Grief for Deontae Mitchell, 13, and other Detroit children and babies dead in recent shooting sprees
What about Lamar Grable, 20, Rodrick Carrington, and Darren Mitchell, killed by Detroit cop Eugene Brown, just sighted roaming free at the Belle Isle Grand Prix? Worthy refused to charge him despite internal report.
What about Aiyana Jones, 7, killed by Detroit police military task force? Shooter Joseph Weekley freed with Worthy’s collusion.
What about Terrance Kellom, 19, killed by police task force last year in father’s home? Worthy refused to charge cops despite evidence.
What about Davontae Sanford, framed at the age of 14 by Detroit cops and prosecutors? Will Prosecutor Worthy free him after 9 years in prison?
What about Kevin Matthews, 19, unarmed, killed by still unidentified white Dearborn cop in Detroit Dec. 23? Will Worthy charge him or Dearborn cops who killed Black Detroiter Janet White a month later?
What about 167 Wayne County juvenile lifers whose sentences Worthy has previously endorsed?
June 4, 2016
DETROIT – Hearts across Detroit are broken and grieving after news of the brutal kidnapping and death of Deontae Mitchell, 13, allegedly at the hands of a man or men old enough to be his father or grandfather.
The staff of VOD extends our deepest sympathy to Deontae’s family, friends and neighbors, and the children of Detroit, who have the absolute right to be protected by adults.
In recent months, children and babies have died in a rash of shooting sprees across the city’s poor neighborhoods. Similar violence is occurring in Chicago and other largely poor, Black and Latino cities across the U.S.
“The story of Deontae being senselessly killed over such a small amount of money is one that’s going to stay with us a long time, and I want Deontae’s family to know that this whole city is grieving with them,” Detroit “mayor” Mike Duggan said at a press conference. “When you lose a child in this community, it leaves a hole in the family, it leaves a hole in the neighborhood, it leaves a hole in their school. . . Officers said they’ve never seen anything like it. They had more than half a dozen individuals call with very valuable information.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office announced today that she has charged Earnest Coleman, 26, of Detroit, with kidnapping Deontae, aided by others.
“The alleged facts in this case explicitly show that the lives of some of Detroit’s children continue to be less important than everything else – in this case a few dollars dropped from a pocket,” Worthy said in the release. “May we all reexamine the worth of our children, and we in the criminal justice system will handle the senseless murder of Deontae.”
Whether Worthy, Craig or Duggan actually care about the lives of Detroit’s children, 59 percent of whom live in poverty, children who have watched as their schools and homes across the city are demolished with the blessings of city, county and state officials, children who are disproportionately sent to prison, is highly questionable.
On June 3, an aunt of Lamar Grable, 20 when he was shot to death eight times by three-time killer cop Eugene Brown in 1996, spotted Brown on Belle Isle June 3 at the Grand Prix, with a name badge, evidently working in some official capacity.
She said she told him, “You’re the one who killed my nephew!” and that he asked her, “Who was that?” He might well have asked, since he also killed Rodrick Carrington in 1995 and Darren Miller in 1999. After the public disclosure of an internal police document recommending charges be brought against Brown for those killings, Worthy’s office refused again to charge him after Arnetta Grable and other family members of Brown’s victims met with her representatives.
Last year, Worthy refused to charge a federal agent and numerous Detroit police who invaded the father’s home of Terrance Kellom, 19, and shot him to death 8 times, once in the back. Police claimed he threatened them with a hammer, but Worthy reported at a press conference that his fingerprints were not found on the hammer.
Kellom leaves behind two very young children who will now have to grow up without the protection of their father in a world where children are killed for no sane reason.
Worthy conspired with the defense and with Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway to get Detroit cop Joseph Weekley, Jr. off in the May 16, 2010 death of Aiyana Jones, 7, during a military-style police raid on her home.
Weekley fired the shot, heard round the world, that killed Aiyana, into the top of her head within seconds after entering her home, using an MP-5 submachine gun. Against regulations, he had the safety off and his finger on the trigger.
“They came to kill,” Aiyana’s grieving grandmother Mertilla Jones, who was sleeping on a front room couch with her favorite grandchild and witnessed the murder, told VOD.
As Worthy considers issuing warrants in 13-year-0ld Deontae Mitchell’s case, she is also reviewing the results of a report from the Michigan State Police on the case of Davontae Sanford, 14 when he was falsely charged with killing four adults in an alleged drug house on Runyon Street.
The actual killer, admitted hit man Vincent Smothers, confessed to the police, to his attorney, and to Associated Press writer Ed White, that he and an associate killed the four people. He said he did not know Davontae and would never have used a 14-year-old child to aid him in a drug hit.
Craig said now that the Detroit police will re-investigate the case before Worthy decides whether to charge Smothers and his accomplice. Whether Worthy will admit error and withdraw the charges against Davontae remains to be seen, as she has claimed that he could have aided and abetted in the killing.
Meanwhile, Davontae has become an adult in prison in the most brutal conditions, even experiencing torture at the hands of prison guards. He is now 22 years old.
Even the Detroit News editorial board just called on Worthy to free Sanford, declaring in part, “Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy should be standing at the courthouse door to apologize to Davontae Sanford when he walks in to resume his request for a new trial for a murder that by now Worthy and everyone else must know he didn’t commit. Standing next to her should be Detroit Police Chief James Craig to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the police department for its role in framing Sanford in the 2007 slayings.”
But Paralegal Roberto Guzman went further, calling on Worthy to use the prosecutor’s option of admitting error, and free Davontae immediately. He said the additional DPD investigation may only prolong the excruciating process for Davontae and his family.
“The American justice system is supposed to be better than a wretched process that allows the innocent to be railroaded through the arsenal by a corrupt cop that betrays the trust of a 14 year old mentally challenged kid,” Guzman said.
“It is supposed to be more than just labels about ‘innocent until proven guilty, ‘due process of law, and ‘a fair trial.’ If those terms are to have any meaning, then we should not allow a system as arbitrary and capricious as this that would frame a 14 year old kid into a bogus confession and then — to make matters worse — ignore post-conviction evidence of his innocence. That is indeed the worst crime, for it is the most egregious offense to all notions of due process of law.”
Worthy has also just received a request for a warrant in the death of unarmed, mentally challenged Detroiter Kevin Matthews on Christmas Eve last year, at the hands of a white Dearborn cop who chased him from Dearborn into Detroit. Ominously, that cop remains unidentified.
“The Detroit Police Department recently wrapped up its investigation of the Dec. 23 shooting of Kevin Matthews and it is now up to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to decide whether the shooting was justified,” The Dearborn Press and Guide reported June 1. . . “It is not known how long it will be before a decision is released.”
Earlier, Kevin Matthews’ family and attorney Milton Greenman released the results of a private autopsy by Dr. Bader J. Cassin which they said showed the cop’s culpability.
“Death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds. At least six bullets struck the body, one from very close range, and all coursed right-to-left and in an upward trajectory. Some of the wound paths were sharply upward.”
The Free Press reported that Greenman said there autopsy showed “evidence of intent” due to the multiple wounds.
Matthews’ sister Kimberly Matthews reported on Facebook that she and her mother met with Craig and his department heads April 26, who apologized for taking so long to do so. She said they seemed sincere, but in response to a comment, she added, “I felt from the meeting that they were just trying to pacify us….because we been marching….it is taking way too long.”
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office has not released results of its official autopsy of Kevin Matthews, nor that of Janet Wilson, a young Black Detroit woman shot to death by multiple Dearborn cops after leaving Fairlane Mall Jan. 27, despite requests by VOD. Worthy likewise earlier halted the release of Terrance Kellom’s autopsy, only to let his killers go free. There has also been no word from her office, which has jurisdiction over Dearborn, on whether anyone will be charged in Wilson’s death.
Worthy HAS made repeated statements at Michigan Legislative hearings opposing any remedy for 147 Wayne County children sent to die in prison, a/k/a juvenile life without parole (JLWOP). After two U.S. Supreme Court decisions declaring JLWOP unconstitutional, she still has not retracted those statements.
Neither Detroit “mayor” Mike Duggan nor Police Chief James Craig, or previous mayors or police chiefs, ever made public statements about the deaths listed above, except for that of Lamar Grable. Previous Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer congratulated Eugene Brown, who had been part of his protection squad, for wearing a bulletproof vest during the shooting, and gave him an award for the unarmed young man’s brutal death. During a hard-fought civil trial years later, Brown finally admitted that he “may have” executed Grable by shooting him three times in the chest as he lay on the ground.
Both the Michigan Appeals and Supreme Courts denied the city’s appeal of a $4 million jury verdict in Grable’s death, citing that statement.
During her tenure, Worthy has refused to charge dozens of Detroit cops previously for clearly “unjustifiable” homicides, reported on by this writer in the pages of the now defunct Michigan Citizen and Voice of Detroit.
Related: (Stories from VOD cited below on the cases above are only a sampling of VOD’s coverage. To see more, put the names of those killed or framed by police into our search engine.)
http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/02/04/dearborn-cops-kym-worthy-target-police-victim-terrance-kelloms-stepmom-hearing-fri-feb-5/ (includes information on Janet Wilson)