News and commentary by Diane Bukowski
We are in trouble in Detroit. The trouble is not only the fault of the banks, the corporations, and the police (the first time this writer has admitted same). The fact that many people in Detroit including Mildred Gaddis blamed Aiyana Stanley Jones’ family for the police bombing of her house last May 16 and the direct gunshot to her head by a white police officer from Grosse Pointe was one indication of the depth of the trouble we are in.
Another indication was Sheila Cockrel’s comment during a forum on the police consent decrees Mar. 17 that Police Chief Ralph Godbee is “doing a good job,” and a media observation that “Certainly people in the [police brutality] coalition aren’t talking about masses of people being shot or dying in their jail cells the same way they were 15 years ago.”
As the same media source said a week previously, Detroit police admitted to killing 10 people in 2010, including Aiyana Jones.* They also helped kill Imam Luqman Abdullah as well. Who is to say who killed all the unidentified corpses in the Wayne County Morgue?
But the ultimate abomination was the conviction of Jason Alexander Gibson Mar. 23 by a jury that may have had five Detroiters on it, since five of the jurors were Black. One of the jurors from Detroit told the Detroit News, “The prosecution put on a good case.”
Probably one of the same grown folks in this city that run around talking about the young people with their pants dragging down, saying they are terrified of them, and others from outside the city (e.g. Prof. Carl Taylor of Michigan State University, a gargantuan man) who say they are afraid to come to Detroit unless they are “strapped.” Maybe one of those Detroiters who proudly advocates “snitching,” per the following from the Dec. 5, 2010 issue of The Michigan Citizen:
“[Malik] Shabazz says the group [Detroit 300] is not only after those attacking the elderly but those participating in any form of crime, bringing down Detroit neighborhoods, ‘selling drugs, stealing hub caps, breaking and entering. We’re shutting it down …’ he said. He’s encouraging the people of Detroit to come forward with information on any criminal activity in their neighborhoods. ‘Don’t snitch, just tell,’ says Shabazz.”
Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, George Jackson, Tookie Williams, John Percy Boyd, Mark Clyde Bethune, Hayward Brown, and countless others from Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman on down must be turning over in their graves. They knew, as did the participants of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, that the police in Detroit are an occupying force there to protect the rich, not the people of Detroit.
Even the mother of 17-year-old Jarean Blake, whose murder was the excuse for the police assault on the Jones home, found that out when police rousted young people who were holding a memorial in honor of her son (see MC article by this author at http://michigancitizen.com/mother-of-slain-teen-claims-police-brutality-p8783-1.htm.)
Many Detroiters have lost their minds, or at least their common sense.
That is what both Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway and defense attorney Susan Reed told the jury to use in the Gibson trial for the killing of Detroit police officer Brian Huff last May 3. Many on the street and at least one in police administration ranks believed the address at 20263 Schoenherr to be a police-operated drug house that may have been guarded by neighbor Paul Jameson, using seven surveillance cameras on his own house.
Jameson testified he came out armed on May 3 with HIS .45 Smith and Wesson because he thought the “vacant” house was being broken into, even though he had told his wife to call 911. He testified he assumed a military stance on one knee next to a red tree in his front yard, with the gun held out in both hands, as police arrived. Curiously, said Reed in her closing argument, a .45 caliber casing was found by that tree but never accounted for. Jameson also testified he dissembled the gun before turning it over to the police later, giving ample time for a little cleaning job.
Reed told the jury their common sense should easily show reasonable doubt as to Gibson’s guilt.
Common sense tells us—how does one man shoot a police officer twice, run out the front door into the gun sights of dozens of other police officers, shoot three of them while the officers are madly firing off their guns, leaving at least 40 bullet casings, most from the officers’ weapons, and end up alive?
Common sense tells us—there is something wrong with a picture where Huff allegedly gets a “breaking and entering—shots fired” call and enters the house in question with his gun strapped in its holster, the only cop who did not have his gun drawn.
Common sense tells us—there is something wrong when a civilian, Tonya Wright, called by the prosecution testifies that she witnessed Gibson’s clothing being cut off him in the street and placed on the back of a police car, but never saw a gallon bag of marijuana until the police threw the clothes in the street with the weed on top of it. And then Reed pointed out, she says she heard police repeatedly hollering down the street, “Have you found the weapon?”
Regarding that weapon, common sense tells us: why were no gunshot residue tests of Jason Gibson’s hands or body entered into evidence, if he fired the gun 10 times, as the prosecution claimed? A technician testified only that he found no GSR on Gibson’s clothes, but said it did not necessarily mean he did not fire a gun. The only evidence the prosecution introduced was a fingerprint of Gibson’s they claimed to have found on a .45 magazine–which magazine, from what gun, and how did the fingerprint get there? Gibson was previously convicted on a felony firearms count and spent two years in prison for it.
Common sense also tells us–when the arresting officer, Gibson’s partner Joseph D’Angelo, did not see a gun by Gibson when he handcuffed him to a fence, even though he was using his magnum flashlight, how does a .45 Ruger with the serial number shaved off magically appear a foot from Gibson’s head later, “discovered” by Officers Christopher Champagne, Ernie Harris, and one Rayshaun (sp?) Gaines, who arrived after the action?
Curiously, Champagne, who appeared quite nervous and had to be asked to speak up when he testified, was not among the hordes of police officers of every make and kind, from inspectors to sergeants to the gang squad to the multi-agency task force, to the four cops injured when Huff was killed, who packed the courtroom for closing arguments Mar. 22 in Gibson’s trial. Why? They hadn’t been there for the three weeks of the trial. Was it to intimidate jury and judge?
Most of the cops ,uniformed or in “plainclothes,” were armed with their guns, batons, pepper spray and every other device imaginable, except their SWAT team helmets, shields, and rifles. One of them told Gibson within the earshot of his defense attorney and the judge “I hope you rot in hell,” as he left the courtroom after the closing statements. His group did not even wait for the jury to clear the outside halls as sheriffs who regulate courtroom procedures usually require.
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway did not even bar that officer from returning, that’s how intimidated she was. While she was asking for peace in the courtroom, three of the armed officers standing behind Gibson’s mother, father and brother glaring directly at Hathaway. No sheriff asked them to sit down.
Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski’s closing argument was a hodge-podge that included naming some of the 447 items entered into evidence, and mixing in names of the two undercover officers, Joseph Dunlap and Bryan Glover, who identified Gibson running from the house, with the names of numerous other officers who said they could identify no one in the darkness.
It included Trzcinski calling diagrams drawn of the living room of the house “photos” showing Gibson standing by a side window aiming at Huff as he entered the house. The diagrams were no such thing—there are no photos of Gibson in the house.
It included Trzcinski challenging the defense’s comments on evidence produced by technicians, saying she impugned their personal character. It even included him hypocritically telling the jury “God Bless” after Judge Hathaway specifically told both attorneys to avoid reference to religion during the trial.
It included constant appeals for the jurors’ sympathy for the cops who were injured, despite the judge’s instructions that sympathy must not enter into deliberations.
Trzcinski became hysterical, screaming in his rebuttal argument after Reed’s closing, during which she cautioned the jurors to distinguish evidence that should create reasonable doubt from the confusing mass of 447 items presented throughout the long, tiring trial.
As they say, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” In this author’s opinion, the massive evidence list, interspersed with gruesome statements from EMS technicians and cops which sent Huff’s wife sobbing into the hall, was meant to do just that.
Defense attorney Susan Reed called for a mistrial and accused Trzcinski of prosecutorial misconduct for his presentations, but was denied both recourses by Judge Hathaway. She said later that Gibson will appeal his convictions.
But Gibson’s conviction goes beyond his own personal case. WHEN WILL DETROITERS SAY NO TO THE BRAINWASHING THAT HAS BEEN PERPETRATED ON THEM BY THEIR ENEMIES? When will they listen to Jarean Blake’s mother, Lyvonne Cargill, who told this writer, “There are a lot of young people out there getting killed. Both Jarean and Aiyana are up there in heaven looking down and asking, ‘why did this happen?’ We gotta help our kids. They want jobs, they don’t have any recreation centers, nothing to do with their lives. I want to get a foundation set up to build a recreation center in Jarean’s name.”
*The media source was author Curt Guyette of the Metro Times. This writer congratulates him for the excellent story he did prior to the consent decree forum as well as questions he raised about what good it did afterward. One item that should also be raised, however: POLICE WILL ONLY STOP THEIR KILLINGS, RAPES, BRUTALITY AND CORRUPTION WHEN THEY ARE CHARGED AND PUT IN JAIL. WHY HAS KYM WORTHY NOT YET CHARGED EVEN OFFICER JOSEPH WEEKLEY, WHO SHOT LITTLE AIYANA TO DEATH, LET ALONE OFFICER EUGENE BROWN, WHO KILLED LAMAR GRABLE AND TWO OTHERS, OFFICER EUGENE WILLIAMS, WHO KILLED 16-YEAR-OLD BRANDON MOORE AND TWO OTHERS, AND NUMEROUS OTHER COPS WHO HAVE COST THE CITY HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN LAWSUITS BUT REMAIN ON THE FORCE?
Regarding the current Coalition against Police Brutality’s contentions that police are not shooting and killing folks like they used to, read the following from today’s Detroit News:
Cops shoot after man pulls gun
DETROIT – Police shot a man in his mid-80s Thursday [Mar. 24, 2011] after he pulled out a handgun while officers were executing a search warrant, Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said. She said police went to search the home on the 1000 block of Adeline about 12:45 p.m., looking for the Detroit man’s grandson, who is wanted for assault with intent to murder.
When police arrived, the grandfather pointed a handgun at officers, who fired at him, striking him in the arm and leg, Stephens said. She said the injuries are non-life-threatening, and the man is being treated at a hospital, where he is under guard.
(Ed. note: this is all that came out of reports from THREE writers? Ever since the issue of police brutality in Detroit was publicized at a City Council meeting in 1998, called for by the ORIGINAL Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, police and media have refused to publish the names of police shooting victims, as well as the names of the cops involved. Prior to that, it was common practice.)
And there’s more:
WOMAN FIRES AT COPS
A woman opened fire on Detroit police officers Thursday in an attempt to keep Child Protective Services from taking her 13-year-old daughter, who has a mental illness, for medical treatment.
No one was injured. The incident unfolded about 5:35 p.m. on Blaine on the city’s west side and led to a standoff that continued into the night. Lt. Michael Nied of the 10th Precinct said a shot rang out after he and two officers kicked in the side door of the home.The woman offered to give herself up to a local minister, but negotiations were continuing as of 10:40 p.m.
(Ed. note: according to Channel 2 news this morning, the woman was taken into custody after community members intervened. Why should community members help the police arrest anyone? Why were police involved in the first place? Ch. 2 reported that the woman simply wanted to change her daughter’s doctors. There is a well-paid industry run by CPS to take children, especially Black children, away from their families and give them to “non-profit” foster care agencies who get a certain amount per head from the feds. Now the woman faces an unknown amount of prison time for trying to protect her daughter as she saw fit.)