Baltimore uprising 2015: Photo: CNN

Baltimore uprising 2015: Photo: CNN


Scholarship and Activism toward racial justice

April 27, 2015Joeurban revolts

Freddie Gray, spine severed April 12, 2015; dead April 19, 2015.

Freddie Gray, spine severed April 12, 2015; dead April 19, 2015.

The events in Baltimore today are part of a long tradition of urban uprisings in the U.S.

Some social scientists, like the late Harlan Hahn and I, have been researching black urban uprisings in great detail since the 1960s. Yet, when urban uprisings occur every few years, this major research and the deep historical background it assesses are regularly ignored or forgotten—not surprisingly, of course, given that the mainstream media and most political institutions are controlled by elite white men with no interest in remedying the underlying conditions that create so-called “urban riots.” 

IGhetto Revolts bookn the first sustained analysis of the black urban rebellions ever done by social scientists, Harlan Hahn and I (Ghetto Revolts, Macmillan, 1973, nominated for a Pulitzer) dissected and refuted the prevailing conservative theories of these black rebellions— always blaming the victim theories— and laid out an alternative power-and-oppression interpretive framework. We showed how these were not “wild riots,” but were urban uprisings. Given that, they were, and are, better conceptualized as part of centuries-old racial power struggles. In our book we examine, for the years between the early 1960s and early 1970s, the hundreds of black urban revolts that occurred throughout the United States. These included massive uprisings in the Watts district of Los Angeles in 1965, in Detroit and Newark in 1967, and in Washington, D.C., in 1968.

Detroit rebellion 1967

Detroit rebellion 1967

The impact of these large-scale revolts was felt across the nation, which was confronted by a militant new generation of proud African Americans willing to engage in this ultimate type of anti-racism protest, much like we seem to be witnessing again. Critical studies of the 1960s-1970s black revolts regularly emphasized the concepts of “precipitating events” and “underlying conditions.”

Police malpractice – usually police brutality – like the many cases in Baltimore – of various kinds often has been the precipitating event for black rebellions, now for seven decades. White police officers have historically played, and still play, a major role in the violent repression of black Americans, especially those who seek to protest racism. Historical data on police violence are chilling. In the years 1920-1932 alone substantially more than half of all African Americans killed by whites were actually killed by police officers. Police were also implicated in the 6,000 lynchings of black men and women from the 1870s to the 1960s.

Funeral of Freddie Gray

Funeral of Freddie Gray

Not surprisingly, in recent decades police harassment and violence have been openly resisted by black Americans in the form of large-scale community rebellions. Our analysis of black community rebellions for the years 1943-1972 indicated that the immediate precipitating event of a great many uprisings was the killing or harassment of black men by white officers.

This reaction to police harassment can also be seen in more recent rioting by black citizens, such as in Los Angeles and Miami in the 1980s and 1990s, and in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, and many other cities since. In spite of some desegregation and other improvements in policing since the 1960s, police violence and malpractice have continued to oppress black communities.

The current crisis of racist police killings is national.

The current crisis of racist police killings is national.

The role of white officials and the police in generating and accelerating rioting, while often rationalized or overlooked by a majority of white Americans, has been significant. Police brutality and other malpractice targeting African Americans remain a major problem across the United States. In one nationwide poll, nearly 80 percent of the black respondents said that in most cities the police did not treat black residents as fairly as white residents.

Yet urban black rebellions have always been about much more than these precipitating events, including police malpractice. As we showed four decades ago in Ghetto Revolts, a full understanding of urban uprisings requires much attention to the underlying foundation of three-plus centuries of white-on-black oppression. This oppression set in place, and keeps in place, numerous highly exploitative, inegalitarian, and undemocratic national and local-urban political-economic institutions. The “underlying conditions” of urban uprisings mostly involve the structural realities of economic oppression that create much unemployment and underemployment and have a severe impact on black individuals and communities. It is not surprising that economic institutions are often targets of those who protest by violent means.


History suggests too that the current uprisings in Baltimore can get much worse. For example, in major uprisings in Miami in spring 1980, black residents lashed out against the police and the larger white society with extensive burning and looting of stores. That uprising resulted in 16 deaths, 400 injuries, and $100 million in property damage. A poll asked black Americans nationally whether that rioting was justified. Twenty-seven percent said “Yes,” and another 25 percent replied “Don’t know” or “Not sure.”

LA: Rodney King rebellion 1992.

LA: Rodney King rebellion 1992.

More black uprisings occurred in Miami between 1982 and 1991, triggered by incidents involving police officers. Recall too that in Los Angeles in spring 1992, the acquittal on charges of police brutality of four officers who had been videotaped brutally beating an unarmed black man (Rodney King) triggered the most serious urban rebellion in the 20th century. After days of rioting, more than 10,000 blacks and Latinos had been arrested, and more than 50 people had been killed. Property damage exceeded one billion dollars. At one point, 20,000 police officers and soldiers patrolled large areas of Los Angeles. The events there triggered uprisings in other cities. As in the 1960s urban rebellions, the underlying conditions included poverty, unemployment, and poor housing conditions.

Miami rebellionThe exploitative, discriminatory, and unjust-enrichment-hoarding actions by whites who run our inegalitarian political-economic institutions, generally elite white men and their acolytes, have actually generated black rebellions from the 1930s, through the radical 1960s, to the present day. They have intentionally generated unjust enrichment for a majority of whites, and unjust impoverishment for a majority of black Americans, past and present. This country, from colonial years, has been firmly grounded in highly oppressive political-economic institutions –under slavery (about 240 years of that) and then under legal and official segregation (another 90 years of that). Not even official freedom for this country, and for black Americans, came until the 1969 Civil Rights Act when into effect, barely two generations ago.

Chicago: 1919

Chicago: 1919

If one gives serious attention to understanding that foundation of white-generated, white-maintained oppression and its ever-present institutions (for example, we still live under a Constitution made by slaveholders), one can see more clearly how and why some of the earliest historical “riots” (for example, Chicago in 1919) were actually white “riots of control” involving rank-and-file whites and elite whites enforcing centuries-old racial oppression. Only later do we see large-scale black rebellions (the 1960s rebellions and those since) against that system of racial oppression. To make sense of all this, one needs to accent much more the critical white actors, especially elite white actors, in the institutional contexts that generate the unjust impoverishment and unjust police malpractice that generates urban black uprisings. 

Where does this leave us today? Certainly, in a highly and systemically racist society.

In a summer 1857 speech in New York, the great abolitionist and intellectual Frederick Douglass, long ago noted the reality of this racial oppression and what it often takes to truly combat it:

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. . . . If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. . ..

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. . . . If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.


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Above: earlier report from RT including background of Baltimore police brutality incidents similar to the killing of Freddie Gray

Violence breaks out near Camden Yards during Freddie Gray protests

Baseball fans trapped in stadium

Baltimore Sun logoBaltimore Sun

BY Yvonne Wenger, Mark Puente, Kevin Rector, Colin Campbell and Erica L. Green

Freddie Gray protesters at Baltimore police station April 25, 2015.
Freddie Gray protesters at Baltimore police station April 25, 2015. AFP photo


BALTIMORE—A day of mostly peaceful demonstrations against the death of Freddie Gray turned confrontational as dark fell over Baltimore Saturday evening, as protesters blocked traffic near the Inner Harbor, smashed police car windows and shouted, “Killers!” at officers in riot gear.

Freddie Gray, 27, tortured to death by Baltimore police who broke his spinal cord as he screamed out in pain.

Freddie Gray, 27, tortured to death by Baltimore police who broke his spine as he screamed out in pain.

More than 100 officers — wearing helmets, gloves and vests and carrying batons — formed a wall along several blocks of Pratt Street, and began to make arrests. State police in full tactical gear were deployed to the city.

Protesters shouted “Killers!” and “You can’t get away with this!” and “Hands up don’t shoot!” Some threw rocks and water bottles at police mounted on horses, smashed the windows of businesses and looted at least two convenience stores.

At the intersection of Howard and Pratt streets, police chanted “Move back. Move back.”

Some protesters indicated that they didn’t expect to retreat anytime soon. The Orioles, playing a night game that went into extra innings at Camden Yards, asked fans to stay in the stadium until further notice, as police were clearing crowds on downtown streets with riot shields.

“People are not leaving,” London Hall said. “We are tired. We are not going to show them that they got the muscle and the power. We’re the voice of the street. These streets belong to us.”

Below is CNN interview with “The Wire” actress who knew Freddie Gray and said she too would have run from police due to their past history.

It was the largest of the demonstrations that protesters have staged every day since Gray died last Sunday. The 25-year-old sustained spinal cord injuries while in police custody following his arrest April 12 near Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore.

At the Gallery at HarborPlace around 7 p.m., a window at the Michael Kors store was smashed and shoppers were evacuated. Customers, who held coats and scarves over their faces, reported hearing a loud bang as the window was smashed with a trash can.

Protesters against death of Freddie Gray take to roofs. Despite allegations that people from outside Baltimore controlled the protests, photos like these showed differently. Protesters were prepared for attacks by police. Thirty-four were arrested.

Protesters against death of Freddie Gray take to roofs. Despite allegations that people from outside Baltimore controlled the protests, photos like these showed differently. Protesters were prepared for attacks by police. Thirty-four were arrested. Twitter photo.

Leila Rghioui, 20, of Randallstown had stopped by the mall after protesting with friendsearlier in the day.

“All I remember is the security guards started barricading doors and everyone started losing their minds coughing,” Rghioui said. She said pepper spray made her throw up.

Faith Demby of West Baltimore was shopping at The Children’s Place with her daughter, a third-grader, when the crowd was disrupted. Amena Demby-Ajadi earned the trip to the mall by making the honor roll.

“I know the next time something like this happens — if they are protesting or something — I’ll stay home,” the girl said.

“I knew when I saw that many people something was going to happen,” her mother said. “It was just too many people.”

Demonstrators clashed with police outside Oriole Park.

Freddie Gray protesters attacked police cars. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

Freddie Gray protesters attacked police cars in righteous vengeance. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

A few protesters jumped on police cars and smashed their windows with trash cans and traffic cones. They grabbed police caps from the cars and posed atop them to cheering and howls of laughter. The group quickly dispersed, sprinting away as a line of police officers came running down the street.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was “profoundly disappointed.”

"I'm going to be violent. All of that peace, I'm done with peace. I tried to be peaceful. These are our streets not theirs. They're killing us," this 19 year-old told us. BBC photo story.

“I’m going to be violent. All of that peace, I’m done with peace. I tried to be peaceful. These are our streets not theirs. They’re killing us,” this 19 year-old told us. BBC photo story.

“I am grateful to the many demonstrators who sought to make their concerns heard in a peaceful and respectful manner,” she said. ” “A small group of agitators intervened and turned what was otherwise a peaceful demonstration into a violence protest. This is something that was unacceptable to me and everyone who lives in Baltimore.”

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said more than a dozen people were arrested, and more arrests were expected into the night.

He said protests were “extremely peaceful” for most of the day. He blamed the trouble on a small number of agitators.

“Baltimore residents were telling people in the crowd to calm down and relax,” Batts said. “Residents put themselves between police officers and this agitated crowd and asked for calm and asked for peace, which was very good to see. There appeared to be conflict between the agitators.”

Protesters confront police April 25. AP photo.

Protesters confront police April 25. AP photo.

Aides to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he skipped the White House Correspondents Association dinner in Washington Saturday night to monitor the situation.

In a statement, Sen. Ben Cardin asked demonstrators to remain peaceful.

“As our community watches what was a meaningful and justified protest descend into an ugly scene we have seen all too often across the nation, I make an earnest appeal for peace in Baltimore,” he said. “I ask for those involved to not work against our shared goal and distract from seeking justice for Freddie Gray.”

Trouble popped up across Downtown Baltimore. Several people smashed the front door of the 7-Eleven on Light Street at about 9:20 p.m. One person entered the store and took several items while tossing others on the ground.Donald Kennedy, one of the owners of Pratt Street Ale House, watched as protesters took over downtown. Police asked him to move patrons inside.

“We just hope it’s a safe night for everybody involved “Normally this is a busy Boston baseball weekend for us, and this is troubling that.”

Protesters gather at site near Freddie Gray's arrest. Most were from Baltimore according to sources.

Protesters gather at site near Freddie Gray’s arrest. Most were from Baltimore according to sources.

The crowds began to assemble about noon at the site of Gray’s arrest near Gilmor homes in West Baltimore. Some participants came from as far as Ferguson, Mo. Most of the marchers, estimated by the Fire Department at 1,200, were from Baltimore.

From Gilmor, they marched in the afternoon to the Western District Police Station, where about 50 officers formed lines around the building.

Twelve-year-old Charles Sheppard leaned against the barricade, holding a sign with a quote from James Baldwin: “Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy of justice.”c

His mother, Tina Commodore, yelled toward the line of officers: “He’s a murder! He’s a murder!”

“You know how a volcano erupts?” Charles asked. “That’s how I feel inside about this.”

Batts, who a day earlier defied calls to step down, walked briefly into a crowd of a hundred or so outside the station. He told reporters he had been working to change the culture of the Police Department.

Some demonstrators shouted: “There’s blood on your hands!” and “sellout!”

Malik Shabazz, leader of Black Lawyers for Justice, at earlier protest in the week.

Malik Shabazz, leader of Black Lawyers for Justice, at earlier protest in the week.

Before he walked back behind the police line, Batts paused to give 52-year-old Resa Burton a hug.

Burton, a lifelong West Baltimore resident, said she had a message for Batts: “We need justice.”

“They killed a man,” Burton said. “It could’ve been me! It could’ve been me! It could been my brother, my nephew! It could’ve been you!”

After the protesters crossed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, they stopped for a moment of silence outside Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where Gray fell into a coma before dying. As drivers honked, a bullhorn-carrying leader, Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, he told the crowd to hold the intersection.

They then headed to Oriole Park, where Shabazz said, “Let’s shake it up.”

Protesters converge on Oriole Park.

Protesters converge on Oriole Park.

Protesters began running toward the stadium, kicking parked cars. Shabazz tried to stop them.

One stomped across the top of a police cruiser, and another stood on it.

Gray’s brother Juan Grant and cousin Carron Morgan were among the hundreds gathered there early in the day. They helped calm the crowd.

Massive protest nears Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Massive protest nears Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Seventy-five officers stood in unison at the entrance of Camden Yards. Protesters stood steps away, calling them killers.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!” one man shouted. “You like breaking people’s necks!”

Another man shouted: “Some of you are good people. It’s just the ones who do stupid stuff that we don’t like.”

As the crowd moved through the intersection of Howard and Camden streets, a group of men and teenagers grabbed soda, water and chips from a hot dog vendor and ran away.

“Hey! that stuff isn’t free!” the vendor yelled.

Tywan Paige, 12, marched with his uncle from the Western District.

“The police are gonna keep beating people up!” he shouted.

Protesters demand cops who killed Freddie Gray be jailed.

Police greeted the marchers on Fayette Street near police headquarters. Officers kept helmets strapped to their legs in case violence erupted.

With hundreds of protesters in front of City Hall, organizers shouted into a microphone to energize the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, raise your hand if you think Freddie Gray was murdered,” Shabazz yelled. Hundreds and hundreds of hands went reached for the sky.

“We see black men dropping like files,” he said. “We see them all across the United States of America.”

Shabazz called on leaders from President Barack Obama to Mayor Rawlings-Blake to address the violent relationship between black communities and law enforcement. He criticized Rawlings-Blake for not getting answers about the Gray case.

“How can you be the mayor and you can’t even get a police report from the Police Department?” Shabazz said.

He said the Black Lawyers for Justice are planning another mass rally for next Saturday.

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QL Blight

Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert heads city’s “Blight Removal Task Force,” but his own company has been responsible for creating much of the blight through fraudulent lending and foreclosures. Gilbert, owner of the Greektown Casino and also involved with former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer in getting casinos in other states, was convicted while attending Michigan State University in a $114,000 bookmaking operation.


 Quicken: ‘irrational and baseless witchhunt’

“This case is the latest step in our commitment to hold accountable mortgage lenders who profit by taking advantage of HUD insurance and issuing defective loans that do not meet HUD’s standards.” – John Walsh, U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado

By Amy Swinderman

 Apr 24, 2015 

Quicken Loans banner at previous HQ in Detroit, the Chase Bank Building. Next door in green is the Ernst & Young building,

Quicken Loans banner at previous HQ in Detroit, the Chase Bank Building. Next door in green is the Ernst & Young building,

A three-year battle between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Quicken Loans came to a head yesterday when the department filed a lawsuit alleging the Detroit-based lender violated the False Claims Act by improperly originating and underwriting mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The lawsuit is the latest volley in a longstanding government probe of Quicken’s participation in the FHA insurance program as a direct endorsement lender. According to the DOJ, from 2007 to 2011, Quicken knowingly submitted claims for hundreds of improperly underwritten FHA-insured loans, encouraged employees to disregard FHA rules and requested inflated property appraisals.

As a result of these alleged actions, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) paid “millions of dollars” of insurance claims, and many additional loans that have become at least 60 days delinquent could result in further HUD claims, the DOJ said.

Dan Gilbert, billionaire owner of Quicken Loans, real estate empire, Cleveland Cavaliers, casinos

Dan Gilbert, billionaire owner of Quicken Loans, Rock Financial, Bedrock Real Estate, downtown Detroit  empire, Cleveland Cavaliers, casinos

What’s more, the department claims that Quicken managers were well aware of the problems and even granted “management exceptions” whereby managers would allow underwriters to break an FHA rule in order to approve a loan.

According to the DOJ’s complaint, Quicken’s divisional vice president for underwriting — the second-highest senior executive in the lender’s operations department — wrote in an email discussing the value appeal process that “I don’t think the media and any other mortgage company (FNMA, FHA, FMLC) would like the fact we have a team who is responsible to push back on appraisers questioning their appraised values.”

In another email, the same individual told a group of Quicken executives that 40 percent of the management exceptions on FHA’s early payment defaults should not have been granted, adding, “we make some really dumb decisions when it comes to client service exceptions. Example, purchase loan we pulled new credit and the client stopped paying on almost everything and the scores fell by 100 points, we [still] closed it.”

You bastardIn another email discussing an FHA loan, the operations director explained that the loan was approved based on “bastard income,” which he described as “trying to put some kind of income together that is plausible to the investor even though we know its creation comes from something evil and horrible.”

The DOJ’s complaint further alleges that Quicken failed to implement an adequate quality-control program to identify deficient loans, and that Quicken failed to report to HUD the loans it did identify. Despite its obligation to report to HUD all materially deficient loans, “Quicken concealed its deficient underwriting practices and failed to report a single underwriting deficiency to the agency,” the DOJ alleges.

“As the complaint alleges, Quicken violated HUD’s quality standards when obtaining HUD insurance for mortgage loans,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh of the District of Colorado, whose office helped to lead the investigation, said in a statement. “Quicken issued hundreds of defective mortgage loans, and left HUD — and the taxpayer — to pay for the loans that defaulted. Quicken’s alleged fraudulent conduct affected communities nationwide. This case is the latest step in our commitment to hold accountable mortgage lenders who profit by taking advantage of HUD insurance and issuing defective loans that do not meet HUD’s standards.”

Gilbert Empire

Dan Gilbert’s empire

Walsh’s office conducted the investigation along with HUD and its Office of Inspector General and the DOJ Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation branch.

Quicken quickly responded to the DOJ’s lawsuit, calling the filing “simply the continuation of the abusive actions and a make-good on the DOJ’s threats since their witchhunt began three years ago.” Just last week on April 17, the lender filed a lawsuit of its own against the DOJ and HUD, alleging they have been strong-arming it into making false public admissions and either agreeing to pay a fine or face legal action.

According to Quicken, the DOJ’s investigation is based on a small sample of 55 loans, “a minuscule number of cherry-picked mortgages from the nearly 250,000 FHA loans the company has closed since 2007.”

“The complaint filed today is riddled with inaccurate and twisted conclusions from fragments of a handful of emails cherry-picked from 85,000 documents that the DOJ subpoenaed,” the company said in a statement. “Worse than that, the DOJ appears to be basing their entire case on a handful of out-of-context email conversations skimmed from the communication between Quicken Loans employees. These conversations relate to a miniscule number of loans out of the nearly 250,000 FHA mortgages the company has closed over the past seven years.”

Protesters at Federal McNamara building call for Fannie Mae, financing arm of FHA to stop eviction of Jennifer Britt. Since the 2008 crash, most Detroit evictions are carried out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Protesters at Federal McNamara building in 2012 call for Fannie Mae, financing arm of FHA to stop eviction of Jennifer Britt. Since the 2008 crash, most Detroit evictions are carried out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who pay off lenders like Quicken Loans for defaulted mortgages.

Quicken has also noted its position as the nation’s largest FHA lender and said it has originated the agency’s best-performing loan portfolio, with the lowest default rate of any single lender compared to FHA’s total mortgage portfolio. However, in light of these events, the lender said, “We will be evaluating the prudence of our continued participation in the FHA program.”

Jennifer Britt, victim of attempted federal foreclosure.

Jennifer Britt, victim of attempted federal foreclosure.

“The irrational and baseless claims by this powerful federal agency will be exposed in federal court,” Quicken said. “We are confident that after examining the facts, the judicial branch will clearly see the outrageous actions of the DOJ and exercise its authority to end this agency’s misuse of power.”

The False Claims Act, also called the Lincoln Law, imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud governmental programs. Federal penalties can total three times of amount of the claim, plus fines of $5,500 to $11,000 per claim.

Read the entire 69-page lawsuit at US Quicken Loans lawsuit 4 24 15.

USDOJ press release:

Did “Dapper Dan” Gilbert & Quicken Loans Contribute To Detroit’s Blight?

MFI-Miami mortgage fraud i logoSurvey of Detroit Mortgages Shows Boiler Room Operator Quicken Loans Contributed To Detroit’s Blight

February 2015

(VOD–other sources report that Quicken Loans had done $70 BILLION worth of business in Detroit as of 2011.)

Konrad Walker's home, where he lived 50 years during which his parents died, suffered a mortgage foreclosure and vandalism in 2012. Photo: Cornell Squires

Konrad Walker’s home, where he lived 50 years during which his parents died, suffered a mortgage foreclosure and vandalism in 2012. Photo: Cornell Squires

It appears that former amateur sports bookie, owner of Quicken Loans, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, numerous casinos in Ohio and wannabe White Jesus of Detroit, Dan Gilbert and his merry band of boiler room telephone operators at Quicken Loans contributed to Detroit’s epic blight problem that Gilbert has now pledged to eliminate.

First, let’s go back in time to 2007 when Dan Gilbert, proclaimed to Tom Walsh at the Detroit News, “Quicken and Rock have never made sub-prime loans to home buyers.”

This claim was later debunked by investigative journalist and writer, Michael Hudson.

In 2011, an Ohio court awarded a $3 million verdict to former Quicken Loans customers who claimed they were victims of predatory lending. This was followed up by a ruling by a West Virginia judge who awarded homeowners $2 million claiming Quicken used fraudulent appraisals in order lend homeowners more money. The judge in that case even went so far to call Quicken’s actions, “unconscionable.”

Aerial view of vacant lots in Detroit, and abandoned homes.

Aerial view of vacant lots in Detroit, and abandoned homes.

During all this, Gilbert, a man whose vanity is exceeded only by his pettiness and who runs Quicken as if it were a rogue Scientology cult operated by North Korean Dictator Kim Jung-Un, still claimed, “Quicken to be “one of the good guys.”

Quicken was able to escape the carnage and tarnished images of the financial crisis not because Quicken Loans was ‘one of the good guys’ as Dan Gilbert likes to claims but because Quicken didn’t carry any liability from the loans they originated because they sold the loans on the secondary mortgage market to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or into private mortgage backed securities Trusts.

In October of last year, Gilbert made a pledge to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to assist Detroit in tearing down blighted residential properties and was then put in charge of the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force. Everyone in Detroit media praised Gilbert and treated him as a White Jesus who had come to rescue Detroit. What they weren’t asking Gilbert and his ballyhoo boys at Quicken was, “Did any of these home have mortgages originated by Quicken Loans?”

Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan and buddy Dan Gilbert.

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan and buddy Dan Gilbert.

After all with Gilbert’s checkered past and after losing several predatory lending lawsuits, this simple question should be the foremost question Detroit media should be asking.

I began asking friends in Detroit media why no one was not only asking this question but why no one was researching this. The reaction was shockingly similar to the look I used to get from Chinese foreign exchange students in college who were worried their every move was being monitored by the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Since members of Detroit’s media are too intimidated by the ominous eye of Dan Gilbert to do any type of investigative journalism, MFI-Miami’s staff spent a day at the Wayne County Register of Deeds looking through mortgage filings in the city of Detroit that listed Quicken Loans as the holder of the mortgage from 2003 to September of 2008.

What we found will be surprisingly shocking to people in Detroit who think Dan Gilbert is a the second coming of Jesus.

Of the 75 homes sampled that had Quicken Loans named as the original mortgagee sampled, 70.6% of these home went into foreclosure within the first 24-36 months of being sold on the secondary housing market by Quicken Loans to either Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or to a private mortgage backed securities trust on Wall Street.

Former Mayor Dennis Archer and Dan Gilbert met with to representatives of Pres. Barack Obama  Aug. 29. 2013 to map out Detroit's future, during the city's disastrous bankruptcy filing. See link to VOD story at bottom.

Former Mayor Dennis Archer and Dan Gilbert met with to representatives of Pres. Barack Obama Aug. 29. 2013 to map out Detroit’s future, during the city’s disastrous bankruptcy filing. See link to VOD story below.


Thanks to Keith Hines for contributing the following 2009 news on Gilbert:

Keith Hines speaks at Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association meeting Jan. 8, 2015.

Keith Hines speaks at Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association meeting Jan. 8, 2015.

Thanks to Roldo, and the Internet, the people of Northeast Ohio are finally starting to see a clearer picture of Dan Gilbert, the man betting $10s millions that more than 50% of Ohioans will risk the state’s social and economic future and $ billions on him and casinos. Roldo first awoke real NEO to the “TRUTH ABOUT DAN GILBERT’S GAMBLING CHARGES“, on October 19, and today Roldo brings forward first hand testimony that “STATE COP’S ARREST STORY DIFFERS FROM GILBERT’S VERSION“, opening “A former Michigan state trooper tells a different story of Dan Gilbert’s arrest on operation of gambling business than the Cavs owner has been peddling to the news media.” See video above for Officer Fielder’s video statement.

Several hours after Roldo broke this development on the free Internet, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on “Retired Michigan police officer says Dan Gilbert’s 1981 gambling operation was much bigger than Gilbert admits“, which opens “John Fielder, a retired Michigan police detective, alleged that Dan Gilbert ran an illegal bookmaking operation in 1981 that was far more serious than the Cleveland Cavaliers owner has admitted. Gilbert was convicted of conspiring to violate the state’s gambling laws and served three years probation.

The PD goes on to report:

Fielder, on Friday, said Gilbert lied during an Oct. 19 Cleveland City Club debate on Issue 3 when the Cavs owner downplayed the arrest as a sweep of dorm rooms by police who caught him and others exchanging football trading cards. Gilbert said in the debate that no money had changed hands. He made a similar statement this week in Columbus while on a cross-state tour rallying for Issue 3.

“When I learned Mr. Gilbert’s characterization of what happened back in 1981, I agreed to tell the people of Ohio what really happened,” said Fielder, 74, who retired in 1989 after a 25-year career in law enforcement.

The segment of the City Club debate where Dan Gilbert is asked about his arrest for gambling-related crimes, and he makes statements Fielder challenges, is found between minutes 6:00 and 7:20 of the embedded City Club video below:

What is most disturbing is that the audience at the City Club applauds Gilbert for being arrested in college for gambling-related activities… they laugh and seem to think this is cool. Even the mayor of Youngstown, who is supposed to be debating against Gilbert, high-fives Gilbert for getting busted in college for this.

Wonder who will be getting some VIP passes to Gilbert’s casino… tickets in the owners box at the Q…!?!?

This inappropriate “community behavior” makes me think of Eternity’s sadly parallel posting on REALNEO, today, “Savagery in America and the spectacle of a teenager’s rape as public exhibition“, which opens “In America — in my country — I fear we are losing the battle for our humanity. Some say we have already lost it. Deep down I think they may be right“.

And, I see in my mind the painting that best captures this odd City Club scene, and so much about our leadership in NEO: “Woman Walks into Bar – Is Raped by Four Men on the Pool Table – While 20 Watch“, by Sue Coe, painted two years after Gilbert’s arrest.

Woman Walks into Bar is Raped by Four Men painting

I am so saddened to see our community presented this way, on the internet, at the esteemed City Club, with 100+ of our region’s leaders laughing together with Gilbert about him being arrested in college for gambling.

Gilbert laughs outloud – rapists are worse!

Hopefully, Gilbert won’t laugh his way to the bank with our money, as well.

Reported in the PD: “Mr. Gilbert was part of a serious organized bookmaking ring that threatened some of its victims with violence,” said retired detective lieutenant John Fielder, who led the organized crime unit for the Michigan Department of State Police when Gilbert was arrested.

Need you know more about the self-appointed Casino Czar and sole beneficiary of Issue 3?

Other related stories:

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(VOD: thanks to Roberto Guzman for alerting us to this live, unedited version of Worthy’s press conference, which includes questions from reporters Diane Bukowski and Cornell Squires, as well as others on the case of Davontae Sanford. Move your cursor to about 9:13 minutes as the first portion contains a lot of the time reporters waited for Kym Worthy to enter to speak.)

Drug possession charge vs. beating victim Floyd Dent dropped

Prosecutor Worthy: “We cannot turn our heads when law enforcement becomes the lawbreaker.”

No charges of filing a false report or perjury, none against other 8 cops involved in beating

Father Ellis: “Matters of justice in Inkster are bigger than just one person”

By Diane Bukowski

 April 21, 2015

Instead of taking him to the hospital after near-fatal beating, "Robocop" William Melendez and others took him to this cell, where he was booked while crying out for medical attention.

Instead of taking Floyd Dent  to the hospital after near-fatal beating, “Robocop” William Melendez and others took him to this cell, where he was booked while crying out for medical attention. He also begged to go to the hospital at the scene of the beating, but was denied.

DETROIT – Everyone is not satisfied that charges brought in the case of  the near fatal beating of Detroit autoworker Floyd Dent by William “Robocop” Melendez, assisted by four other Inkster cops and four state troopers, will bring justice. The case has become notorious across the U.S. after police dashcam videotapes of the bloody beating were aired.

Four mass protests followed in Inkster and Highland Park, where Melendez also worked as a part-time narcotics detective. He has since been fired from both forces.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced during a press conference April 20 that Melendez had been charged with two felonies: one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, which carries up to 10 years in prison, and one count of misconduct in office through mistreatment of a prisoner, which carries up to five years.

“To many people in this region and across the country, police brutality appears to be out of control,” Worthy said during a press conference April 20.  “We cannot turn our heads when law enforcement becomes the lawbreaker.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announces charges against Williams at press conference April 20, 2015.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announces charges against Williams at press conference April 20, 2015. Photo: Diane Bukowski

Melendez was arraigned on the charges today at 2 p.m. in 22nd District Court in Inkster. A “not guilty” plea was entered, and his bond was set at $20,000.

Approvingly, one local newspaper headlined an editorial, “Kym Worthy Lays Down the Law.”

"Robocop" William Melendez

“Robocop” William Melendez

Worthy also announced that cocaine possession charges against Dent would be dropped in court April 22. She did not address the missing 16 minutes of a videotape of Dent’s treatment during his booking at the police station, which was to have been produced at that hearing in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner.

Dent and his attorney Gerald Rohl said that tape shows additional “terror” and “humiliation” perpetrated by Melendez and other officers.

Channel 4 aired the other five minutes, which shows Melendez and others bringing a bloodied Dent into a jail cell, wiping blood from his head and in terrible pain. Despite begging repeatedly to go to the hospital, he was denied medical attention. He had four fractured ribs, a fractured orbital bone, and bleeding on the brain. (See Channel Four report below.)

Melendez and the others took their time photographing and fingerprinting Dent before someone finally said they should call EMS.

Father Ellis Clifton (l)protests with Floyd Dent and grandson at head of march April 2, 2015.

Father Ellis Clifton (l)protests with Floyd Dent and grandson at head of march April 2, 2015.

Before Melendez’ arraignment, Father Ellis Clifton of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Inkster told VOD, “We want the officer’s immediate surrender and that he either be remanded [without bond] or have a bail set so high that anyone in his family who’s interested, that he wouldn’t violate it. This is because of his history—falsifiying police reports, witness tampering, and witness intimidation. There are rumors circulating in the community that people who stood up to protest Dent’s beating could end up disappearing.”

Melendez faced numerous such charges during the 2004 federal trial of a ring of cops he led, which had terrorized Detroit’s southwest side. One charge was that he told a witness that he would be killed if he testified.

William Melendez leaving federal court hearing in 2004 on ring of cops which terrorized southwest Detroit. Photo: Diane Bukowski

William Melendez leaving federal court hearing in 2004 on ring of cops which terrorized southwest Detroit. Photo: Diane Bukowski

Federal prosecutors called the jury’s “not guilty” verdict a “nullification verdict,” noting that more than a dozen Black Detroit officers had testified against the Ramparts-style gang in addition to its Black victims.

Worthy asserted during her press conference that the vast majority of police officers do their jobs well, and that she has “complete trust” in the Michigan State Police, who aided in the investigation of the Dent case, despite the presence of four state troopers at the scene, who Melendez testified actually participated in the events.

She said she was aware of the 2004 federal trial of Melendez and other cops and knew Inkster police chief Vicki Yost from her tenure with the Detroit police department, but would make no comment about the state of Inkster’s 80 percent white department. Yost was the partner of three-time killer cop Eugene Brown when he shot Lamar Grable, 20, to death in 1996. Yost continues to insist that her department has not finished investigating the Dent beating.

“It’s a great day for the legal system [but] I would like to see others … held accountable for their actions,” Dent’s attorney Gregory Rohl said in published remarks. “Others stood by and did nothing or were complacent in trying to (frame Dent).”

Protest against Dent beating April 3, 2015. Melendez bragged on the witness stand that he had been a narcotics cop for 24 years, including time spent with DPD as a "crew chief member of a 12-man Special Operation Narcotics Enforcement Unit."

Protest against Dent beating April 3, 2015. Melendez bragged on the witness stand that he had been a narcotics cop for 24 years, including time spent with DPD as a “crew chief member of a 12-man Special Operation Narcotics Enforcement Unit.”

He said Dent was “elated,” it appears mostly at the fact that all charges against him had been dropped. He told Channel Four that he had not been able to sleep for 90 days.

Father Clifton said, “While I am very happy that Floyd Dent has been cleared of any wrongdoing and that Officer Melendez has been charged, I am distressed that the people who tased and kicked Mr. Dent and humiliated him at the jail are not at least being disciplined or prosecuted.”

Worthy brought no charges against Melendez’ partner, reserve cop John Zeileniewski, who dragged an unresisting Dent out of his car to the ground and held him by the legs, as Melendez put him in a chokehold and slugged him in the head 16 times with some sort of hard object in his glove, or another officer who tased Dent three times during the beating. She brought no charges against the other five officers present, including the troopers, for either taking part or failing to report the incident.

She told reporters no charges of filing a false police report or perjury would be brought against Melendez.

Earlier that day, Detroit’s Channel 7 aired an interview with Melendez in which he boastfully repeated his statement that Dent threatened to kill the officers, which Dent has vigorously denied. The video above shows Melendez at his arraignment and comments from his attorney David Lee, who also represented him in the 2004 federal trial.

The officers present wore no mics. Melendez also testified during the preliminary exam that Dent bit him twice, although his report indicated “no injuries” to any of the police involved in the arrest. Rohl released a dashcam video which appears to show Melendez taking a baggie of drugs out of his pocket to plant in Dent’s car.

Invistigative reporter Kevin Dietz of Channel Four's  "Defenders."

Investigative reporter Kevin Dietz of Channel Four’s “Defenders.” He broke the Floyd Dent story and has followed it assiduously since.

Worthy said that she was not aware of the beating until March 23, when it was aired by Channel 4, with Kevin Dietz reporting.  She said her office’s investigation into the case is now closed, “in the best interests of justice,” despite the missing 16 minutes of videotape.

In an amended statement she said today that her office issued a warrant for Dent on all charges Jan. 30, but did not see the video until March 17, the day before Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Ragan Lake handled Dent’s preliminary exam in the 22nd District Court of Michigan.  Twenty-Second District Court Judge Sabrina Johnson viewed the videotape and dropped all but the cocaine possession charge against Dent. (To read complete transcript of preliminary exam, click on Floyd DentPreliminary Transcript.)

Inkster youth join April 2 march against beating of Floyd Dent.

Inkster youth join April 2 march against beating of Floyd Dent.

“As Mr. Dent’s case is being resolved, we need to remember that matters of justice in Inkster are bigger than just one person,” said Father Clifton. “St. Clement’s Church and the National Action Network have been very deliberate in the words we use—healing and transformation of our community. We are hopeful that all unjust structures will either topple or be changed, from local government to city services to charitable services to our police. The case with Mr. Dent should be something to energize us for a long time.”

Marchers supporting Floyd Dent also carried a sign calling for justice for Aiyana Jones.

Marchers supporting Floyd Dent also carried a sign calling for justice for Aiyana Jones.

He said Dent’s cases is not isolated, that there have been many cases of police brutality in Inkster, “often unreported and talked about only in casual conversation. Too many citizens of Inkster have lost hope. The fact that this happened in January but did not reach public attention until March gives credence to the belief of Inkster citizens that nothing substantial will come from them reporting instances of injustice.”

One man whose son had been framed by Melendez in an earlier case said of Worthy,

“She has left a trail of blood. People have been killed, put in jail, and their lives destroyed. Worthy opened the door for Melendez to walk free at trial. Look how they did [Detroit officer Joseph] Weekley and Aiyana Jones’ family. They framed her father and he will never see the light of day. They threw the case against Weekley. Prosecutors throw cases all the time. History speaks for itself.”

Joseph Weekley is now back patrolling Detroit streets, as are all the other officers involved in the horrific raid on the home of Aiyana Jones, 7, and her killing with an MP5 shotgun blast to the head. VOD reported earlier that an inside source said many in the prosecutor’s office were not happy with the way the Weekley and Charles Jones trials were handled, both prosecuted by Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran.

Davontae Sanford's mother Taminko Sanford with his family members at press conference April 15, 2015.

Davontae Sanford’s mother Taminko Sanford-Tilmon with his family members at press conference April 15, 2015.

Neither man was charged until after a lengthy Michigan State Police investigation, which ended up being focused primarily on Jones. An interrogation video of Chauncey Owens, who pled guilty to the killing of Je’Rean Blake, shown at the Owens-Jones trial, revealed that he named another man, not Jones, as the one who gave him the gun.

During her press conference, Prosecutor Worthy also said regarding the filing of a motion for a new trial for Davontae Sanford last week, by innocence clinics in Ann Arbor and Chicago, “It doesn’t make them right. None of you know all the facts. We will file a brief in response, and the case will be heard in court. It is not in the best interest of justice to drop the charges.”

Attorneys produced a 24-page detailed confession from admitted hitman Vincent Smothers, attached to their motion, to the murders for which Sanford, 14 when arrested, is serving 37-100 years.

Worthy also refused to file charges against the Highland Park and Grosse Pointe officers involved in the videotaped beating of Andrew Jackson, now charged with carjacking.

As indicated in the last VOD story linked below:

“The Detroit Free Press earlier reported that Highland Park Officer Ronald Dupuis had a long history of assaults in various suburban departments, including tasering a female partner, beating a disabled man, refusing to allow a woman in a jail cell access to a bathroom, forcing her to urinate in the cell, and stalking another woman, repeatedly pulling her over. He was fired from the Hamtramck Police Department for the taser incident, and resigned rather than being fired from the Southgate Police Department for the incidents involving the women.

Dupuis was also sued for beating a man in 2002, with a settlement, and false arrest in 2004. In 2012, he accidentally shot himself in the foot in a police station. (Click on Ronald DuPuis record DV Project for full accounting from a domestic violence project.)”

Related documents:

Press Releases from Prosecutor’s Office:



Related stories:

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raw_story_logoJin Zhao
19 Apr 2015 at 13:57 ET                   

Freddie Gray, spine severed by police, dies.

Freddie Gray, spine severed by police, dies.

Freddie Gray had to undergo a double surgery on three broken vertebrae and an injured voice box on Tuesday, after he was released by the police. He died today after days of remaining in a coma.

The 27-year old was arrested last week for an undisclosed violation. The police said that he was restrained on the ground by an officer during the arrest, but appeared to be fine when he was taken to the district station. However, a cell phone video shows that the arresting officers used force that some may see as “brutal.”

Protests have broken out in his neighborhood since Gray was sent to the hospital.

“What happened to Freddie was unnecessary and uncalled for,” the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant of the Empowerment Temple said to protestors on Saturday. “All of those police officers involved need to be held accountable and answer for what they did, and need to be terminated from their positions,” he urged.

The case is pending a review by a “blue-ribbon” panel commissioned by the police.

Few details about police encounter that led to man’s death


April 20, 2015

Protest in Baltimore against police beating, death of Freddie Gray.

Protest in Baltimore against police beating, death of Freddie Gray.

BALTIMORE — Relatives, activists and even Baltimore city officials have more questions than answers about what happened to Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died one week after he was rushed to the hospital with spinal injuries following an encounter with four Baltimore police officers.

Gray, who died Sunday morning at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, was stopped by Baltimore Police Department officers on bike patrol April 12. Police have said Gray was running away from the officers when he was arrested and placed in a transport van. Police say roughly 30 minutes later, Gray was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Freddie Gray's arrest by white Baltimore cops April 12, 2015 after beating that severed 80 percent of his spine.

Freddie Gray’s arrest by white Baltimore cops April 12, 2015 after beating that severed 80 percent of his spine.

Billy Murphy, an attorney for Gray’s family, said Sunday that 80 percent of the man’s spinal cord had been severed near his neck.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and top police officials promised accountability and transparency Sunday at a news conference at City Hall.

“How was Mr. Gray injured? Were the proper protocols and procedures actually followed? What are the next steps to take from here?” Rawlings-Blake said.

She promised a thorough investigation and “real answers” for the community.

“I will ensure we will hold the right people accountable,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Gray’s family has declined, so far, to interact with police, said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. He said the department would try again this week to share information with them.

Protest after Freddie Gray

Protest after Freddie Gray’s beating and death; note sweatshirt “Assata Taught Me.” U.S. officials have claimed they are making headway in the extradition of Assata Shakur from Cuba; Cuban officials have not confirmed that.

“A mother has lost her son,” Batts said. “Freddie Gray passed. My greatest hope and wish and desire is that any time we have an interaction as a police department or a contact, that everyone goes home safe.”

Batts said he is assembling a “hybrid task force” that will include homicide investigators and the force investigation team.

Officers and other witnesses have been interviewed, according to Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez. However, not everyone has been interviewed, Rodriguez noted, saying the officers who are subjects of the criminal investigation have a right not to potentially incriminate themselves.

But Murphy said he has interviewed 11 witnesses as part of an investigation on behalf of the Gray family, and has asked the department for video footage, which it has declined to release to the public. Murphy said he disputes the department’s timeline of events, and believes Gray was in police custody for longer than they say.

“We are tired of the words. We want to see action,” Murphy said Sunday. “We want to see fair compensation for victims of police brutality, we want to see a fair response and an impartial investigation not cops investigating themselves.

“We have no confidence that the city or the police department is going to fairly and objectively investigate this case,” Murphy added. “We have no confidence the investigation will reveal the truth.”


SCLC leader Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon speaks during earlier protest against police brutality.

SCLC leader Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon speaks during earlier protest against police brutality.

Meanwhile, Baltimore’s activist community on Sunday called for increased transparency and accountability of the city’s police department, which last year volunteered for a Justice Department review of its policies and procedures.

Outside of the Western District station house, where Gray was brought after his arrest and before officers called for medical assistance, Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Baltimore a “police state” where criminalization of African American men is a pervasive problem. Witherspoon called for action, and an independent investigation into Gray’s death.

“They want the citizenry to be patient. They want the citizenry to let the investigation play out,” Witherspoon said. “We can’t do that. There has never been honest and genuine conversation with the police department and the people on the ground. We want an independent investigation. We want the officers fired, we want them stripped of their pension and we want them charged.”

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Squires march 4th pct

Cornell Squires (r) and supporters of his son and young cousins who had been framed up by “Robocop” William Melendez march on Detroit’s old 4th Precinct in 2000. This was 3 years before the feds charged Melendez and 17 other cops with running a Ramparts-style ring that terrorized the southwest side. Squires’ son was falsely accused of attempted carjacking; his young cousins’ home was invaded by Detroit police who planted drugs there. Squires’ son was tried before Judge Kym Worthy, who refused to acknowledge evidence that Melendez had already been charged with filing false reports. He served time in prison on the false charge. Atty. George Washington got the case against Squires’ cousins dismissed by an Appeals Court. Squires himself was previously assaulted by Detroit cop Robert Feld, as his son and father watched. His father had a heart attack which later proved fatal. Feld and Melendez worked together in the 4th Precinct at the time; Squires says his son’s frame-up was retaliation for his filing a report on Feld’s assault on him.

 “Stop police brutality and save American communities from “Rogue Cops” and “Robo Cops.”

“Our new generation is faced with being murdered in American streets in the same racist attacks done to the ancestors . . . .mostly killing Brown and Black men.”

By Cornell Squires

April 18, 2015

Some of the others who marched on the 4th precinct in 2000.

Some of the others who marched on the 4th precinct in 2000.

Detroit — It’s time for younger and older men alike to stand against corruption, police brutality. and all injustice in our communities. Americans must stand up for the truth and our personal freedom! All human beings have a constitutional right for equality and God given rights no man can take away! “God is the true lawgiver.”

The world is watching the United States of America. They see these young men of color are being assaulted, killed and incarcerated unjustly due to rogue cops lying and committing crimes because they feel privilege and are not being charged with these crimes! America has a double standard in our legal system and we must demand a new legal system  immediately!

This is also an unfair, hateful, malicious, ungodly and disrespectful system to our city’s residential homeowners and the taxpayers in our communities. Citizens’ human rights are being violated by rogue officers and homeowners are paying for these crimes they commit with increased of tax bills.

W illiam Melendez in 2004 during federal trial of cop terror ring. Photo: Diane Bukowski

W illiam Melendez in 2004 during federal trial of cop terror ring. Photo: Diane Bukowski

Robert Feld as he looks today, from son's Facebook page. Son is also a cop, both have been sued for brutality numerous times.

Robert Feld today, Facebook.  Forced to retire when video of him beating Mexican man surfaced.

Rogue cops have no thoughts for human life. These officers are taking advantage of  the taxpayers, citizenry who contributed hard earned money to pay taxes  for good services. But Detroit’s local government can’t provide better services because of tax dollars being squandered, payid out for unnecessary illegal fees, continued lawsuits against repeat offenders know, as rogue cops.

Detroit’s record speaks for itself. The rogue officers refusing to adhere to the same law citizen must follow, but then officials don’t enforce the law when rogue officers break it.  All our residents must rise up!

Detroit’s rogue cops cost taxpayers more money while the “good” officers are demanding higher salarIes, but will not speak out against the bad officers! Actually taxpayers are the real bosses for the police officers. The people actually paying taxes are the keepers of this city. Each time a rogue cop deliberately assaults a residents he/she is threatening the city payroll and possibly a pay cut in the near future to fellow employees especially after City just got out of bankruptcy! Police officers’ families may suffer more financial losses like the city has taken from the general city retirees’  pensions.

Cornell Squires speaks at protest against Wayne Co. tax foreclosures April 31, 2015.

Cornell Squires speaks at protest against Wayne Co. tax foreclosures April 31, 2015.

But rogue cops’ acts of brutality are hurting everyone in the cities and harming American families across this country. Residents pay higher taxes and water bills to compensate for the losses. The city of Detroit residents paid well over $100 million dollars in the past 25 years because of police misconduct.

This happens because leadership is unjust and doesn’t uphold law equally. The past and current Wayne County Prosecutors should be held accountable and responsible for rogue cops’ conduct and action over the past 25 years because they refused to bring charges against those officers!

Many rogue cops are repeat offenders, just like “Robocop” William Melendez who assaulted Floyd Dent, which was captured on police dash cam in January 2015. Floyd’ Dent was assaulted by police and then they planted drugs in his car.

Robocop, then an Inskter police officer,  once worked for city of Detroit police department and cost city tapayers a millions of dollars in civil lawsuits for wrongful death, assaulting city residents and framing numerous citizens, as he did with my son. He has only ever been  charged for filing a false police report, which he also did in my son’s case.

Squires at protest on anniversary of Detroit police killing of Aiyana Jones, 7, in 2010.

Squires at protest of Detroit police killing of Aiyana Jones, 7, in 2010.

Aiyana's killer Joseph Weekley on ad for "Detroit SWAT" TV show.

Aiyana’s killer Joseph Weekley on ad for “Detroit SWAT” TV show. He is now back on force.

Detroit paid out the highest lawsuit awards for wrongful death caused by police misconduct in the 1990’s per capita.

U.S. lawmakers should pass a law to stop police brutality and save American communties from “Rogue Cops” and “Robo Cops.”

Many times rogue officers transfer to another police department after being reprimanded of fired for committing crime(s), and get hired there. Normally prosecutors will not charges police officers with perjury or assult charges like average citizens are charged.

The injust killings of Black citizens continues today just like it was 50 years ago. Only a few cops have ever been brought to justice for assulting or killing U.S citizens, but received minor reprimands or little punishmen.

Looking at the historical prospective in America our ancestors were unjustly killed by police officers and no police officers were ever criminally charged for murdering our ancestors. Now our new generation is faced with being murdered in American streets in same racist attacks done to the ancestors and communities, mostly killing Brown and Black men.

North Charleston, SC cop Michael Slager (r) killed Walter, unarmed, 50, and a Coast Guard retiree as he ran from being tasered.

North Charleston, SC cop Michael Slager (r) killed Walter, unarmed, 50, and a Coast Guard retiree, father of four,  as he ran from being tasered.

Many people have seen the video on the news about the S.C. man running from the scene and the police officer shot him in the back numerous times, killing him. But what crime was committed ? Did the man commit a felony ? I thought police officers could only persue a fleeing felon.

Did his crime constitute or warrant the police officer shooting a human being in his back? Why are so many Black men are being killed by police officers in the United States today? Why?

But the U.S Federal or State prosecutor’s are not charging police officers with any crime! Should the prosecutors’ offices in America be held LIABLE? These young men killed are human beings and were created in God’s image likeness. Where is humanity? God loves them the same way he loves police officers, but God hates evil.

Youths in Ferguson after Michael Brown murder: "Stop Killing Us!"

Youths in Ferguson after Michael Brown murder: “Stop Killing Us!”

Where’s America truthful churches? Is there a such thing as a true church, who always say that God is good all the time, while our brothers and sisters need our help! The killing of Black men must STOP because it is wrong and sinful! Where is America’s leadership? Now so many candidates are running to for president of the U.S. What’s their precise plan to stop police brutality?

Before you vote the next presidential election remember “Black Lives Matter” Where are the righteousness peoples on the earth? The faith community? The church peoples says, One Lord One faith One Bapstim for ALL Us Ephesian 4:6 But faith-based communities are to quiet today? Everyone that God fearing in America should step up to plate, and denounce this Gross Injustices in United States of America speak out about Rogue Police Officers. Come out from among them” unity together for righteousness sake, peace, love, harmony for the lost H tribes of young Americans! God, our  children need our support ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Recent Chicago protest over police killings of unarmed Black, Latino, and poor people. Chicago police were cited by the UN as one of the most brutal forces. They also attacked this protest.


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Innocence Clinics move for new trial for Sanford, 14 at arrest for four murders on Runyon Street

“Professional hit man Vincent Smothers committed the crime for which Davontae Sanford is doing the time.” Atty. Megan Crane

“We want justice not just for Davontae but for the other families.”—Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, Davontae’s mother

“Davontae Sanford is being wrongly incarcerated for crimes that I know he did not commit.” — Vincent Smothers, who has confessed in detail to Runyon St. murders

Davontae Sanford, now 22, in prison, serving time for crimes he did not commit. He was 14 when arrested. Facebook photo

“They say ev’rything can be replaced
Yet ev’ry distance is not near
So I remember ev’ry face
Of ev’ry man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released.” – Bob Dylan

By Diane Bukowski

April 18, 2015

DETROIT – Davontae Sanford, who has spent eight long years in a Michigan Level 5 maximum security prison, locked down 23 hours a day, for four 2007 murders which drug ring hitman Vincent Smothers has confessed committing to police and prosecutors numerous times, may finally see his “light come shining.”

Davontae Sanford at 14, when he was arrested.

The case of a 14-year-old child, blind in one eye and developmentally disabled, being arrested, charged, and sent to adult prison in 2008 under these circumstances has gained international attention.

“The real reason we’re here is because the Detroit criminal justice system can’t handle the truth,” attorney Megan Crane, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University School of Law, said at a press conference April 15. “For far too long the truth in this case has been hidden and suppressed. The truth is that professional hit man Vincent Smothers committed the crime for which Davontae Sanford is doing the time.”

Crane and David Moran of the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic, flanked by other attorneys and law students, announced that they had just filed a “motion for relief from judgment” asking for a new trial for Sanford.

Attorneys Megan Crane and David Moran join

Attorneys Megan Crane and David Moran join Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, Davontae’s sisters  and little nephew, and (behind sisters) father Jermaine Tilmon at press conference at Frank Murphy Hall April 15, 2015. Also in photo behind Moran are Khalil Fareed, and Detroit Pastor W.J. Rideout III.

Sanford’s mother Taminko Sanford-Tilmon said, “As a family we are just excited that we have finally made it. We know it’s going to be some bumps that we’re going to hit, but we’re going to get up and wipe up our knees off. We’re grateful right now. Yes it is a long road, we do miss him, yes I do get weak, but I can’t give up. We’re here for him, because if we give up he gives up. We’re not going to allow him as a family to give up. We’re going to continue to do rallies, pray whatever we have to do until he comes home.”

She said her son’s spirits have been lifted by the new developments, with numerous attorneys interviewing him in the case and constant attention to obtaining a new trial. On Davontae’s Facebook page, she added,

Ionia prison group.

Ionia prison group.

Just Got off the Phone with My Baby Davontae Sanford and he’s overwhelmed with Joy, and want to Personally thank everyone for their Support,Prayers n Jpays n Letters n Monetary Gifts he’s receiving. He want every one to know he can receive Jpay but cant send Jpay Bk. He’s asking everyone to keep him lifted in prayer because this will be a long journey,and Continue to Write Him,Pray for Him,Fight for Him,Support Him N Dont Forgot About Him,And He Love U All n Thanks Again, He don’t take it lightly or for granted that ur apart of that journey with him, N God Bless U All

Sanford is in the Ionia Maximum Security Correctional Facility, classified at the highest threat live, 5. In the past, he has been subjected to ongoing severe harassment by Ionia guards and staff, VOD reported earlier. He can receive letters at

Davontae Sanford, #684070,  Ionia Correctional Facility, 1576 W. Bluewater Highway Ionia, MI 48846

JPay, a way to communicate with prisoners by email and send photos as well as money, can be accessed at

Davontae Sanford

Davontae Sanford’s family and supporters after Appeals Court decision in his favor in 2013. Detroit News reporter Oralandar Brand-Williams is taking photo at left; kneeling in front is Roberto Guzman of Coalition to Free the Wrongly Convicted.

Sanford-Tilmon stood with her husband, Davontae’s long-time stepfather Jermaine Tilmon, Davontae’s sisters and little brother, mentor Sylvester Long, Roberto Guzman of the Coalition to Free the Wrongly Convicted, and others who have worked for Davontae’s freedom since his conviction.

Taminko Sanford speaks at rally for her son outside Frank Murphy June 29, 2010.

Taminko Sanford speaks at rally for her son outside Frank Murphy June 29, 2010.

Sanford-Tilmon has coordinated numerous rallies in front of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice and the Court of Appeals. She has been interviewed by international as well as local media. Bill Proctor, formerly of Channel 7, who runs his own innocence clinic, and  Darcy Delaproser of Ireland, who works on behalf of adolescents, are chief supporters.

Davontae’s family and supporters have attended dozens of trial hearings at all levels up to the Court of Appeals.  They remain wary, because they thought they were on the verge of victory after an appeals court ruled earlier that Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Williams had “abused his discretion” and remanded the case back to him. Prosecutor Worthy, however, appealed that decision to the Michigan Supreme Court and it was overturned.

Vincent Smothers at Michigan Reformatory. Photo/New Yorker.

A 24-page detailed confession from Smothers, who has previously signed multiple affidavits confessing to the murders, as well as admitting his and his accomplice Ernest Davis’ sole involvement in interviews with media including The New Yorker and the AP,  is attached to the innocence clinics’ motion.

“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that Davontae Sanford was not involved in the September 17, 2007 murders at Runyon Street in any way,” Smothers says in the current affidavit, dated March 6, 2015. It  gives complete, accurate details of the crime, Sanford’s lawyers said.

“Before my arrest by the Detroit Police Department in April of 2008, I had never met, spoken with, or even heard of Davontae Sanford or anyone connected to him. Davontae Sanford is being wrongly incarcerated for crimes that I know he did not commit,” Smothers writes.

Sylvester Long, author of "State Prison," who has himself served time, is a family friend. He said he will mentor Davontae when he comes home to help him adjust.

Sylvester Long, author of “State Prison,” who has himself served time, is a family friend. He will mentor Davontae when he comes home to help him adjust.

Smothers told an AP reporter in a 2012 jailhouse interview, “I understand what prison life is like; it’s miserable. To be here and be innocent – I don’t know what it’s like. He’s a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they’re giving him.”

In contrast, said the innocence clinic attorneys, Sanford’s confession was riddled with errors, including naming several friends as accomplices, who were never charged, naming weapons there were not used in the killings, and giving differing, conflicting versions of the crime. The New Yorker published a video of his “confession” in which he is clearly being led on by the detective, at The New Yorker also ran an article describing Smothers’ life at

Sanford, in his pajamas, just happened on the scene of the crime near his home, attracted by police lights and sirens. He told police at the scene that his uncle was a Detroit cop. He was later taken in and interrogated without the presence of his mother or an attorney, but still denied any involvement.

Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan

Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan, shown with Tracy Sullivan, repeatedly refused to allow testimony from Smothers or his attorneys during appeal of the case.

His new attorneys said Sanford did not plead guilty to the murders until the middle of a bench trial before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan, on March 18, 2008, after it became apparent that his defense attorney, Robert Slameka, had done absolutely nothing to defend him.

Slameka never filed a motion to throw out a  confession that was clearly elicited under duress, and promises that he would be allowed to go home, from an extremely vulnerable child. He did not even cross-examine the officer who took the confession. He later claimed, “The kid wouldn’t cooperate.”

But Moran said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has not yet withdrawn the charges in Davontae’s case, and has refused to discuss the matter with them.

“What about the other people that lost someone?” Sanford-Tilmon asked. “They don’t have justice either. We’re not the only ones hurting; they’re also hurting because the right person that did the crimes is not in jail for those crimes. We’re not only out here for my son Davontae to get justice, we’re out here so that the other families get justice too.”

Runyon street house where murders occurred.

Runyon street house where murders occurred.

On the night of Sept. 17, 2007, four people watching a football game in a home at 19741 Runyon St. on Detroit’s east side lost their lives: Michael Robinson, Sr. 33, D’Angelo McNoriell (early 20s), Brian Dixon (early 20s), and Nicole Chapman, 25. Valerie Glover, 30, was critically wounded but survived as she hid under the bed of Michael Robinson, Jr. 7, who remained physically unharmed.

The senior Robinson, who was known to sell only marijuana from his house, was the actual target; the others were visitors.

Smothers first confessed to the Runyon Street murders on April 19, 2008, as part of his confession to a total of 12 murders, including that of Rose Cobb, wife of Detroit police officer David Cobb. Smothers said he was hired to commit the Runyon Street murders by Leroy Payne, who operated a drug ring along with his boss Delano Taylor, now deceased.

Aiyana Jones' grandmother (Mertilla Jones) listens as Taminko Sanford speaks during rally for their children April 23, 2012. Davontae's signs were made by Jones family member.

Aiyana Jones’ grandmother Mertilla Jones (center)  listens as Taminko Sanford speaks during rally for their children April 23, 2012. Davontae’s signs were made by Jones family member.

Smothers says he discovered during his confessions that another man had just been convicted of the Runyon Street murders.

Fifteen days previously, on April 4, 2008, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan sentenced Sanford to four concurrent terms of 37 to 90 years, with two years on a gun charge, according to the motion filed by the innocence clinic lawyers April 15. Sanford was then 15.

“I . . . talked with Sgt. Michael Russell in detail about how I committed the Runyon murders when he took me to the bathroom during one of my interrogations,” Smothers says. “He told me that they had already caught the guy responsible for the murders. I told him they must have the wrong guy then because I had committed the murders, and I knew that Nemo [Ernest Davis], my accomplice, had not been arrested. I also told Sgt. Russell several details about the murder[s] including the neighbor who had shot at me.”

He says no Detroit police officer ever followed up with questions about Runyon Street, although Sgt. Gerald Williams told the court during a preliminary examination in front of Judge Craig Strong that Smothers had confessed to the Runyon Street murders.

“An initial plea offer, made sometime before trial was scheduled to begin, was a 50-to-100 year sentence if I agreed not to testify in Davontae Sanford’s legal proceedings about my confession to the Runyon Street murders,” Smothers says. “I declined this offer because is seemed ludicrous to me that the state would actually go this far to make sure Davontae Sanford remained in prison for crimes I committed and confessed to.”

Detroit Police investigator Ira Todd, who Smothers confessed Runyon Street killings to.

Detroit Police investigator Ira Todd, who Smothers confessed Runyon Street killings to.

Smothers says he “repeatedly and consistently confessed to the Runyon Street murders for seven years,” to Ira Todd of the Detroit Police Department, Kentucky detectives who were tracking James Davis, the brother of his accomplice Ernest Davis, Michigan State police detectives, his attorney Gabi Silver and defense investigator Linda Borus, in addition to the officers present April 19, 2008.

He says he at first did not agree to take the stand himself because he feared for the safety of his wife and children if he was portrayed as a “snitch.”

But, he goes on, “I am now willing to testify in court that I committed the Runyon murders with Nemo . . . I am frustrated that repeatedly telling the truth about these crimes for nearly seven years, Davontae Sanford is still wrongfully incarcerated for crimes he did not commit.”

He says it is absurd that he would involve a “kid” in his hits.

“I planned them very carefully and in great detail because I knew that a loose cannon or inexperienced person could be the difference between life and death.”

Poster compiled by the NWU and UM innocence clinics.

Poster compiled by the NWU and UM innocence clinics.

The motion and affidavit show that they are filed in the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon. It is Case. No. 07-015-018-01-FC. Judge Sullivan earlier denied Sanford’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea as filed by the State Appellate Defenders’ Office. Moran said, however, that an appellate decision on the case indicated it should have been filed as a Motion for Relief from Judgment, which the law clinics have done.

Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy listens to her assistant prosecutors, including David Moran, at right, who assisted in the Sanford prosecution.

Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy listens to her assistant prosecutors, including David Moran, at right, who assisted in the Sanford prosecution.

He said they now await the setting of a date for the hearing.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement on behalf of Prosecutor Kym Worthy: “We are aware that a new brief will be filed in the case. At the appropriate time, we will file a response and argue our legal position in court.” However, such proceedings can further prolong Davontae’s unjust imprisonment. All Worthy has to do is withdraw the charges.

The day after the press conference, even the Detroit News’ notoriously conservative editor Nolan Finley said it is time for Davontae to go home. See

Read Smothers affidavit by clicking on Smothers aff 3 6 13.compressed;

Read motion at DSVS motion pt1.compressed and DSVS motion pt2.compressed.

Also sign petition to eliminate criminal immunity for prosecutors:

Gary Webb article(VOD is working to track the connections of dealers Leroy Payne and Delano Taylor to higher level drug traffickers and/or government  or instigators. Reporter Gary Webb clearly laid out the origins of the crack cocaine epidemic in the Nicaraguan Contra-CIA “guns for drugs” dealings of the 1980’s in his book, The Dark Alliance. Since then, a Mexican drug lord being tried by the federal government in Chicago has outlined in detail how the CIA allowed him to traffic crack cocaine in the U.S., and banks have been charged with drug money-laundering. Gary Webb said in his book, Dark Alliance does not propound a conspiracy theory; there is nothing theoretical about history. In this case, it is undeniable that a wildly successful conspiracy to import cocaine existed for many years, and that innumerable American citizens–most of them poor and Black–paid an enormous price as a result. This book was written for them, so that they may know upon what altars their communities were sacrificed.”)

Below is Aaron Neville singing “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan.

Related stories:

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Hundreds march in Inkster April 2 to demand justice for Floyd Dent, an end to "garbage police" like William Melendez, who it turns out, remains as a cop in Highland Park.
Hundreds march in Inkster April 2 to demand justice for Floyd Dent, and an end to “garbage police” like William Melendez, who left the Inkster police today, but remains as a cop in Highland Park.

 Melendez has worked part-time for HP police for some time, may get hired full-time now 

Dent’s atty. demands missing 16 minutes of booking videotape, alleges it shows more “terror” 

Wayne Co. Prosecutor hasn’t decided on charging Melendez; feds now involved

Dent was afraid he would be killed at hospital after booking 

Inkster supporters say they have been demanding that Robocop be fired for a long time

By Diane Bukowski

 April 16, 2015

Robocop Melendez

“Robocop” Melendez still on patrol in Highland Park.

DETROIT— “Robocop” William Melendez, now notorious for the near fatal-beating of Floyd Dent in Inkster, is working at the Highland Park Police Department, and has been there part-time for several years, reliable sources told VOD today. His actual discharge from the Inkster Police Department for nearly killing retired autoworker Dent Jan. 28 took place at 5 p.m. tonight.

The sources said Melendez may be hired full-time in Highland Park now.

VOD left messages for comment with Highland Park police chief Kevin Coney and his assistant Kamin Bode, then called the Department and asked for William Melendez. The officer at the desk said “he’s not in right now.” Neither Coney nor Bode has returned the calls.

Channel Four’s Kevin Dietz reported that Melendez is on patrol as a traffic cop in Highland Park, fully armed. Highland Park City Attorney Todd Perkins justified Melendez’ continued employment, saying in Dietz’ report that he has not been found guilty of anything yet.

Attorney Gregory Rohl and Floyd Dent.

Attorney Gregory Rohl and Floyd Dent.

Melendez was actually convicted of filing a false report while with the Detroit Police Department, an event which happened in the 1990’s. (Some local media has reported falsely that that incident caused him to be fired from the DPD. In fact he continued there through at least 2004 and possibly 2009.

He previously worked at DPD beginning in 1993, during which he killed one man, racked up numerous  brutality lawsuits, and was federally charged for operating a “Ramparts”-style gang of cops on Detroit’s southwest side. Cops in that case were acquitted in what federal prosecutors called a “nullification verdict.” Their trial was a rare instance of a breakdown in the police “wall of silence,” since numerous Black Detroit officers testified against Melendez et. al.

Meanwhile, Dent’s attorney Gregory Rohl alleged in court April 15 that Inkster police redacted most of a booking videotape after Dent’s arrest, providing him only with a five-minute version that does not show the additional “terror” Dent said he experienced at the station.

“I was advised by an officer that this is incomplete, and that her version is 21 minutes long and she was rather disturbed by what she saw,” Rohl told Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner, in a courtroom packed with Dent’s family and supporters, most from Inkster.

Lamar Grable

Lamar Grable

Groner held the hearing over until April 29, pending a review of the complete videotape, but Inkster police chief Vicki Yost later told Channel Four  that the department had disclosed everything. Yost was implicated in a civil lawsuit involving the 1996 killing of Lamar Grable, 20, by her partner, three-time killer cop Eugene Brown, in which the jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million.

Dent still faces a charge of crack cocaine possession, which he hoped would be dismissed during the hearing. His attorneys earlier released a dshcam video which appears to show Melendez pulling a baggie of crack cocaine out of his pocket to plant in Dent’s car. However, Assistant Prosecutor Tom Dawson said the office wants “more time” to review the evidence.

Rohl told the media after the hearing, “There is stuff on [that booking videotape] that we want badly. I hope the prosecutor will do the right thing and go after Robocop.”

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

He was on his way to meet with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to request that criminal charges be brought against Melendez.

Dent said, “I have my fingers crossed that all the right things will happen. When I heard about it, I knew that the video was much longer than five minutes.”

He added, “I am very overwhelmed by all the supporters that have come out for me. It has been a long road for me, with the loss of a lot of sleep, and I’m hoping for the right thing to be done.”

Dent spent three days in Garden City Hospital after the beating, during which he said he feared he would be killed, because his family was not allowed to see him. A woman visiting her son at the hospital contacted his family members for him. (See video below.)

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s chief of communications, Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller, told VOD, “The WCPO investigation into Mr. Dent’s allegations is a continuing investigation.  When it concludes and a decision is made the press will be notified. We are going to review the video footage to make sure that it is complete.  We believe that the defense has all of the video, but we are going back through it to make sure.”

George Williams, head of National Christians in Action

George Williams, head of National Christians in Action/ Facebook

Channel Four reporter Kevin Dietz said on the air that there is now a federal investigation into the Dent beating, with two investigators assigned to the case.

Inkster resident Rev. George Williams, Pres. and CEO of the National Christians in Action, told VOD, “We want to know about the rest of the police officers involved as well. Melendez wasn’t the only one. Our police department has had racial problems for a very long time.”

He was among dozens of supporters who packed the courtroom for Dent.

Father Ellis Clifton, of St. Clements Episcopal Church in Inkster, said, “They need to charge the persons that tased him, and beat and kicked him, as well as everyone else who covered this up. The police department does not represent the make-up of the community of Inkster. They need to assign police with a real connection to us.”

Father Ellis Clifton of St. Clements Episcopal Church

Father Ellis Clifton of St. Clements Episcopal Church/website

Both Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost and William Melendez had applied for jobs in Romulus, Michigan prior to their hire with the Inkster police, but were turned down, he said.

Other Inkster residents at  hearing said they have been demanding that Melendez be removed from the force for several years due to numerous instances of brutality. He had been employed in Inkster since at least 2011.

Crystal Linton, Exec. Secretary of the Inkster chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), said, “We had already gone to City Manager Marsh to ask him to fire Melendez, but he kept saying they had it under control, and would deal with progressive discipline.”

One federal lawsuit is pending which accuses Melendez and other Inkster cops of unlawfully invading the home of a friend of DeShawn Acklin in 2011. The lawsuit then says:

While Plaintiff [Acklin] was handcuffed and compliant, one of the Defendants began to choke him and beat him until he lost consciousness. Plaintiff was also subsequently maced by one of the Defendants.  Plaintiff was arrested and taken to Garden City Hospital for treatment of his injuries.  Plaintiff unlawfully remained in Defendants’ custody for approximately three days until he was released without being charged with any crime.” (Click on: Deshawn Acklin v Melendez for full lawsuit.)

Sherriff's photo of Debra Pernell Simmons after they brutally beat and tased her during a NAN protest in Natchez, MS in 2013.

Sherriff’s photo of Debra Pernell Simmons after they brutally beat and tased her during a NAN protest in Natchez, MS in 2013.

Inkster resident Debra Pernell-Simmons, also a member of the Inkster chapter of NAN, and previously Vice-President of the Mississippi chapter, noted that police have been tasing people as a means of torture, not restraint, as they did in the case of Floyd Dent and the recent killing of Walter Scott of North Charleston, S.C. She said she herself was a victim of police brutality in her home state of Mississippi in 2013.

“I was tased multiple times on June 3, 2013, in my thighs, buttocks, leg and crotch, all over, until I fell to the ground, by members of the Natchez, Mississippi Sheriff’s Department,” Simmons said.

NewsOne reported on the protest she was taking part in:

“Pernell-Simmons and members of NAN, the civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, traveled to Natchez on June 3, 2013, to throw full support behind Glennese Smith Scott, 33, a social worker and author of the book, “Surviving A Thousand Deaths,” who is in the midst of an uphill court battle against the Sheriff’s Department for abuse — and negligence — she allegedly suffered at their hands that caused her to miscarry twins.

Glenesse Smith Scott

Glennesse Smith Scott

“While protesting on the sidewalk in front of the Adams County Courthouse, in compliance with a city permit, Pernell-Simmons was told to move. When she refused, she was violently pushed to the ground and held down by two Black deputies, Charles Sims and Walter Mackel, while being Tasered by White deputy, Danny Barber.’

“Don’t forget that some Africans sold us into slavery,” said Williams. “They use our own against us.”

The last reference was to Charles Williams, President of the Michigan chapter of NAN, who had traveled to Mississippi to take part in the protest.

Simmons said that while sheriffs were tasing her, a white Natchez resident ran up with a sawed-off shotgun asking if they needed any help. She said NAN is planning an April 24 protest in Mississippi against the lynching of Otis Byrd of Port Gibson March 2 this year.


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Police dog mauls Phillip White, Black N.J. man, to death after cops beat him March 31

RT logo“Anonymous” forces Vineland police to release names

April 11, 2015

Police in Vineland, New Jersey confirmed the identities of two officers involved in the March 31 death of 32-year-old Phillip White. They also confirmed a third policeman who was involved after they were outed by the hacker collective Anonymous.

I am Phillip White

Phillip White, 43, of Vineland, N.J. beaten and mauled to death March 31, 2015 by police and dog.

White died after being punched and kicked by the officers, and bitten multiple times by a police dog, during his arrest on March 31.

Calling the actions of the officers “absolutely grotesque,” Anonymous threatened to release the names and personal information of the officers, as well as other local officials, unless the Vineland Police Department suspended the officers involved and released their names and the dash-cam footage to the public.

By Tuesday afternoon, the hacker group posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of two officers, Louis Platania and Jeffrey Travaline. Later in the day, the Vineland PD Chief Timothy Codispoti confirmed the names and added that of a third officer, Rich Janasiak.

Chief Codispoti denied the threats by Anonymous prompted the disclosure, however, he did say the names were initially withheld following a request by the prosecutor’s office. He added that the Vineland Police Department was planning to release the names at the same time as the recording of the 911 call and police dispatches of the incident that resulted in White’s death, which they did Tuesday afternoon.

“What we’re interested in is the truth,” Codispoti said. “That’s what we want, it’s what the family wants. We want the truth of what occurred here. That includes the actions of everyone involved.”

Protest in NYC after grand jury exonerated police killers of Eric Garner.

Protest in NYC after grand jury exonerated police killers of Eric Garner.

Stuart Alterman, the attorney hired by the police union to represent the officers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed the toxicology report would show that White had been on PCP and other drugs. He said the drugs, rather than police violence, were to blame for White’s death.

Witnesses have claimed that the cops were punching White and that a K-9 dog was biting him in the face while he was laying on the ground. White’s family is demanding an independent investigation, and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is looking into White’s death.

White was the 290th person to be killed by police in America in the first 90 days of 2015, according to the website,


Eric Harris, Black, of Tulsa OK killed on ground by white wannabe cop, 73

Robert Bates charged only with 2nd degree manslaughter

“Oh, I shot him, I’m sorry”–Bates; “Fuck your breath”–other cop as Harris says he cannot breathe, takes dying breath

Bates claims he accidentally used gun instead of taser

Unpaid Oklahoma deputy who killed suspect is big donor to police

Business Insider logo

Brothers Andre and Eric Harris

Brothers Andre and Eric Harris

The family of an unarmed Oklahoma man fatally shot by an elderly reserve deputy claims officials tried to conceal the circumstances surrounding the death.

Andre Harris, brother of 44-year-old Eric Harris, claimed in an [April 13] Monday press conference that a deputy from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office told him to not get a lawyer and also lied about his brother being under the influence of drugs when Robert Bates, 73, fired the fatal gunshot.

Flanked by lawyers, Andre Harris told reporters gathered in Tulsa that a sheriff’s office representative, identified by attorney Dan Smollen as Officer Bill McKelby, admitted to him that a mistake was made.

“We know what happened to your brother, we apologize,” Andre Harris recalled the officer saying. “You don’t have a lawyer, do you?”

Killer wannabe cop Robert Bates turns himself in on charge of 2nd degree manslaughter

When the grief-stricken man replied no, he was advised against finding representation.

“Doesn’t everybody get a lawyer when they’re in this situation?” Andre Harris recalled asking.

“We want to make this right because when we make mistakes, we man up, we do the right thing,” the officer told Andre Harris. “You sit by the phone and wait for that call, we’re gonna make it right.”

The cop further warned Andre Harris: “If you hire a lawyer, it will gum things up. It will slow things down. We want to make this right.”

Smollen then explained that Bates, who was charged Monday with second-degree manslaughter, did not give a statement about the incident until at least four days later and while in the presence of an attorney who is also a former cop.

The lawyer also held up both a .357 magnum – the handgun from which the fatal shot was discharged – and a yellow stun gun.

Atty. Andre Smollen shows handgun (l) and taser (r).

“There is absolutely no way, if Mr. Bates had been trained at all … that an officer who is trained would never get these two weapons confused,” Smollen insisted.

Video made public over the weekend does not show the lethal shot, but the sound of a gun firing can be heard shortly before Eric Harris repeatedly screams about being shot.

Officers later claimed that Eric Harris was high on the drug PCP when apprehended shortly after he fled on foot during a gun-buying sting.

Both Smollen and Andre Harris claim the assertion of drug use was a lie and that medical records will prove them right.

Multiple phone messages left by Business Insider seeking comment from the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office have yet to be returned.

Read more:

In this Thursday, April 9, 2015 photo, front row, from left, Don Smolen, Andre Harris, Aidan Fraley and Dan Smolen, and back row, from left, Fred Moon, Rakim Dean, Sheila Dak-Harris, Elijah Dean and pastor Bill Davis, appear during a news conference at the attorneys’ office of Smolen, Smolen and Roytman about their family member and friend, Eric Harris, who was killed April 2 by a reserve Tulsa County deputy in Tulsa, Okla. (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)

CNN logo(Excerpt) In a written statement, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen A. Kunzweiler said Bates, is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence. It’s a felony charge that could land the volunteer deputy in prison for up to four years if he’s found guilty.

Eric Harris with son Aidan Finley

Eric Harris with son Aidan Finley

Scott Wood, an attorney who represents Bates, said the shooting [of Eric Harris] was an “excusable homicide.”

“We believe the video itself proves that it was an accident of misfortune that occurred while Deputy Bates was fulfilling his duties as a reserve deputy,” Wood said. “He is not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.”

Investigators’ efforts to defend Bates and the other deputies involved in the arrest have sparked a mounting chorus of criticism online. Harris’ family is demanding an independent investigation of what they call unjustified brutality.

They’re also questioning why the 73-year-old Bates — the CEO of an insurance company who volunteers as a certified reserve deputy — was on the scene in such a sensitive and high-risk sting operation.

Attorney: Deputy was donor who ‘paid big money to play a cop’

Killer cop Robert Bates

Killer cop Robert Bates

Daniel Smolen, an attorney representing the Harris family, said Bates paid big money to play a cop in his spare time.

“It’s absolutely mind boggling that you have a wealthy businessman who’s been essentially deputized to go play like he’s some outlaw, like he’s just cleaning up the streets,” he said.

Tulsa County Sheriff cars

Tulsa County Sheriff cars

Wood said his client — who had donated cars and video equipment to the Sheriff’s Office — had undergone all the required training and had participated in more than 100 operations with the task force he was working with the day he shot Harris. But he’d never been the main deputy in charge of arresting a suspect, Wood said, but was thrust into the situation because Harris ran from officers during the arrest. . . .He was also a frequent contributor to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, including $2,500 to the reelection of Sheriff Stanley Glanz. . . .

Brother of deceased: ‘He was nonviolent’

Andre Harris told reporters Monday that claims his brother was violent and on PCP are false.


New York City protest for Eric Garner

“He was nonviolent, he was peaceful, he was loving, he was caring, and he was my brother that I’ll never see again ’til I see him in heaven,” Harris told reporters, accusing the sheriff’s office of trying to persuade him not to hire an attorney and quickly make the case “go away.”

He added that the shooting of his brother, who was African-American, wasn’t a racial matter.

“I don’t think this is a racial thing. I don’t think this has anything to do with race. It might have a hint there somewhere. … This is simply evil,” Andre Harris told reporters Monday.

“This is a group of people that’s spent a lot of time together, spent money together. … They’ve gotten real comfortable with how they do things, which when you’re the law, I guess you feel like you can do things and get away with it and not get exposed.

“Well, we’ve come to expose it. We’ve come to pull a mask off the evil. We’ve come to shine a light on the darkness.”

CNN’s Ed Lavandera and Jason Morris reported from Tulsa. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Atika Shubert, Chandler Friedman and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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APRIL 5, 2007: DPS 4th grader cries after cops attack protest over school closings at the former Northern High School on Woodward, May 5, 2007. Hundreds of DPS schools have been closed or replaced by charters.

APRIL 5, 2007: DPS 4th grader cries after cops attack protest over school closings at the former Northern High School on Woodward, May 5, 2007. Students were maced, dragged across Woodward by their hair, and arrested. Hundreds of DPS schools have been closed or replaced by charters. Photo: Diane Bukowski


By Elena Herrada    

April 9, 2015

(Photos, except for that of Elena Herrada, added by VOD.)

Elena Herrada

Detroit School Board member in exile Elena Herrada

I am a member of the Detroit School Board in Exile. We call ourselves “exiles” because we do not accept emergency management. I was elected and have been on the Board since 2010. During this time, we have been stripped of power and authority. We have seen the State destroy public education and hand off real estate to cronies of the governor and the mayor.

Although the emergency manager law (Public Act 4) was repealed, we were saddled with another emergency manager law — PA 436, which cannot be repealed. All Black cities in Michigan are under “emergency management,” which strips locally elected officials of authority. The State privatizes many of the services and contractors pocket the profits.

Detroit, once a strong union city, is now under a “write in” white mayor who did not even live here long enough to be on the ballot. He was given millions for his campaign by Dan Gilbert, of Quicken Loans, and millions from corporations.

Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan (l) with his patron, billionaire Dan Gilbert (r).

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan (l) with one of his corporate  patrons, billionaire Dan Gilbert (r).

Detroit is among the poorest cities in the country. The City Council has been complicit in the giveaways and has received three pay increases in two years, despite the fact that the city was put into federal bankruptcy by Jones Day, the bankruptcy law firm that took us over.

Here is a chronology of what happened to Detroit Public Schools under State takeover:

Abolishing the elected school board

In 1999, Republican Gov. John Engler signed PA 10 into law, abolishing Detroit’s elected school board and replacing it with a board appointed by Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and the governor, which had no operational power but to hire a CEO.

At this time, DPS had a $93-million surplus, rising enrollment and improving test scores. Observers believe that the purpose of the takeover was to control the bond program, which still had $1.2 billion in 1999. A lawsuit and protests followed.

DPS student Sasha Alford protests against Kenneth Burnley, schools privatization and layoffs at Coleman A. Young Center June 16, 2005.

DPS student Sasha Alford protests against Kenneth Burnley, schools privatization and layoffs at Coleman A. Young Center June 16, 2005. Photo: Diane Bukowski

In 2000, Kenneth Burnley was hired as CEO. He began predicting the decline of DPS, eventually stating that DPS would shrink to 65,000 students. When Burnley began, DPS enrollment was 162,692 students.

Democrat Jennifer Granholm became governor in January 2003. In April 2004, Burnley announced a projected deficit of $200 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. This was used as a basis for closing a large number of schools and firing several thousand staff members. Burney had kept the fiscal crisis secret until more moderate measures could not be employed. Burnley and Granholm arranged a $210 million, 15-year loan with a 50 percent finance charge as part of the repayment schedule [with DPS state per-pupil funds backing the loan.]

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

Former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

Former Mich. Gov. John Engler (R)

Former Mich. Gov. John Engler (R)

In November 2004, a mandated referendum asked whether Detroit voters wanted mayoral control of the schools or a directly elected school board. By a 2-1 margin, voters chose an elected board, despite being outspent 20-1 in the campaign by pro-mayor forces, whose fundraising effort was led by the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce and supported by Gov. Granholm.

By 2006, enrollment dropped to 118,394, a loss of 44,299, or over a quarter of the enrollment from the beginning of the Burnley regime.

‘Financial emergency’ declared at DPS

From 2000 through 2005, Burnley and Govs. Engler and Granholm planned and spent over $1 billion in bond construction funds at highly inflated prices for new buildings. In 2006, the elected school board was sworn in.

3-10-2005 DPS_Children Child left behind at Chadsey

Student and parents protest proposed closing of one of the city’s top high schools, Chadsey, on the near west side, during a school board meeting. Chadsey students walked out several times to try to save their school, but it was eventually torn down and replaced with “Munger Middle School.” Photo: Diane Bukowski

In December 2008, Granholm invoked PA 72 of 1990 to declare a financial emergency at DPS because the elected board had not erased the deficit created by Burnley and Granholm when the district was under their control.

In January 2009, Granholm announced the appointment of Robert Bobb as the emergency financial manager of DPS, after meeting with billionaire Eli Broad, a Bobb supporter, at the presidential inauguration.

As Bobb readied for the position, he and Granholm promised the elected school board that they would abide by the shared power arrangement called for in PA 72.

In March 2009, Bobb assumed the EFM position and told the Board that he controlled “everything that a penny touches,” which meant everything at DPS. The Board president stated publicly that Granholm had lied to them about the shared power arrangement and began to plan a legal challenge.

Two months after his arrival, Bobb announced a plan, with Granholm’s sanction, to seek approval from voters for a $500 million bond program to build new schools, even as he planned for large-scale school closings. It was adopted in November balloting.

Privatization begins in earnest

Charter schools advocate Doug Ross, Skillman CEO Carol Goss, and DPS EFM Robert Bobb at conference on "Excellent Schools." Photo: Diane Bukowski

Charter schools advocate Doug Ross, Skillman CEO Carol Goss, and DPS EFM Robert Bobb at conference on “Excellent Schools.” Photo: Diane Bukowski

Bobb and Granholm partnered with the Skillman Foundation and other groups to promote “Excellent Schools Detroit,” a plan to create a private school network to replace the DPS system, especially at the high school level. The ESD stated in its plan its intention to acquire buildings being built with the 2009 bond money financed by Detroit taxpayers.

In December 2009, Granholm signed legislation as part of a grant application for “Race to the Top” federal funding that would consolidate Michigan schools with the lowest 5 percent of MEAP [Michigan Educational Assessment Program] scores into one statewide district. State Superintendent Michael Flanagan said then that schools from northern and mid-Michigan would be in the district. He received funding to begin to staff the department shortly thereafter.

In 2010, Bobb was given a second year contract by Granholm with $505,000 in total compensation, including from private money sources that were also financing the Excellent Schools Detroit. Most private funding sources for Bobb’s pay were kept secret through most of 2010.

Save Oakman rally May 15 2013

Parents and students rally to save Oakman Orthopedic School, on May 15, 2013. It was the only DPS school built specifically for special needs children. It was later torn down.

In 2009 and 2010, Bobb continued the large-scale school closings while building new school buildings.

In January 2011, Republican businessman Rick Snyder was sworn in as the new governor. PA 4 was signed into law on March 16, superseding PA 72.

In May 2011, Snyder replaced Robert Bobb with Roy Roberts.

Fight continues

Mich. Rick-tator Snyder.

Rick-tator Snyder.

Created by Rick Snyder

Created by Rick Snyder

In June, Snyder announced his plan to create the Educational Achievement Authority, which included the involvement of Eastern Michigan University. While the original 2009 plan was to include other school districts, the EAA only put DPS into this “statewide” district.

In 2012, Roberts announced the creation of eight “self governing schools” under the supervision of charter operator Doug Ross, who was placed on the DPS payroll to perform this function. Ross is also a partner with Excellent Schools Detroit.

Mumford student is interviewed during rally vs. EAA takeover. Teachers are not certified, school was in chaos. Also shown: school board members in exile Pres. Herman  and Elena Herrada.

Mumford student is interviewed during rally vs. EAA takeover. Teachers are not certified, school was in chaos. Also shown: school board members in exile Pres. Herman  Davis and Elena Herrada. Photo: Diane Bukowski

Roberts transferred 15 DPS schools into the EAA — including the newly built Mumford High School, which was not among the lowest performing schools — and closed another 14 schools, bringing the DPS well under 100 schools and a projected enrollment of only 50,000 students.

In July 2012, Roberts announced terms of employment that overrode the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ contract, negating the power of the teachers’ voice and their influence in DPS. The power shift enhanced the central administration’s ability to dispose of teachers and programs unilaterally, including support for special needs students, as well as music and arts education.

The Detroit School Board in Exile continues to oppose the EAA, emergency management, charter schools, privatization of services, school closures, and attacks on the students and teachers of Detroit Public Schools.

VOD: Detroit school closings began in 2004. They were the harbinger for current closings in Philadelphia, Chicago and across the nation. New Orleans no longer has any public schools, using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to tear them down and create charter schools.

Protest against school closings in Philadelphia.

Protest against school closings in Philadelphia.

Chicago parents and teachers protest 54 school closings.

Chicago protest vs. 54 school closings.



Also see:

  1. Victory against Detroit school dictator
  2. Ethnic Studies won for Los Angeles public schools — interview with an organizer
  3. ‘Don’t privatize Oakland schools!’
  4. Racism and the underfunding of Philadelphia schools
  5. Baltimore: No militarization of city schools! 

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