filed in 2014, with an unknown outcome.
Protester burns her tax bill as demonstrators take over street outside 400 Monroe, where Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz has HQ.
‘Detroit homes haven’t been reassessed in 20 yrs.—THAT’S ILLEGAL
Detroit taxes 3 times higher than suburbs—THAT’S UNJUST
State mandates 18% interest on unpaid taxes—THAT’S CRAZY
80% of Detroit ‘blight’ caused by foreclosures—THAT’S DISGRACEFUL
Gilbert, Illitch receive huge tax breaks—so should Detroit—WHY NOT?’
Protesters declare “Black Homes Matter!”
DETROIT—After hundreds of protesters took the street outside Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’ offices on Monroe in downtown Detroit, police threatened to arrest them, saying their action was “illegal.”
“We are not doing anything illegal,” chant leaders declared. “What is illegal is that we are being forced into tax foreclosures. Mike Illitch got $450 million of our taxes for his new stadium—I don’t think we’re going to let you put us out in the streets. Illegal water foreclosures mean—SHUT IT DOWN!”
Many protesters demanded immediate re-assessments of property values in Detroit, which have not been done for 20 years during which neighborhood conditions drastically deteriorated. State law requires annual re-assessments, so protesters said taxes people have already paid are illegal and should be paid back. They also said water bills attached to Detroiters’ tax bills should not force foreclosures either.
Protester demands that tax re-assessments, not done in Detroit for 20 years, be made retroactive.
“Re-assess all taxes now!” they chanted.
Tijuana Morris pointed to a sign held by Bob Day of Detroit Eviction Defense, which graphically displayed the huge disparities between property taxes charged in Detroit, the poorest city in the country, and those paid by homeowners in Grosse Pointe Farms, Dearborn, Ferndale, and Hazel Park.
Tax bills in Detroit way too high; poster compares home values and taxes in Detroit and suburbs.
Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! called out, “While Wayne County faces the possibility of an emergency manager like Detroit, it makes no sense to drive any more people out of their homes. Stop tax foreclosures NOW!”
Protesters carried banners declaring, “Black Homes Matter,”
After blocking Monroe for an hour, the crowd marched to the Detroit Water Board building on Randolph to demand a halt to re-instituted water shut-offs and related foreclosures. They swore to return to the treasurer’s office soon, saying that next time they would not leave.
Protesters timed the action to coincide with Wojtowicz’ arbitrary deadline for homeowners to apply for interest reductions on unpaid taxes, allowed under a new state law. Groups including Detroit Eviction Defense, Moratorium NOW!, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), National Action Network, the Russell Woods-Sullivan Neighborhood Association, and many more took part.
Protesters mob Monroe Street.
The protest also coincided with a battle between Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and the Wayne County Commission over how a $49 million debt to the county’s pension fund, mandated for immediate payment by the Michigan Supreme Court, will be paid.
Evans wants a one-time property tax increase, while a majority of Commissioners voted June 5 to take the debt out of the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund (DTRF). Evans vetoed their decision the same day. Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak wrote back that the body will likely take a vote to override the veto in several weeks.
Banners form barricade across Monroe to keep police out.
“I have called for shared sacrifice from County employees, retirees, vendors and residents,” Evans said in his veto letter. “I had hoped to avoid any general tax increases as a solution, but in this circumstance the law mandates a tax levy to remedy those decisions made prior to my tenure.”
Either way, homeowners lose, because the revolving fund is there to help delinquent taxpayers avoid foreclosures.
Have you no shame? protesters ask Treasurer, county officials.
The County builds the fund by borrowing money from the banks, based on delinquent taxes owing in all its municipalities. Thus it can actually pay the taxes of foreclosed homeowners directly. However, the funds are disbursed at the Treasurer’s sole discretion, according to the attached document from the Michigan Association of County Treasurers.
Evans claims the DTRF must be used to pay off the county’s structural debt instead, although Wojtowicz earlier used it to pay off $4.5 million for the expansion of the first floor at 400 Monroe, where the Treasurer has offices on several floors. The County does not even own the building.
“Ain’t no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people don’t stop!” chant leaders call out.
“Dedicating any DTRF funds to satisfy the judgment is simply deficit spending,” Evans wrote. “It is spending money we don’t have and it will leave the county in deficit at the end of the current fiscal year and in future fiscal years.”
Under Public Act 436, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder could institute a takeover of Wayne County, as he has done to Detroit and other majority-Black cities, if it does not produce a deficit reduction plan acceptable to the state. Wayne County is 39.6 percent African-American, contrasting with the state’s 14.3 percent Black residents, according to recent census figures.
Just as it did during the Detroit takeover and ensuing bankruptcy, Wall Street has been campaigning to get their debts paid first, before the needs of the people. Such a provision is actually part of the Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment.
Detroit retirees attended to warn county of disaster that bankruptcy caused; Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) is among 8 groups appealing to federal circuit court. Wall St. is now attacking county workers and pensioners as well, downgrading County bond ratings to rake in profits.
In February, Wall Street ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the county’s general obligation limited tax (GOLT) debt by three levels to junk, meaning it will be forced to pay higher interest rates on any new debt.
“We expect the county’s current liquidity position will remain sufficient to meet all obligations in the coming year, but will continue to degrade absent significant operating adjustments, the implementation of which could be challenging,” Moody’s said.
Hitler was legal too!
Fitch Ratings changed the county’s outlook to “negative.”
The County cited decreased property tax revenues, “unsustainable” defined benefit pension plans, health care inflation, and overspending in the Wayne County Prosecutor and Sheriff’s offices as responsible for an expected deficit this year. For the last three years, the County has run annual deficits of $50 million. Its total long-term debt is $5 billion.
In a move fraught with danger for County residents and workers, the County has hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to assess what can be done to cut the deficit.
State, county and city governments have given multi-billionaires Dan Gilbert and Mike Illitch hundreds of millions in tax dollars, tax breaks.
Ernst & Young met with Detroit’s City Council in a closed session in November, 2011, after which it claimed, falsely as it turned out, that the city would run out of cash by June, 2012. That marked the beginning of the city’s slide into a state takeover under the EM law and a bankruptcy that has stripped Detroit of most of its major assets including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and impoverished its workers and retirees.
Meanwhile, Wall Street got the city’s long-term debt load increased from $1.1 billion in 2013 to over $3 billion post-bankruptcy, increasing profits for the banks.
The states of New York and New Jersey have sued Ernst & Young for losses they incurred during the crash of 2008, which began with the downfall of the global Lehman Brothers bank. Ernst & Young was the accounting firm for Lehman Brothers and cooked its books, according to the lawsuits.
Detroit police threatened to arrest protesters, but never did so.