Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, a life-long activist and advocate for the poor, has penned a profound piece on Corktown resident Steve DiPonio’s beating of another Corktown resident, Charles Duncan, who happens to be homeless, on Oct. 6. BE SURE TO READ THE PASTOR’S COMMENTARY IN THIS WEEK’S METRO TIMES. It says it ALL. Go to:
According to an article in the Detroit News, published on Nov. 13, long after the incident and only after DiPonio was charged,
“(Diponio) told the arresting officer he was tired of the man sleeping behind a school near his house,” said Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens.
Diponio allegedly took a rope from his pickup, tied up Duncan and beat him several times with a baseball bat, said Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Diponio tied the man to his bumper and dragged him in his car a short distance before neighbors freed Duncan, police said. Duncan was left bleeding on the sidewalk before a witness called police, Stephens said. Details about his current condition or injuries weren’t available late Friday.”
Pastor Wylie-Kellerman’s commentary targets the gentrification, racism and classism that have struck Corktown in recent years, as well as other areas of Detroit that Mayor Dave Bing has proposed to “down-size” (meaning the people, not the miles). Wylie-Kellerman condemns it all and calls on people of conscience to join together to stop this wholesale onlaught.
Note that the Detroit News article quotes the owner of Slow’s Bar-B-Q, Phil Cooley, who said he is trying to find other places to put the homeless folks in Roosevelt Park, across from his chi-chi eatery. Cooley is one of six co-chairs of Bing’s downsizing Detroit Advisory Task Force, and also one of the “Conquistadors” Wylie-Kellerman talks about in his article, who campaigned to shut down his church’s soup kitchen and “the free hand-outs in our neighborhood that facilitate the drugs, crime and general malcontent . . .”
(See earlier series of five VOD articles on Bing’s plans for Detroit, which include bios of Task Force members. Another article addresses Bing’s chief planner Toni Griffin’s comments that Detroit presents an opportunity for change that can be compared only to the transformation Hurricane Katrina wrought on New Orleans.)