Protesters vs. the acquittal of killer cop Jason Stockley clog ramp onto I-40 in St. Louis

Cop Jason Stockley rammed Anthony Lamar Smith’s car, then shot him 5 times at close range with cop’s personal AK-47, planted gun

Stockley heard on dashcam video: “going to kill this —-, don’t you know it”

SLPD moves to stop protesters; National Guard in wings

Arch City Defenders: St. Louis Police Dept. the “deadliest in the country”

September 15, 2017

Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, with one-year-old daughter

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A judge [today] acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer of murder in the 2011 killing of [Anthony Lamar Smith, 24], a decision that could spark protests with National Guard troops on standby.

Judge Timothy Wilson found the former officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. The bench ruling came more than a month after testimony concluded.

Activists had threatened civil disobedience if Stockley was acquitted, and authorities took steps to deal with that scenario. All three downtown courthouses, including the federal courthouse, and some city schools were closed on in anticipation of the verdict.

The police department said officers would be working 12-hour shifts starting Friday and Mayor Lyda Krewson said the State Highway Patrol and St. Louis County police would provide support, with the patrol handling any protests on state highways.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, meanwhile, put the National Guard on standby in case of unrest. He and the mayor urged protesters to be peaceful, a sentiment echoed by Smith’s fiancée, Christina Wilson.

Here’s a look at the case:


Killer cop Jason Stockley

Stockley and his partner saw what appeared to be a drug transaction in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Dec. 20, 2011. As the officers sought to corner Smith, he drove away. Stockley’s defense attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said the officers were nearly run over. Stockley fired at the fleeing car, then a car chase began.

Police dashcam video captured Stockley saying, “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” in the midst of the chase. As Smith’s car slowed, Stockley told his partner to slam the police SUV into it, and his partner did so. Stockley then got out of the SUV and fired five shots into Smith’s car, killing him.

Bruntrager said Stockley fired only after Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found. But prosecutors said Stockley planted the gun. Testing found Stockley’s DNA on the gun, but not Smith’s.


Stockley, now 36, graduated from a Catholic high school in nearby Belleville, Illinois, then went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, he served in Iraq, where he was injured and awarded the Army Bronze Star. Stockley joined the St. Louis Police Department in 2007. He resigned in 2013, about two years after the shooting, and moved to Houston.

Smith had a 1-year-old daughter when he died. His family has not disclosed much about him. Court records show he had a criminal record that included convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and drug distribution. At the time of the shooting, he was on probation for a theft charge related to a 2010 crime in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. In 2013, the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners reached a $900,000 settlement with Smith’s family, ending a wrongful-death lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith’s daughter.


St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy WIlson

The circuit attorney’s office initially decided not to charge Stockley, but police internal affairs brought new evidence in March 2016. Then-Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced in May 2016 that Stockley was charged with first-degree murder.

The new evidence wasn’t disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained the dashboard camera video and published it soon after charges were announced. The footage outraged activists.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty. Stockley chose to have the case decided by a judge, rather than a jury, and the judge agreed despite the objections of prosecutors.


Police and courts in the St. Louis area have been under scrutiny since the 2014 fatal shooting by police of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by a white officer after they skirmished in a street. Weeks of often-violent protests followed, and violence was renewed that November after a grand jury declined to indict the officer, who resigned that month.

Since then, police have fatally shot several other black suspects in St. Louis. Stockley is the only St. Louis police officer to be charged with murder in recent years.

Joint statement from us, St. Louis Action Council and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE):

ArchCity Defenders, Inc. from Facebook

Acquittal in Jason Stockley’s Murder of Anthony Lamar Smith Reinforces Message that Law Enforcement can Use Fatal, Excessive Force and Turn to Courts for Protection

Protesters in St. Louis pause in smoke of burning St. Louis Cardinals T-shirt on ground.

On Friday, a judge acquitted Officer Jason Stockley of first degree murder and armed criminal action for the fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a twenty-four year-old black man and father from St. Louis. ArchCity Defenders stands in solidarity with the family of Anthony Lamar Smith, whose name was added to the long list of black men and women killed by the police in the St. Louis region. Grieving families who lose loved ones at the hands of police officers all too often seek justice from a legal system that instead protects their loved ones’ killers.

We saw this play out today in Jason Stockley’s case, a former St. Louis Metro Police Officer, who was not convicted for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith. This devastating verdict reinforces the message that law enforcement can use fatal, excessive force against communities of color and turn to the courts for protection. The egregious facts of this case underscore the failures of the criminal legal system even in clear cut cases of police violence.

Protesters walk up entrance ramp to I-40

Officer Stockley carried his personal weapon, an AK-47, with him on duty in violation of department policy. Stockley was heard saying “I’m going to kill this motherfucker,” during his pursuit. He shot Anthony Lamar Smith five times at close range, with the “kill shot” being fired from six inches away from Mr. Smith. Officer Stockley’s statements at the scene contradicted that of other witnesses, too. Yet, he was acquitted.

This case makes it crystal clear that police officers may murder with impunity. National data indicates that St. Louis City police department kills more people per capita than other departments, making it the deadliest in the country. Additionally, black men are killed by St. Louis police at a rate of 9 for every 100,000 people, almost double the national average murder rate of 5 for every 100,000 people.

“Mr. Smith’s family has already lost their loved one to violence and now they are being denied justice. If police can announce they are going to murder, carry personal AK-47s, plant weapons, and shoot unarmed people 5 times at close range with no consequences, no black man in America is safe,” said Thomas Harvey, Executive Director of Arch City Defenders.

Anthony Smith’s fiancee Christina Wilson and their daughter Autumn Smith

“Police and courts in this region and across America have to accept that racism influences police actions and the court’s protection of those actions. This verdict shows that there has been no change. There can be no trust without accountability.”

“Three years after the Ferguson Uprising, St. Louis finds itself in the same place. The continued disregard for black life and the failure to hold police accountable creates heightened tensions between police and the community. We will continue to demand justice and are committed to using every tool available to do so,” said Organizer and Activist, Kayla Reed, who is also a board member of ArchCity Defenders. ArchCity Defenders is a nonprofit civil rights law firm committed to providing holistic legal advocacy and to combating the criminalization of poverty and state violence against the poor and people of color.

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The officials above railroaded Thelonious Searcy for the murder of Jamal Segars, which Vincent Smothers has now confessed to.

“KOURTS, KOPS, KROOKS”-Henry Dudzinski, Coalition vs. Police Brutality

By Thelonious Searcy

August 31, 2017 

(VOD ed. note: Mr. Searcy has been held in the Michigan Department of Corrections, serving a life without parole sentence, since 2005. Noted Detroit hitman Vincent Smothers has confessed in an affidavit and a taped interview with private investigator Scott Lewis to the murder for which Searcy was framed, giving details very consistent with the crime scene evidence. Third Judicial Criminal Court Presiding Judge Timothy Kenny has yet to grant Searcy’s July, 22, 2016 request for a new trial, based on Smothers’ 2015 confession and a claim of actual innocence. The office of Prosecutor Kym Worthy has essentially not opposed the request.) 

Thelonious Searcy, in prison for 14 years for crime he did not commit.

Kincheloe, MI – To the readers on this controversial topic, the views expressed in this article are based on my personal experience with the judicial system in Detroit. Many people may or may not relate to my experience . . . .

My name is Thelonious Shawn Searcy. Within 12 years of this prison sentence, I have met over 100 criminal defendants who have been railroaded into the penal system, under the guidance of an incompetent defense lawyer, a corrupt homicide investigator, and/or a rogue prosecutor.

As a criminal defendant, I suffered from the incompetence of my criminal defense attorney during my trial at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. I was 25 years old. I didn’t have any comprehensive knowledge about the law which governs the criminal judicial system.

Many judges would say: “THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE OF THE LAW.” At the height of my ignorance, I witnessed a crooked homicide detective, a malicious prosecutor, and an incompetent attorney violate my constitutional rights, with no regard!

After I was sent to the Michigan Department of Corrections, in 2005, I forced myself to learn the LAW. On my quest to learn this foreign language, I felt illiterate mainly because I felt like I was ignorant for not expanding my mind, to learn beyond mathematics, English, and writing. In my early stages of learning the law, I ordered a Black’s Law Dictionary. This book gives you the language of the courts.

After learning the language of the law, I began to study the MCL’s, which are the Michigan Compiled Laws, as well as court rules.  One discriminatory Michigan Rule of Evidence (MRE) that played an instrumental role against me is known as 404(b). This law deals with character evidence. In my case, Prosecutor Patrick Muscat utilized this law to establish motive and intent in a murder case. He also used this law to say I had the propensity to commit violence.

MRE Rule 404  Character Evidence Not Admissible to Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes (a) Character evidence generally. Evidence of a person’s character or a trait of character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except . . . .

(b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts.  (1) Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, scheme, plan, or system in doing an act, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident when the same is material, whether such other crimes, wrongs, or acts are contemporaneous with, or prior or subsequent to the conduct at issue in the case. (2) The prosecution in a criminal case shall provide reasonable notice in advance of trial, or during trial if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown, of the general nature of any such evidence it intends to introduce at trial and the rationale, whether or not mentioned in subparagraph (b)(1), for admitting the evidence. If necessary to a determination of the admissibility of the evidence under this rule, the defendant shall be required to state the theory or theories of defense, limited only by the defendant’s privilege against self-incrimination.

After I understood that this prosecutor’s language was an attack on my character, I began to bear witness to Hosea 4:6 which states, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”

I was sent to prison for life due to a lack of knowledge, at a crucial hour and time in my life. A criminal defense attorney is a defendant’s voice inside the courtroom. He/she is there to protect his/her client’s Constitutional rights, at all times.

When an attorney performs on a competent level, he/she fights against ALL injustices which transpire with their client. A [defense] attorney should never serve as a “Second Prosecutor” against any criminal defendant during a criminal proceeding. When a defense attorney’s performance displays TREASON, his/her license should be revoked immediately!  A judicial system is in place to establish order, when lawlessness is reigning supreme.

The late Henry Dudzinski (r) of the Detroit Coalition Vs. Police Brutality created shirts with the slogan, Kourts, Kops, Krooks. He was jailed for weeks because he refused to take the shirt off during the civil trial of killer kop Eugene Brown.

When the face of justice operates on the wrong side of the law, it destroys the whole idea of “Justice.” I don’t believe it is possible to restore the Judicial System with Corrupt Officials in power!

Corrupt officials have created an imbalance in a system that’s supposed to uphold the law(s), under any circumstances. When you have government officials who set people up for profit in Murder Cases, Gun Cases, and Drug Cases, it becomes problematic!

Corruption goes against the interest of Justice. When Judges and Prosecutors excuse the unethical behavior of “Corrupt Police,” it shows that they are all right with the tactics used by these individuals, who railroad people into prison falsely. A system filled with Corruption destroys Justice and Equality. The system can be restored, but only by holding everybody accountable who breaks the laws that govern the land. Until then, there can never be Liberty and Justice for ALL!

Jason “JayBird” Gibson during 2011 trial.

Detroit police officer Brian Huff.

(Ed. note: VOD witnessed MRE 404b used unconstitutionally against defendant Jason Gibson in his 2011  trial for the murder of Detroit police officer Brian Huff, inside what turned out to be a police drug house.

Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway allowed Detroit cops to testify to alleged circumstances surrounding an earlier arrest of Gibson. Gibson was never tried or convicted in that case. VOD interviewed civilian witnesses of that arrest, who comprehensively contradicted the cops’ version of events, but were never called to testify.

Gibson was found guilty despite the unbelievable testimony of Huff’s white partner and many other white cops, who claimed he shot Huff in the head, then came out on the porch of the house and fired at numerous other cops. Gibson, who had actually jumped out of an upstairs back bedroom window and was arrested WITHOUT A GUN in the backyard, sustained only one bullet wound to his buttock.)

Related stories:

#FreeTheloniousSearcy, #FreeJasonGibson, #FreeCharlesLewis, #FreeAllVictimsofPoliceCourtFrameups, #KourtsKopsKrooks

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New Carlisle News photographer Andy Grimm was shot by a Clark County deputy Monday evening.

Andy had left the office around 10:00 p.m. to take pictures of lightning.

There was a traffic stop on Main Street near Studebaker’s Restaurant involved, but Andy was not the subject of the stop.

He had his camera and tripod in his hands and Deputy Jake Shaw apparently mistook it for a weapon and fired, striking Andy in the side.

New Carlisle news photographer Andy Grimm

He was rushed to Miami Valley Hospital for surgery. He is expected to recover from his wounds.

“I was going out to take pictures and I saw the traffic stop and I thought, ‘hey, cool. I’ll get some pictures here.'” He said he pulled into Studebaker’s parking lot in full view of the deputy, got out of his Jeep in full view of the deputy and started setting up his tripod and camera. “I turned around toward the cars and then ‘pop, pop,'”

Andy said the deputy gave him no warning. “I was just doing my job,” he said.

The Attorney General’s BCI division is investigating the incident, and we will update this story as soon as they release their findings.

Andy is well known in the area for his love of photography. The outpouring of love and affection for him on Facebook has been overwhelming.

Everyone at the New Carlisle News thanks you for your support.

‘Somebody was looking out for me,’ journalist shot by Ohio deputy speaks


Andy Grimm shows bandaged wound.

UPDATE: NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – News editor Andy Grimm told FOX 45’s Rhonda Moore that he isn’t upset with the officer who shot him.

Grimm said he and Deputy Jake Shaw know each other and have had several conversations. Monday night, the officer pulled another driver over and Grimm stopped to shoot pictures of that along with the lightning.

He said instead he ended up getting shot with a 40 caliber gun.

“My camera was already on the tripod,” Grimm said, “and I grabbed it like this and turned and I just hear pop, pop. I did not hear a single warning, did not hear the deputy identify himself. I said, ‘What the [bleep] Jake Shaw, you shot me dude’.”

He said Deputy Shaw came over to him.

“He said ‘oh my God Andy,’ then he made the call ‘shots fired, got a man down.’ He definitely told me, he said ‘I thought it was a gun, it thought it was a gun,'” Grimm said.

He was checked out and released from the hospital Tuesday, and said he isn’t angry with the deputy.

He’s not angry with Deputy Shaw.

“There’s so much animosity toward police officers,” Grimm said. “He was just doing his job. I think he made a bad decision. He shot somebody, an unarmed civilian. Realistically there’s going to be consequences.”

Grimm has confidence the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations will conduct a thorough investigation.

Area where Grimm was shot is cordoned off.

 UPDATE: NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – The news editor of the New Carlisle News was shot Monday night after he says a Clark County deputy mistook his tripod for a weapon.

Andy Grimm spoke exclusively to FOX 45 from his home, showing us his wounds and saying “Somebody was looking out for me.” He says the bullet that hit him in his side missed vital organs.

Overnight Grimm spoke with FOX 45 from his hospital room at Miami Valley Hospital. He says he was on his way home and decided to get some photos of lightning. As he was driving, he noticed a deputy had pulled a driver over, so he stopped to check that out as well.

Grimm tells FOX 45 he left his vehicle’s lights on so the deputy could see him. His camera was in the backseat. He got out of his vehicle to get his camera and when he did, he felt a sting; he said it felt like something bit him.

“I immediately dropped to the ground, and I saw the deputy and that’s when I realized, ‘Oh man, he shot me.’ He came running over and said, ‘Oh, I thought that was a gun.'” Grimm said one bullet grazed his shoulder while another hit him in the side.

Grimm said he knows the deputy well and works with him frequently. Grimm tells FOX 45 he does not want the deputy to lose his job over the shooting.

“I was on my way to identify myself to the deputy so he didn’t think that I was sneaking up on him. I am not mad at the deputy. I just wish I would have said something before he pulled the trigger.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deputy as Jake Shaw.  Shaw has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office says “Our hearts and prayers are with Mr. Grimm as he recovers and with Deputy Jake Shaw and we ask the community to keep both of them in your hearts and prayers as well.”

The Ohio Bureau of Crime Investigation is handling the investigation.  

This photo by Andrew Grimm is at the top of the Clark County Sheriff’s Facebook Page.


Lily Wright

Voice of Detroit editor Diane Bukowski thanks her good friend and fellow City of Detroit retiree Lily Wright, now of Cincinnati, Ohio, for alerting us to this story! Love and miss you, Lily! 

Diane under arrest

Brings back memories of my arrest by Michigan State Troopers and subsequent felony convictions on false charges of “assaulting, resisting, and obstructing” officers while I was reporting on a fatal state trooper chase in Nov. 2008 for the now defunct Michigan Citizen — retaliation for my numerous stories on police brutality and Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s refusal to charge Detroit cops with murder!


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Houston flood at Sherry Smith’s home.

DETROIT CONNECTIONS:  Jerry Bell, Jr.’s sister, family stranded in flood, have since been rescued

Jerry T. Bell Jr.

August 30, 2017

Sherry Smith

Family member

Bell family members

Please pray for my sister Sherry Smith and family members that are trapped in the Texas flood waters. I just got off the phone with her and she said that the water was pretty high up and that they were waiting for rescue. This is a photo that she sent to me. (See above.)

Update: l received a call from my sister in Texas. Both her and the kids have been rescued and taken to a safe location. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Jerry T. Bell, Jr. (r) with Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, at vigil.

VOD: Jerry T. Bell Jr. is a well-known community activist in both Warren and Detroit.  He is currently challenging Warren’s racist districting policies and election requirements. His family was devastated in 2016 when his cousin Terrance Kellom, 19, was viciously executed by a multi-agency task force in front of his father Kevin Kellom and other family members. Jerry fought for justice for Terrance Kellom. He is also an accomplished hydroplane racer who has fought for years to get into the Gold Cup races on the Detroit River, dominated by white drivers and administrators. 

Can the politicians heed the lessons of Hurricane Harvey?

Posted August 30, 2017 (excerpted)

Hovering Hurricane Harvey, loaded and reloading with trillions of gallons of water raining down on the greater Houston region—ironically the hub of the petroleum refining industry—is an unfolding, off the charts tragedy for millions of people. Many of those most affected are minorities and low-income families with no homes, health care or jobs to look forward to once the waters recede.

Will this tragedy teach us the lessons that so many politicians and impulsive voters have been denying for so long?

The first lesson is that America must come home: we must end the Empire of Militarism and of playing the role of policeman of the planet. Both of these habitual roles are backfiring and depleting trillions of taxpayer dollars that could be better used toward rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, strengthening our catastrophe-response networks and preparing for the coming megastorms like Hurricane Harvey. A projected trillion dollars being spent by Obama, and now Trump, just to upgrade nuclear weapons will only spur another arms race with Russia and China. This money could be more productively spent protecting Americans from immediate threats, such as natural disasters from man-made climate change.

Politicians must stop overstuffing a bloated military budget and leaving our country fiscally unprepared to handle mass epidemics and mass megastorms. In short, will they stop leaving our country defenseless against the prospects of huge levels of mortality and morbidity?

Houston residents make their way on foot through flood -where is the military now?

Second, Congressional and White House deniers of man-made climate disruption must renounce their dogmatic ignorance and confront the reality in the scientific warnings about the accelerating wrath of a provoked natural world.

Last month, I asked Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe—who has called climate change a “hoax”—what level of evidence would change his mind about climate change. He has not replied yet. But that is the question that should be asked of all Trumpsters, including the voters who share their disregard: Just what series of climate events  – what piles of scientific measurements and documentations now in the Arctic, the Andes, Antarctica, Greenland, the Maldives, etc. – could change their minds?

Third, our elected officials must accept that continuing to waste trillions of dollars on corporate subsidies, bailouts, giveaways and lack of enforcement of costly crime—crony capitalism—further weakens our country’s capacity to foresee and forestall omnicidal disasters.

Houston residents in shelter.

Enough, also, of the Congressional Republicans starving the IRS budget so it cannot collect more of the many billions of dollars in uncollected global corporate taxes. These Republicans don’t seem to connect the size of deficits, which they detest, with uncollected tax revenue, now estimated by the IRS to exceed $350 billion a year.

Maybe someone should finally write a book entitled “Listen, Voters.” It could start by asking why enough voters keep electing politicians, who sweet talk them, only hook up with corporations and an ideology of corporatism that adversely affects the very voters who put them into office, along with many other Americans. . . .

The August 29, 2017 Washington Post paused from its extensive coverage of the destruction in Houston to laud the “Flood of Courage” in its lead editorial. It wrote of the “massive – and inspiring – volunteer rescue response…With nothing more than their own courage, good people ventured into the rushing gullies and culverts, risking their lives to save others in the unrelenting rain.”

While Trump tweets and hopefully reconsiders his earlier cruel budget cuts for FEMA and other life-saving federal agencies – such as the Centers for Disease Control and the EPA – the people are swinging into action on the ground.

Texas, Louisiana under water: Capitalist crime scene

By Deirdre Griswold posted on August 29, 2017

Aug. 29 — The coasts of Texas and Louisiana have become an ongoing crime scene. The crime is against the millions of people living along the Gulf of Mexico as well as their property — and it is a crime against nature itself.

And who are the criminals? Some are the same politicians who, like Donald Trump, jump before the cameras to assure the public that everything possible is being done to protect them, when in fact the forces of government are doing the barest minimum.


Others shy away from publicity — like the multibillionaire oil and gas magnates who have amassed huge fortunes over the decades promoting the very technologies that have warmed the planet and made such disasters inevitable.

They undermined mass transit in order to promote the car culture. Once the drastic effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere became known, what did they do? As one science publication wrote in 2015: “Exxon knew about climate change almost 40 years ago — A new investigation shows the oil company understood the science before it became a public issue and spent millions to promote disinformation.” (Scientific American, Oct. 26, 2015)

In plain words, they lied to the people. And the people are those who suffer the consequences, not the very rich who can jet to wherever pleases their luxurious lifestyle.

Texas, oil and Gov. Abbott

The human toll of this continuing tragedy will not be known until the waters subside, if ever. Unprecedented rains keep falling, turning an area the size of South Carolina into a vast, muddy lake. Yet already Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is telling the people that this “is one of the largest disasters America has ever faced” and there will be “a new normal for this entire region.”

And who is Abbott? Just two months ago, he signed a resolution sponsored by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers that urged the federal government to reverse “some of the harmful regulations that have stunted the growth of our industry.”

Victims of politicians’ de-regulation need to sue the oil and gas industries

The resolution applauds “the more than 20 lawsuits that Texas has filed in conjunction with many other oil and gas producing states against federal over-regulation that prioritizes minor environmental gains over major productive losses.”

“Minor environmental gains.” How ironic and telling that Hurricane Harvey, which has now dumped up to four feet of rain on parts of Texas and Louisiana since Aug. 25, is hitting the very states where the oil companies control the political structure lock, stock and barrel.

The billionaire owners of these companies should be behind bars — in the very jails that are now under water in Houston and other cities.

Scientists cannot say a particular storm is caused by global warming. There have always been hurricanes and floods. But they emphatically confirm that the increase in severe weather events now being experienced around the globe is caused by warmer temperatures.

NOAA handout: satellite photo of monstrous Hurricane Harvey

Did nobody see this coming? What about this article from the Washington Post, which appeared on March 21 of this year:

“Water temperatures at the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and near South Florida are on fire. They spurred a historically warm winter from Houston to Miami. … In the Gulf, the average sea surface temperature never fell below 73 degrees over the winter for the first time on record, reported Eric Berger of Ars Technica. Galveston, Tex., has tied or broken an astonishing 33 record highs since Nov. 1, while neighboring Houston had its warmest winter on record.”

The article predicted “intense thunderstorms” would follow. Indeed they have, and much more.

A dying social system

The cataclysm of global warming is a live-or-die test of the capitalist system, which puts profits for the ruling class before everything else. And there is no question that this social system is in critical condition. The proliferation of wars and “natural” disasters around the world attests to this fact.

Moreover, the seemingly unstoppable widening of the gap between rich and poor has reached the point in the U.S. where the richest 1/100th of 1 percent now account for almost all the gains in income..

Thousands of ordinary people — not the 0.01% — have volunteered their time and boats to help the people of the Gulf Coast escape the rising waters. It is commendable, but it also shows what is lacking: an organized, massive response to a disaster situation that requires planning and the allocation of great resources. That hasn’t happened.

Is it a problem of resources? Hardly.

Beginning in 2016, the U.S. government announced it would allocate a trillion dollars — $1,000,000,000,000! — over the next 30 years to “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It’s one of the projects begun under President Barack Obama that Trump has had no difficulty embracing. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability called it the “Trillion Dollar Trainwreck,” adding, “This plan directly benefits the private corporations that are invested in the maintenance and production of nuclear weapons.”

Where are the trillions Trump promised to rescue Houston residents?

What this country really needs is not more nuclear weapons in order to impose imperialist terms on the rest of the world, but an all-out plan to combat global warming. That’s already responsible for so many deaths from hurricanes, heat waves, torrential rains, flooding, mud slides — and it is only intensifying.

The answer of the Trump administration? Pull out of the Paris Accords, which were weak to begin with, and deny that climate change even exists. The country that boasts of “leading the world” is the biggest drag on human progress.

The U.S. economy has way, way overgrown this profit-motivated capitalist system. The ownership and control of the vast means of production by a handful of billionaires are completely incompatible with a globalized economy in which the labor of hundreds of millions of workers contributes to the making and distribution of every product. Capitalism is a reactionary, self-destructive anachronism that must be shattered.

Socialized ownership of the means of production is necessary if we as a species are to take control of our destiny. We have the knowledge and the means to plan for an infinitely better world. What we need is a movement independent of the corrupt political machinery that has imposed the rule of the very few on the many.

Homeless man finds shelter from the storm.

Texas toxic waste sites flooded EPA not on scene

Jason Dearen and Michael Biesecker, Associated Press Published 5:33 p.m. ET Sept. 2, 2017 | Updated 6:03 p.m. ET Sept. 2, 2017 

In this Aug. 31, 2017 file photo, a barbed-wire fence encircles the Highlands Acid Pit that was flooded by water from the nearby San Jacinto River as a result from Harvey in Highlands, Texas.(Photo: Jason Dearen / AP)


 Highlands, Texas — As Dwight Chandler sipped beer and swept out the thick muck caked inside his devastated home, he worried whether Harvey’s floodwaters had also washed in pollution from the old acid pit just a couple blocks away.

Long a center of the nation’s petrochemical industry, the Houston metro area has more than a dozen Superfund sites, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as being among America’s most intensely contaminated places. Many are now flooded, with the risk that waters were stirring dangerous sediment.

Dwight Chandler

The Highlands Acid Pit site near Chandler’s home was filled in the 1950s with toxic sludge and sulfuric acid from oil and gas operations. Though 22,000 cubic yards of hazardous waste and soil were excavated from the acid pits in the 1980s, the site is still considered a potential threat to groundwater, and the EPA maintains monitoring wells there.

When he was growing up in Highlands, Chandler, now 62, said he and his friends used to swim in the by-then abandoned pit.

“My daddy talks about having bird dogs down there to run and the acid would eat the pads off their feet,” he recounted on Thursday. “We didn’t know any better.”

The Associated Press visited seven Superfund sites in and around Houston during the flooding. All had been inundated with water; some were accessible only by boat.

EPA spokeswoman Amy Graham could not immediately provide details on when agency experts would inspect the Houston-area sites. She said Friday that EPA staff had checked on two other Superfund sites in Corpus Christi and found no significant damage.

“We will begin to assess other sites after flood waters recede in those areas,” Graham said.

At the Highlands Acid Pit on Thursday, the Keep Out sign on the barbed-wire fence encircling the 3.3-acre site barely peeked above the churning water from the nearby San Jacinto River.

A fishing bobber was caught in the chain link, and the air smelled bitter. A rusted incinerator sat just behind the fence, poking out of the murky soup.

Across the road at what appeared to be a more recently operational plant, a pair of tall white tanks had tipped over into a heap of twisted steel. It was not immediately clear what, if anything, might have been inside them when the storm hit.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has called cleaning up Superfund sites a priority, even as he has taken steps to roll back or delay rules aimed at preventing air and water pollution. President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget seeks to cut money for the Superfund program by 30 percent, though congressional Republicans are likely to approve a less severe reduction.

Like Trump, Pruitt has expressed skepticism about the predictions of climate scientists that warmer air and seas will produce stronger, more drenching storms.

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Under the Obama administration, the EPA conducted a nationwide assessment of the increased threat to Superfund sites posed by climate change, including rising sea levels and stronger hurricanes. Of the more than 1,600 sites reviewed as part of the 2012 study, 521 were determined to be in 1-in-100 year and 1-in-500 year flood zones. Nearly 50 sites in coastal areas could also be vulnerable to rising sea levels.

The threats to human health and wildlife from rising waters that inundate Superfund sites vary widely depending on the specific contaminants and the concentrations involved. The EPA report specifically noted the risk that floodwaters might carry away and spread toxic materials over a wider area.

Jehovah’s Witnesses help clean out Houston home, protected against hazardous waste.

The report listed two dozen Superfund sites determined to be especially vulnerable to flooding and sea-level rise. The only one in Texas, the Bailey Waste Disposal site south of Beaumont, is on a marshy island along the Neches River. The National Weather Service said the Neches was expected to crest on Saturday at more than 21 feet above flood stage — 8 feet higher than the prior record.

In Crosby, across the San Jacinto River from Houston, a small working-class neighborhood sits between two Superfund sites, French LTD and the Sikes Disposal Pits.

The area was wrecked by Harvey’s floods. Only a single house from among the roughly dozen lining Hickory Lane was still standing.

After the water receded on Friday, a sinkhole the size of a swimming pool had opened up and swallowed two cars. The acrid smell of creosote filled the air.

Arkema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas burns.

Rafael Casas’ family had owned a house there for two decades, adjacent to the French LTD site. He said he was never told about the pollution risk until it came up in an informal conversation with a police officer who grew up nearby. Most of the homes had groundwater wells, but Casas said his family had switched to bottled water.“You never know what happens with the pollution under the ground,” said Casas, 32. “It filters into the water system.”

His neighbor, Mary Ann Avila, was sobbing as she surveyed her waterlogged home across from the sinkhole. She said officials had sent her a letter warning her to have her well tested. She said her family hadn’t had any health problems in the 17 years she’s lived there.

“Even the man that drilled our well drank from it,” said Avila, 39. “But we basically just bathe, wash our face and wash our teeth with it. But not drinking water.”

The water had receded by Saturday at Brio Refining Inc. and Dixie Oil Processors, a pair of neighboring Superfund sites about 20 miles southeast of downtown Houston in Friendswood. The road was coated in a layer of silt. Mud Gully Stream, which bisects the two sites, was full and flowing with muddy water.

Both sites were capped with a liner and soil as part of EPA-supervised cleanup efforts aimed at preventing the contamination from spreading off the low-lying sites during floods. Parts of the Brio site were elevated by 8 feet.

John Danna, the manager hired by the companies to oversee the sites, said in a phone interview that he went there after the storm and saw no signs of erosion. He said he didn’t know how high the flooding got in Harvey’s wake and that no testing of the water still draining from the area had been conducted. EPA staff are expected to visit in the next week, he said.

This Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 photo shows the heavily polluted Patrick Bayou in the Houston Ship Channel that was flooded during Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston. The bayou, which sits next to a chemical plant in an intensely industrial area of Houston, is polluted with pesticides, hydrocarbons, metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Floodwaters have inundated at least five highly contaminated toxic waste sites near Houston, raising concerns that the pollution there might spread. (Photo: Jason Dearen / AP)

A security guard at the Patrick Bayou Superfund site, just off the Houston Ship Channel in Deer Park, said Saturday that flooding came hundreds of feet inland during the storm. The water has since receded back into the bayou, where past testing has shown the sediments contain pesticides, toxic heavy metals and PCBs. The site, surrounded by active petrochemical facilities, is still awaiting a final plan for cleanup.

San Jacinto Superfund waste site just across the street from this scene.

The San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site was completely covered with floodwaters when an AP reporter saw it Thursday. According to its website, the EPA was set to make a final decision this year about a proposed $97 million cleanup effort to remove toxic waste from a paper mill that operated there in the 1960s.

The flow from the raging river washing over the toxic site was so intense it damaged an adjacent section of the Interstate 10 bridge, which has been closed to traffic due to concerns it might collapse.

There was no way to immediately assess how much contaminated soil from the site might have been washed away. According to an EPA survey from last year, soil from the former waste pits contains dioxins and other long-lasting toxins linked to birth defects and cancer.


Kara Cook-Schultz, who studies Superfund sites for the advocacy group TexPIRG, said environmentalists have warned for years about the potential for flooding to inundate Texas Superfund sites, particularly the San Jacinto Waste Pits.

“If floodwaters have spread the chemicals in the waste pits, then dangerous chemicals like dioxin could be spread around the wider Houston area,” Cook-Schultz said. “Superfund sites are known to be the most dangerous places in the country, and they should have been properly protected against flooding.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, speaking with reporters at a news conference on Saturday after the AP report was published, said he wants the EPA “in town to address the situation.”

Turner said he didn’t know about the potential environmental concerns soon enough to discuss them with President Donald Trump.

“Now we’re turning out attention to that,” he said. “It is always a concern. The environment is very concerning, and we’ll get right on top of it.”

Associated Press writer Jay Reeves contributed to this report. Biesecker reported from Washington.

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Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred responds to a question Aug. 24, 2017 at the two-day meeting of Major League Baseball owners in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Douglas J. Gladstone

VOD Guest Column

Published August 30, 2017              

Tony Clark, Exec. Director MLBPA, during his days as a Detroit Tigers All-Star.

When he received the coveted Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City last June, Tony Clark, the former Detroit Tigers All-Star first baseman who is now the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) – the first former player to ever hold that position, by the way — referenced a quote from the late Muhammad Ali.“Success is what you achieve,” said Clark. “Your significance is what you leave.”

That’s nice, isn’t it?

But talk is cheap. Just ask former Detroit pitchers Steve Grilli and Chuck Seelbach. Or retired second baseman Chuck Srivener, of Birmingham, Michigan.  Or Carmen Fanzone, the versatile utility player for the Cubs and Red Sox who grew up in Detroit and went to Cass Technical High School and later Central Michigan. 

Or Herb Washington, the former Michigan State track star who became the designate punch runner for the Oakland Athletics.

All are among the 500 retirees without (MLB) pensions.




For the most part, baseball players nowadays are set for life. Vested retirees are able to earn as much as $210,000; even the minimum pension for someone who played after 1980 is a reported $34,000.

Except for guys like Fanzone, Grilli, Scrivener and Seelbach. They only get $625 for every quarter of service credit of 43 game days they accrued, up to 16 quarters or $10,000.

Unlike a real pension, the non-qualified retirement benefit the pre-1980 retirees receive cannot be passed on to any of the players’ spouses, loved ones or designated beneficiaries; when the man dies, the payment dies with him.  Since they are not vested, these men are also not eligible to buy into the league’s generous health insurance plan, either. 

Threatened MLB Players strike.

During the 1980 Memorial Day Weekend a threatened players strike was averted when the late Ray Grebey, the negotiator for the league, made the following offer to the late Marvin Miller and Don Fehr of the players’ association — going forward, every player would automatically qualify for a pension after 43 game days of service, and he’d qualify for health coverage after only one game day.

The problem for all the pre-1980 players was the proposal was never made retroactive.

However, Ronald Dean, an employment benefits attorney who has argued cases before the State Supreme Appellate Court in California, is quoted as saying that “under ERISA it is perfectly permissible to make an amendment retroactive even if it then vests those who were previously unvested.” Even MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred concedes it can be done, but only in collective bargaining.

Atty. Ronald Dean

To date, the MLBPA has been loath to divvy up anymore of the collective pie. Even though Forbes recently reported that the current players’ pension and welfare fund is valued at $2.7 billion, Clark has never commented about these non-vested retirees, many of whom are filing for bankruptcy at advanced ages, having banks foreclose on their homes and are so sickly and poor that they cannot afford adequate health care coverage.

Clark is a widely respected, erudite figure. So it’s a head scratcher why he doesn’t want to go to bat for these men.

‘Cause if he did, he really would be leaving these men something of great significance. And that would be a nice achievement on his part.

Douglas J. Gladstone is the author of two books and multiple newspaper, magazine and webzine stories. He and his family reside in New York.


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Attorney and guardian Mary Rowan

Rowan kidnaps partly-blind young woman without notice to her mother, who has co-guardianship, or court order

Places her in unlicensed group home with other Rowan wards

Residents of home pay $600 rent to share one bedroom, out of SSI checks

Put on close-to-starvation diet, subjected to bedbugs, abuse

Ward petitions Judge Judy Hartsfield to remove Rowan

By Diane Bukowski

August 28, 2017

Rowan assistant Katie McDonald

VOD Editor: This is one of a series of stories VOD has done on what amounts to vicious abuse by guardian and attorney Mary Rowan. Her usual M.O. is to wrangle guardianship papers from the many Wayne County Probate Court judges who appoint her, then immediately proceed to seize the ward from their current residence, without a court order of removal, without notice, and without bringing their clothing and personal belongings. She and her assistant Katie McDonald then place them in various venues including group homes without notifying their family members of their location.

The next step is to get control of the ward’s finances, and frequently move on to seize real and personal property. Perfectly competent, independent elders such as Gayle Robinson have been seized from their well-tended homes and eventually forced into nursing homes.

U.S.M.C. veteran Gayle Robinson with photo of her late husband Russell, also a veteran.

Today, according to her son Randy Robinson, Wayne County Probate Court Judge Terrance Keith heard arguments on removing Rowan as guardian and possibly placing Robinson with her daughter Kathy, in order to remove her from a nursing home with ties to Rowan allies.  The entire family must agree to this arrangement. The next hearing on the matter is October 12.

Even under her daughter’s guardianship, Robinson would lose her independence and may lose her home of many years, where she raised her 10 children with her husband, both of them veterans. While held captive in the nursing home Rowan put her in, Mrs. Robinson was drugged and thoroughly traumatized.

During the hearing, Keith first threatened another son, Ricky Robinson,  with arrest for kidnapping for bringing his mother to her own hearing from the nursing home. Rowan had forced her there with no court order from Keith. Rowan had forbidden many of Mrs. Robinson’s adult children from seeing or communicating with her.

At one point, Gayle Robinson fled the state to stay with her brother on the west coast, to avoid forced placement in a nursing home. Judge Keith jailed Randy Robinson indefinitely until his mother returned, although Keith had no jurisdiction over adults living in another state.

Sharmian Sowards with mom Wanda Worley before her current health crisis.

Meanwhile, Sharmian Sowards, a well-known country singer, has been battling charges brought by Mary Rowan against her in 33rd District Court, Brownstown Twp. The city has charged Sowards with “assaulting, resisting and obstructing” Rowan when she came to seize her mother Wanda Worley from her home.

Rowan had no court order of removal or showed Sowards any court papers at all. Sowards twice denied her entrance to her property. Worley is currently unable to leave her bed due to severe complications from spinal surgery and faulty pain management that followed. At one point she almost died, according to Sowards.

As her sole caregiver, Sowards said she cannot leave her mother’ s side and has asked 33rd District Court Judge Hesson for an adjournment of a trial set for Aug. 30-31, until her mother, her chief witness, recovers and the two can find transportation to the court hearing. The prosecution has complained that the next jury trial is not available until October, but Sowards says that is not a problem as long as her mother recovers.

Below is the petition filed by Kristina Brockington, 22, on Aug. 24 to remove Mary Rowan as her co-guardian, citing numerous violations of her rights as a ward and Rowan’s duties as a guardian. This is a move rarely used by wards because guardians do not inform them of their rights as they are required to do.

Regina Gargos, Brockington’s mother, has started a Facebook page on Mary Rowan, titled “Victims of M*ry  Rowan Wayne County Serial Kidnapper” at*ry%20rowan%20wayne%20county%20serial%20kidnapper

Official declaration of Kristina M. Brockington, DOB 06/16/1995 Re: Wayne County Probate Court Case 2014-736670-GA (attachment to Terminate Guardianship of Mary Rowan Co- Guardian) to Wayne County Probate Judge Judy A. Hartsfield. Filed Aug. 24, 2017.

Wayne Co. Probate Court Judge Judy Hartsfeld

In keeping with MCL § 700.5310 (2)(3), and MCL § 700.5310 (a)(b) I Kristina M. Brockington, am petitioning Wayne County Probate Court to terminate Mary Rowan’s C0-Guradianship of myself, and to give, my mother and legal Co-Guardian full permanent guardianship of myself.  Per state law, I am requesting a hearing on this matter as required within 28 days. My mother, Regina M. Gargus was originally appointed as my guardian by this court, to which I had no objection.

Mary Rowan was appointed as Co-Guardian by this court to assist my mother in helping me to secure housing, as this court had determined that my home was not suitable, which if I had been there, however; unable at that time due to an injury; I would have objected to that analysis.

During the term of her Co-Guardianship, Mary Rowan has grossly violated my rights as a ward and her duties as a guardian.  She NEVER gave me a personal notice of her appointment, NEVER consulted me about major decisions affecting me, and has done nothing to secure services for me, so that I can return to managing my own affairs, as my mother has.

She has not made adequate provisions for my care, comfort and maintenance. Instead:

Took me from my home in Livonia where I was living with four other girls that were of my peer. She informed us through her aide Katie McDonald, that I did not have a choice.

Kristina Brockington, 22, back with her mother who nursed her back to health but was threatened by Mary Rowan for removing her from bedbug-infested group home.

She put me in a group home that was a 2 br. Brick home in Detroit, and was 40 minutes from not only my mother, but all of my friends and family. I felt extremely alone and isolated. I went from being around my friends, family and mother on regular bases, to being completely isolated, as no one was nearby.  My mother could not help as much as before, due to being that far away.

While I was in the group home, I was assaulted twice, threatened not only by a resident with serious mental issues on a daily bases,  but at times the caregiver Andreana. Andreana would get in my face often and say things like “You know I can kick your ass?” These types of  screaming threats were made at least once a week.

The caregivers, with the knowledge of the home provider, Lesa Judkins would offer me marijuana daily, even after this court asked me to stop, which they were informed. The last time I smoked with the caregiver Andreana was July 4, 2017.

 My mother prior to Katie Mc Donald removing me without a court order, helped me to quit pot, and they were offering it to me; I partook, as I was depressed from being away from my hometown, family and friends. As long as I am in my mother’s care, she makes sure I do not use it, nor does she support it; and with her support I manage quit.

I was CONSTANTLY screamed at by the caregiver.

I was told by the caregivers and Lesa Judkins that we were NOT allowed to call 911 or call for an ambulance even if we feel we need to get medical attention. (this was made very clear, like a 10 commandment).

Kristina’s mother Regina Gargos

I was never allowed to go in the kitchen, even for a glass of water. We had to ask; and many times were denied, depending on the mood of the caregiver at the time. As you can imagine, this was VERY dehumanizing and humiliating as a completely competent adult; and one that is still trying to regain back her independence.

I was attacked twice by the same resident that suffered from severe Alzheimer’s disease, and was extremely aggressive; she would try to not only attack myself, but other residents and caregivers with forks and knives.  The provider Lesa Judkins was informed more than several times that this resident is a threat not only to herself, but others. Lesa to this date has done nothing to resolve this issue. Katie Mc. Donald, the aide to Mary Rowan was also informed by me at our case management meeting.

The caregivers would make fun of me, sometimes jokingly, but not always. Made me feel insecure, and I would tell them that, but the teasing would continue.

Bologna or ham sandwich for lunch every day, no vegetables

We ate the SAME THREE meals EVERYDAY! *Cereal * Bologna or ham sandwich* (Lunch was skipped at least 3 days a week, due to not enough for everyone}. Then dinner was a very small portion of over baked chicken and noodles stuff; never any vegetables, we never had any dairy. The only thing to drink was water or Kool-Aid. There was never a completely balanced meal, and most of the time there was never enough food.

The caregivers many times went into their own pocket to buy food. Sometimes it was due to not enough food; and other times, they were sick of the same three meal options as well. My mother would get me Jimmy Johns on the days there was not enough food. This would be the only times I would get anything fresh or fresh vegetables. Almost all of their condiments were outdated by up to three years.

When I got a new roommate, another Mary Rowan ward (4 out of the 8 people were ALL Mary Rowan Wards, and NONE of them never met her, which violates state guardianship law that guardians must see their wards every three months.) She came with no belongings. She was 50 and had the mind of a 10 year-old I would guess, and had a serious seizure disorder. She was there for 10 days with no clothes, hygiene products or anything.  She and I made several calls to Katie McDonald with continued false promises. Katie Mc. Donald then left town to get married last I heard, at that time.

By day four, my roommate was not feeling well at all. She was not drinking, or eating, and her seizures were getting worse every day. I was becoming very concerned about her wellbeing. Lesa was informed, and had the House DR. come out. My roommate was requesting hospitalization, and was denied by Lesa Judkins and the DR.

By day 5, I had tried to contact the only number I had; Lesa’s she would let the calls go to voice mail.

By day 8 my roommate was begging for an ambulance. Even though I was told I better never call them, I did.  At that time I was threatened by the caregiver, and Lesa Judkins that if the ambulance would take her to the hospital, I would be going with them.

The Home was infested with bed bugs, and I suffered from bites and sores because of them. All of my complaints were ignored for months. I still have extensive scarring from them.

Lesa Judkins tied up a puppy pit bull to the corner of the yard for at least a week. He was in the sun, in the 92 degree weather with no shelter or shade; he was also forced to stay tied up in a rain storm; he would cry all day and through the night at times.  The puppy was on a chain 3-5 feet in length, and due to the shortness of the chain; was literally laying in his own urine and poop. After a week, I made a complaint to Lesa, again ignored; so I contacted animal control at which point I informed Lesa, and she removed the dog to an unknown location after that.

Scars from bedbug bites on Kristina.

I was again threatened by Lesa, that next time she would take my phone and I’ll never find it again if I pull that “shit” again. I replied with “that is animal abuse” she replied “no it’s not.  What I find disturbing is the fact that she is completely obtuse to the fact that it is abuse, and running homes for people with even more disabilities than me.

They have 8 people in a 2 bedroom home, 3 men live in the basement with no separate entrance, and block windows. My mother told me, that was against all city fire codes, as she used to work for a fire department as a Paramedic. One lady is literally living on the back porch, where there is no heat.

This court ordered my mom and Mary Rowan to have a case Management meeting at the group home, Mary Rowan was a no show, instead it was her aid, Katie McDonald. My mother took notes. I was present as well; and your honor ordered that the Co-Guardian discuss social services for me. Instead 43 minutes Katie went on and on about SSI and SSD and how she could do a better job as payee than my mother. She further discussed ways she could get more money for me.

Which is good; but was not the purpose of the meeting. I was interested what they could do for me as far as education, and my goals and dreams and ways I can achieve that; which she touched on a little but only after 43 minutes of trying to convince my mother to hand over my SSI to them. I actually walked out of the meeting. No disrespect your Honor, but that was not the intent of the meeting.

Two weeks later my mother recanted her statement at the meeting and told Katie after much thought, she would not sign it over, and I agreed. Katie yelled at her, and threatened her; stating they were going to go to court and tell your Honor that my mother is not a responsible repayee, and state that there is missing paper work, and so on. Which are accusations, as Katie McDonald does not have any of my SSI paper work or information.

Lesa Judkins mug shot

After the home provider Lesa Judkins threatened me more than once, my mother did a background on her and found that Lesa has an extensive criminal history; with the latest known arrest to be in May of 2016 fleeing and eluding police. Lesa has mug shots and criminal complaints all over the internet for scams and fraudulent activities. I have attached that to this petition.

I do not believe Mary Rowan has my best interest, and here are my reasons why:

I never met her, spoke with her only in a court room on July 13th since she has been appointed.

She never showed up to the meeting that THIS court ordered to take place July 14, 2017 @ 2 PM.

She took me from a home I was content in, and put me in a home where I was abused physically and emotionally. Where I was not eating enough, where I was being bitten by bugs every day, where the caregivers and provider offering me pot. Where there are people literally piled on top of each other. Where I was FORCED to pay 600 dollars a month to SHARE a room; where I was, I was only paying 375 dollars for a room all to myself.

Mary Rowan put me in a home against my will, that has been unlicensed and uninspected and FORCED me to pay 600 dollars to a criminal, with serious past charges.

NOT once has she ever shown interest in me, getting to know me, visiting me, spending time with me. Talking with me about my interests and future.

Rowan is seated in darker blue in this photo taken just before she kidnapped Mailauni Williams (r) and held her for six months, not letting her mother Lennette Williams know where she was. Photo by the late Cornell Squires, VOD reporter. RIP.

She contacted the Bureau of  Services for Blind behind our backs and told my counselor that she was now representing me, and I no longer was going to use their agency; which was a flat out LIE! I contacted them back three weeks later and now have things back in progress. Due to her doing that, I am almost a month behind than where I should be in this process.

The only interest that Mary Rowan and her aide have shown is to get my SSI. Or any other monies they think they can get.

Mary Rowan is also currently under investigation for failure to remove a ward in January of 2017 from an unsafe home that burned down, and as a result, that blind vet that was her ward; perished in that fire; THREE months after she was ordered to remove him.

Mary Rowan is also under suspicion and current scrutiny for elderly abuse, neglect, removing wards illegally without court orders, and financial exploitation.

Mary Rowan currently has multiple complaints pending against her currently. (also attached to this petition).

Mary Rowan currently has over 1400 wards. No one can take care of that many. She gets up to 1800 per year per ward, not including any other monies that she gets from estates, and insurance policies, pensions, and SSI or SSD. I feel she is only motivated by money, and not the interests of any of her wards, including myself.

Kristina recuperating after liberation from group home.

I would like to keep Regina Gargus as my permanent guardian, because she has my best interests and always has contrary to their accusations.  Here are the reasons why:

I called and begged my mother to come get me from that group home, and she did. I was scared for my life at that point. I was so traumatized that I felt I was on an edge of a nervous breakdown. My mother got me out just in time; I couldn’t take any more of that place Mary Rowan forced me into.

My mother rescued me from that home, and continued to keep me away from them despite them calling her with threats to force me back there. She refused; she put me before herself, knowing that this court could rule against her.

When I was back in her care, she treated me for all my bed bug bites. (Which you can see pics on our phones).

I had lost 30LBS since May, and my mother spent an entire week nursing me back to health, preparing healthy fully balanced meals, and started me on a vitamin regimen right away. 

My mother stopped payment on Lesa’s rent check for August, and I had to buy all new EVERYTHING. I left most of my belongings because of the bugs.

Blind student at Kalamazoo participates in technology project fair.

My mother still helps me with my shopping, transportation, and doctor’s apts. My mother has done all this for me for the past 5 years going on, and will not stop.

She has me enrolled with services for the blind, and soon I’ll be going to Kalamazoo to learn how to live being blind, and still be independent. Mary Rowan just wants to keep me in her homes, and collect my money. That is not what I want to do with my life, my mother and I know I can do so much more. My mother believes in me, Mary Rowan just sees me as another “ward.”

I am very afraid of Mary Rowan, and what she is capable of doing. I feel she could ruin my life, even more than she already has; especially after what my mother researched.

I am asking your Honor to set a hearing within the required time limits, and to issue an order removing Mary Rowan as Co-Guardian, and make my mother Regina Gargus as my permanent Guardian, as she is the one who truly has my best interest as listed.


                                   Kristina Brockington 8/24/2017

VOD: The Wayne Co. Probate Court website lists this petition as filed, and gives a date of Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. for a hearing. It is unclear at this point if the hearing has been moved up.


Rights of an individual with a guardian:

Powers and duties of a guardian:

Michigan Mental Health Code re: placement of wards with developmental disabilities

Guardianship petitions: Summary under Michigan Law







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New policies will prevent prisoners from receiving court mailings, newspapers, magazines, books

Could deny constitutionally guaranteed access to courts

Further restricts prisoners’ access to families, outside world

Efren Paredes, Jr.

By Efren Paredes, Jr.

Published August 23, 2017

Today the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) issued a memorandum notifying prisoners and members of the public about new changes being made to the “Prisoner Mail” policy, PD 05.03.118, which should rattle the national conscience.

The changes will be strictly enforced beginning October 1, 2017. According to the memorandum, “Mail received that violates any of these regulations will be returned to the sender and/or rejected by the mailroom staff in accordance with PD 05.03.118.”

The following is the list of new regulations listed in the memorandum: –

  • All mail must be received in WHITE envelopes only;
  • No security features will be permitted. –
  • Padded, cardboard, tear resistant, or similar envelopes will not be allowed. –
  • Stickers of any kind, including return address labels, are prohibited. –
  • Mail containing stains of any type, including but not limited to, perfume, lipstick, oily substances, water marks, body fluids, etc., are not allowed. –
  • Only mail written in blue or black ink or lead pencil is permitted. Mail written in marker, crayon, paint, glitter, chalk, charcoal, or colored inks is not permitted. –
  • Mail must not contain glue/paste or nontransparent tape of any type. –
  • Greeting cards must be no larger than 6″ x 8″, single-fold, commercially produced with no embellishments, including but not limited to, cutouts, jewels, raised areas, etc.

Magazines like this are mailed out with address labels

The above list includes the most restrictive changes ever made to the MDOC “Prisoner Mail” policy. It appears that administrators are making a strong push to discourage the use of U.S. Mail to communicate with prisoners for anything other than sending letters, photographs, and legal correspondence, and encouraging people to use email (Jpay) instead.

Many courts, attorneys, book vendors, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and members of the public use address labels to mail letters to prisoners. According to the new memorandum all these examples of mail will qualify to be rejected. The new policy changes are going to create major mail backlogs at each prison because of this.

There are 41,000 prisoners in Michigan and tens of thousands of citizens who are related to or know prisoners who will be adversely affected by the new policy changes. It is impossible to notify everyone of the mail policy revisions in such a short period of time before the effective date of the changes.

It could also result in prisoners missing court filing deadlines and consequently denial of access to the courts. The MDOC allows members of the public to send prisoners email through their approved email portal which is The problem is there are limitations to the mail that can be sent this way and it is very costly, costing $0.20 per page. Document attachments also cannot be sent using this platform.

People who use are required to set up an account and locate prisoners they would like to write by their prison number. For instance, someone trying to write me using the platform can do so by locating me on the web site with my prison number, “203116”. People can follow the same steps for sending emails to other Michigan prisoners as well, only they enter the prison number of the prisoner they are trying to contact. Letters and emails are vital to rehabilitation.

For families who cannot afford to visit prisoners or the exorbitant price of prisoner phone calls, letters and emails are the only form of communication available to them. It is the only way members of the public can find out how prisoners are doing and remain involved in their lives. This is especially true in the case of prisoners who have served many years behind bars.

It is important that people not allow the new mail restrictions to discourage them from communicating with prisoners. Letters and emails provide hope to prisoners and help them remain tethered to the outside world. In some cases it is their only connection. Mail is one of the most meaningful things in prisoners’ lives and I encourage readers to not reduce sending it.

You are encouraged to circulate this message with as many prisoner family members, friends, and attorneys possible to prevent them from sending prisoners any mail which may contravene the new pernicious MDOC prisoner mail policy restrictions and result in avoidable mail delivery delays. You are welcome to share this message via social media and email.

For those who may view this development as insignificant, I ask you to consider the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, and whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Everyone will be impacted by the new changes at some point because of the persistent uncontrollable growth of mass incarceration.

(Efren Paredes, Jr. is a Michigan prisoner who is a social justice advocate, educator, and blogger. You can learn more about Efren and receive updates about his latest writings by visiting or

VOD editor: VOD has received a response to this article from Holly Kramer, the Communications Representative for the MDOC, published below. In our response to her, we asked that the clarifications she makes be sent out to all prisoners and their families as well, since the official notice as given to prisoners only contains the language in the story. VOD is aware of the fact that some prisoners have died from the results of drugs sent under mailing labels, although we have not been made aware of other factors Ms. Kramer cites until now.

 From Holly Kramer, MDOC Communications Representative:

I just saw this story and I wanted to take the opportunity to set a few things straight.

This policy only covers personal mail and does not impact legal mail or materials coming from publishers and approved vendors, such as newspapers, books or magazines, or other packages. It will not restrict prisoners’ access to the courts.

While these changes do impose more restrictions on incoming personal mail, they are in line with changes that have been made to policies governing personal mail at institutions across the country.

This was not done to discourage the use of U.S. mail to communicate with prisoners. The reason is, we have been seeing more people attempting to send contraband – particularly controlled substances like suboxone, concealed in personal mail. This is already an issue in our mailrooms, where staff are finding suboxone strips under labels and concealed with the use of colored paper, marker, crayon or other materials.

It is unfortunate that we have to institute changes like this because of those with negative intentions, but it is ultimately for the protection of prisoners under our supervision, as well as staff and visitors. 

When drugs enter our facilities there are a lot of negative implications, including the fact that it creates big issues for the safety and well-being of the prisoner who receives them, as well as others around them.

We have programs at our facilities to help prisoners overcome addictions they may face, and when prisoners gain access to drugs, it only undermines those efforts and can make their path to a successful life in the community more challenging. 

We agree with the writer when he says it is important for people not to let the new mail restrictions discourage them from sending personal mail, and it is indeed important for prisoners to stay connected to their support network, including family and friends.

We sent letters to prisoners and prisoner families, and made information on the change highly visible on our website because we want to give people ample warning and time to adjust to the new requirements before Oct. 1.

It is true that communication with others who can provide positive support to prisoners through letters, email, calls or visits is important for rehabilitation and success in the community. It is equally important for that communication to happen safely.


Holly Kramer

Communications Representative

Michigan Department of Corrections

206 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing, MI

O: (517) 335-3090

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Parnall Correctional Facility prisoners at graduation from Jackson College


Cortez Davis El

VOD Staff Writer

Published August 22, 2017

In the early 1990’s the Michigan Department of Corrections removed all college programs from their facilities due to being underfunded. As a result of this cut, prisoners were not being educated beyond a GED or a Vocational Certificate. This lack of education left many men and women without the proper tools needed to reenter society and be productive. While it was known by many that education is the key to success, prisoners in Michigan were denied the chance to better themselves through educational enlightenment.

Many people saw this as a disaster waiting to happen. The question was asked by prisoners and their families, how do you expect for an ex-felon to gain footing on the outside when so many things are stacked against them? Many employers are reluctant to hire people with felonies on their record and without an education, obtaining meaningful employment would be next to impossible. With the absence of education in the prison system, the recidivism rate skyrocketed beyond anything imaginable. People were leaving prison with no skills or trades that would afford them access to the American Dream without the continued lapse of their moral compass. For so many, no matter how hard they tried to stay focused and live by society’s rules doors were continuously closed on them for being a felon and not having more of an education than a GED.


This made some believe that their only option was a life of crime in order to make ends meet. When you are young, homeless, and hungry, survival and not dying are what you are focusing on. Your intent is not to hurt others or to take things that are not yours. You just want something to eat and or a warm place to lay your head. While difficulties in life are never excuses to commit crimes, being incarcerated should never be a reason to be denied an education and a chance at obtaining meaningful employment upon release. The Michigan Department of Corrections has rediscovered the value in educating its prisoners and has teamed up with various colleges to combat the emptiness of education among those returning to the community. Jackson College, Delta College, and Mott Community College are among those that are piloting college programs inside the Michigan Prisons to reduce recidivism among those that will reenter society.

The public is continuously being fed poison that negatively impacts their position on the importance of educating people in prison. Many claim not to see the need to educate the incarcerated while complaining about crime, higher taxes, and the closing of public schools that educate our children, in an effort to continue funding prisons that warehouse people instead of transforming their minds to grow and work for a maturing society.

Closed Southwestern High School in Detroit.

If you are one who believes that prisons are where society sends its failures and one day the worst of the worst will return to the community. Doesn’t it make sense to release them with the keys needed for success rather than the recipe for disaster?

Their success is a true benefit for society as a whole. They will contribute not just to the building of the economy, but also in crime prevention and the saving of our public school system. The colleges that are participating in this pilot program are owed a debt of gratitude from all parties that will benefit from the education of those that were once forgotten about. The prisoners that are blessed to be a part of this experience know that they are receiving a once in a lifetime opportunity. For many of them college was just a title that had little to know meaning to them.

“I am so excited to be going to college, this is something that I never thought was possible,” a student in the college program said to me. “Although I’m in prison, I am still the only person in my family that has ever attended college.” That statement is repeated by many and the sincerity that is behind those words shows that the men at the Thumb Correctional Facility are destined for success rather than continued failure. To sum it all up, educating the incarcerated should always be an important priority because it offers prisoners a real chance to contribute to society in a meaningful and realistic way. An educated person leaving prison has a greater chance at getting and maintaining employment that contributes to the building of social security and the economy.

The more people that leave prison with an college education increases the possibility of lower taxes due to not having to fund prisons for warehousing which now eats up over 20 percent of Michigan’s general budget annually.

Another benefit is the reduction of the crime rate and recidivism among parolees. This means safer streets for our children and seniors. Another very important benefit is the saving and rebuilding of the public schools which can also be tools in the effort to prevent neighborhood and street crimes, while shutting down the school to prison pipeline and restoring the public school to college pipeline. So how does education play a major role in the transformation of those that will one day return to society? You tell me.

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The new 3rd 120/13.8 kV Transformer installed and owned by the Great LakesWater Authority waiting for the 3rd Primary Electric Feed Line to be installed and energized.

DWSD stopped work on WWTP 3rd Feeder power project 4 years ago

Power outage of a few hours could be catastrophic in Delray, Springwells, Mexicantown; more than one week could fill region with untreated sewage

Poor communities will be targeted

Another Flint in the making?

By a Neighbor of the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 9300 W. Jefferson

August 16, 2017 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, hands on Detroit, shows how rest of 6-county DWSD region will be taken over by Great Lakes Water Authority, during bankruptcy proceedings Sept. 9, 2014

Don’t be too harsh on farmers causing algae blooms. Don’t overlook the impact of human waste.

To say, “We need a stronger mix of regulatory programs and better enforcement” is no understatement.

Read below of the shameful behavior of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the newly formed Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), operators of the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). 

Lake Erie and Toledo are directly down the Detroit River from the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Currently, the Wastewater Treatment Plant services the needs of 35 percent of Michigan’s population contained within Detroit and 76 other communities in an area of more than 946 square miles.

The WWTP treats approximately 650 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater on average. In wet weather, the Plant processes 1700 MGD. 

[VOD: Since the takeover of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) in 2014, the GLWA operates, governs contracts, and receives revenue from all treatment and other facilities formerly operated by the DWSD.] 

Detroit and the GLWA have, for all practical purposes, ignored their obligation to add reliable Primary Electrical Power to the WWTP. Practical purposes means that today there is no additional operational Primary Power contrary to DWSD publications. Thirty million borrowed dollars have been spent to accomplish this unfulfilled commitment to add Power. The Project was arbitrarily and unilaterally stopped by DWSD four years ago when only 10% of the project remained to be completed. 

The chronology below shows a deliberate procrastination with damaging consequences downriver. The consequences of a sewage back up for a few hours will be catastrophic in Delray, Springwells, and Mexicantown. A power outage for a week or more could fill the streets of Detroit, Ferndale and beyond with raw sewage.

The Primary Power Project (AKA 3rd Feeder) was fully funded. Money was not an issue. The new power could have been up and running four years ago. This risk has been undisclosed and unknown to the general Public. Similar to the Flint water situation, a catastrophe can be easily avoided. This Electrical threat could be eliminated in 90 days if politicians are pushed by the electorate, especially in this election cycle. 

It is well known that those with little cash and little or no insurance will be in the most dire and desperate circumstances from a sewage backup. Those people are primarily the growing ranks of minorities, the poor, the elderly and children. These people will probably have no choice but to abandon their homes. Why, they ask, put us at such peril? The City of Detroit has offered Delray citizens free alternate housing to move out of Delray. Could it be that a few have agreed to implement a new form of Urban Renewal? This course of inaction could vacate entire neighborhoods.   Is this the creation of a new city plan?

“We need a stronger mix of regulatory programs and better enforcement as well as the actual use of the terms transparency and accountability.”


Video above: DTE Plymouth substation explosion Aug. 17 left thousands without power. If this at happened at the Maxwell substation, the Wastewater Treatment Plant would be out of business, says story author.

The single source of electrical power to WWTP, a DTE substation named Maxwell, had a big failure in July.

Contrary to claims by GLWA regarding single sourcing, the statement that a single substation with two lines is redundant and complies with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulations is not totally accurate. 

One line went down with time to take remedial action – the questionable second line was fired up.

Cost of generators is same as cost to carry unfinished Wayne County Jail–$1M a month

There is no reliable backup for the second line and the 3rd Feeder Project was cancelled.

Consequently, Temporary Backup power was brought in via twenty 40 foot trailers with portable generators – The Plant could not rely on the existing on site generators as the Operators previously claimed.

The cost for the generators is approximately $1 Million  per month (the same as the cost to carry the defunct County Jail – Peter Paul and Mary could sing “ Where has all the money gone, long time passing”)

 The trailers have been on site for a couple months. Obviously, not a small repair.

If the outage was caused by an instantaneous event, such as lightning, both Maxwell lines may have gone down. They are only 130 feet apart.

 It took a great deal of time in good weather and without a real instantaneous crisis mode, without competition from other facilities for the same equipment, to locate nearly two dozen very large generators, mobilize, install, lay cable and switches, connect to existing hard wire facility, and avoid fire and injury. What if this happened by lightning in foul stormy weather? The Plant would be unsuccessfully trying to process 1700 million gallons per day. The backup on site generators cannot handle the load.

Of course the GLWA response will be tempered with the usual semantic trickery – Delay – Deny – Defend- Circumvent, then bring in the Ladies of ill repute, Misdirection- Misleading and Misinformation.

Fact – No portable generators would be required if DWSD completed the 3rd Feeder Project.

Upon close inspection it is evident that there have been a series of efforts over 20 years and by a multitude of “DWSD” entities to configure, argue, obfuscate and manipulate their way to an outcome whereby they would be permitted to rely on the supposed stable and omnipresent DTE Electric facilities and services that make ubiquitous, allegedly “reliable” electric utility service available to the public.  Simultaneously it was claimed in GLWA Public Meetings in September 2016 that the WWTP is vulnerable to power failure and there is no true redundant power,  and that if Maxwell goes down, the Plant will have no off site power. See


Typical basement sewage backup.

Nov. 21, 1999:  Kathleen Leavey, Deputy Director Detroit Water & Sewerage Department announced today, “The loss of our ability to treat and distribute potable water because of a power outage could have grave effects on the system. As for water, an interruption in pumping would create air pockets in the pipes that could permit pipeline contamination from groundwater. Sewage could back up into basements and surface waters. The consequences to the environment, our health and the machinery in our plants could be devastating.”


DWSD statement via Customer Outreach Portal: “upgrading an aging electrical system or backup power to this type of facility would have the highest priority due to the consequences of failure.”


Typical electrical substation.

Power failure on September 8, 2011 resulted in NPDES permit violation VN- 005096 by MDEQ. Service originated from a single electrical substation. At the time of power failure, DTE’s Maxwell A and Maxwell B substations were tied together, sharing the load for the WWTP.

The Edison Maxwell Electrical Substation, a single substation, remains in 2017 as the only source of Primary Power to the WWTP.

“In 2011, the worst year for algae on Lake Erie, there were 45 billion gallons of sewage overflows into the Detroit River to Toledo from the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant,” wrote Jim Lynch of the Detroit News. An extended Primary Power outage would have pushed this discharge backwards to homes and businesses.


DWSD has not figured out how to get from A to B.

DWSD stopped work on new Primary Electric Power Supply titled the “3rd Feeder,” (Contracts 1449 and 783), approximately 90% complete. The completed work cost $30 million borrowed funds, which included actual planning and building of a new transformer, a new building and related switches and ducts to accomplish this ‘mandated’ Electric Service. Despite this work scheduled in the Capital Improvement Plan, for nearly 20 years, DWSD has not figured out how to get from A to B.

The completed 90% of the project is similar to building a “Bridge to Nowhere.” DWSD partially built a necessary facility which does not meet the project objective – additional Primary Power to the WWTP. Required to complete the last 10 percent of the project is the connection of 3800 lineal feet of Primary Service Cable, on a relatively straight line, from the Edison Regional Power Grid, Point ‘A’, to the Treatment Plant, Point ‘B’.  That is the final 10% of the Project – “A to B”.


Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant introduced a slate of initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of phosphorus Michigan contributes to Lake Erie. He said, “While the fertilizer and animal waste that runs off from large-scale farming operations correctly gets its share of the attention, human waste — mostly in the form of combined sewer overflows — is a major contributor to the algae problem.”


Karen Rae Boase, MDEQ Enforcement Specialist wrote this email:  

The third transformer has been installed on site and the electrical switchgear for the new transformer was installed and will be tested next week.  Before the transformer can be brought on-line, DTE will have to provide the electrical feed line to the WWTP.

Larry Young of Highland Park tries to clean out sewer on his street in Aug. 2014 during massive floods actually caused by shutdown of sewage pumps at Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Michigan State officials say billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were dumped in Detroit Area Rivers and streams after flooding from heavy rains earlier this month,” MDEQ spokeswoman Laura Verona told The Detroit News in Aug. 2017. She said that about 46 percent of the nearly 10 billion gallons of sewage released Aug. 11,2014 by water treatment facilities was raw, diluted or partially treated sewage. The 4.5 billion gallons of sewage would be the equivalent of submerging Detroit’s Belle Isle in about 14 feet of water”.

“Normally, the Detroit River looks blue,” said Bob Burns, a self-proclaimed Detroit river keeper, on Wednesday. “Now it looks brown because of the runoff and the sewage discharges.”

2016 September

GLWA meeting June 12, 2015: (l to r) co-chair Gary Brown of Detroit, chair Robert Daddow of Oakland County,  Board member Brian Baker of Macomb County, with maps showing areas covered by GLWA.

THE GREAT LAKES WATER AUTHORITY (GLWA) LEGAL COMMITTEE on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:30 am said,“this urgent 3rd power supply line to the WWTP needs to be installed at the earliest. The 3rd feeder from a different utility sub-station is required and this project will make WWTP’s primary electrical power supply reliable and redundant.” Presently there is no true redundant primary electrical service feed line to the WWTP.”

GLWA, which took over operation of the WWTP and every other facility that used to be run by DWSD in 2014, has ignored its own directive.


No change since 2014.

3rd Primary Electric Feed Line needs to be installed and energized. Status Quo after nearly 20 years, the 2016 GLWA statement holds, “There is no true redundant power.”

The Detroit News reported that The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said there have been 107 laboratory-confirmed cases of preventable liver disease in Detroit and Wayne… more than eight-times the number reported during the same time period last year. Two of those people died. The disease can be spread through contact with objects, food or water contaminated by feces.

Water contaminated by feces.

Health officials say the two people both came in contact with raw sewage that backed up into a basement. Some say that given the repetitive and calculated actions of the DWSD, the inordinate time involved (20 years) the millions of dollars (over 30 Million) spent and the enormous risk (power failure) that continues to exist contrary to published requirements and project schedules provided by DWSD, may constitute a technical or non-monetary default of financing. By the same token, since the consequence of a power failure has been known to DWSD and the means of remediation have been under the care, caution and control of the DWSD, and with budget money available, and the DWSD intentional cancellation of the final solution segment over three years ago, Insurance Providers may consider claims from a power failure as a ‘set up ‘and therefore are uninsured.

The cost of the last 10% project completion does not amount to a rounding error compared to the cost of sewage cleanup.

DTE Reports on Power Interruption

Reliability Performance and Power Quality Resolution Process DTE Electric Report for 2016

Causes of Forced Interruptions – Calendar Year 2016

Forced Interruptions by Cause / Percent of Customers Interrupted

Conditions                          Trees                     Equipment           All Other 

Catastrophic Storms       74.3%                    8.7%                     17.0%

Small Storms                      56.1%                    24.5%                    19.4%

Non-Storm                         37.0%                    34.3%                    28.7%

Reliability Performance and Power Quality Resolution Process DTE Electric Report for 2015

1710       2/21 – 1622 Navarre-River Rouge    PP Interruption          Line Equipment – Interference – Ice                                      

1711            2/21 – 1622 Navarre-River Rouge     PP Voltage             Sag Line Equipment – Interference – Ice

1712      2/21 – 1622 Navarre-River Rouge     PP Voltage              Sag Line Equipment – Interference – Ice

This information may help present a more balanced perspective of the Algae / Sewage Backup Problem in the future.

Exhibits Below contain confirmation for the observations discussed above. – see CIP 366 & 1402  Enter Search – WWTP then read “Do not drink the water’ & “Near catastrophic Failure” – See Item # 10 pg 19 of 49 & Item #9 pg.30 of 40   Legal Committee / See New Business # 7 A Resolution of Necessity then scroll to pg. 60 thru 150 Board /See New Business Item 8A Resolution of Necessity – then scroll down past pg 2 of Coffee Exhibit to “Motion”.

Related from Detroit Free Press

Related VOD stories:

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Prosecution agrees to evidentiary hearing in case of Thelonious Searcy, serving natural life for crime Vincent Smothers says he committed.

Smothers projected to testify at hearing

Not only AP Muscat and DPD Sgt. Collins have history of frame-ups, so does Judge Timothy Kenny in the case of Eddie Joe Lloyd

“It’s a blessing. He said the truth would come out sooner or later.”–Searcy’s grandmother Edna Richardson

By Diane Bukowski

August 14, 2017

Thelonious Searcy

Vincent Smothers

DETROIT  —  After an unrelenting 14-year  battle to clear himself of murder and attempted murder convictions, Thelonious (Shawn) Searcy, 37, has finally won his day in court.

Admitted hitman Vincent Smothers should be there as well, to testify that he, not Searcy, committed the murder of Jamal Segars and attempted murder of Brian Minner on Conner in Detroit on Sept. 5, 2004. 

On Aug. 2, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Assistant Prosecutors Jason Williams and Thomas Chambers agreed to Searcy’s July 22, 2016 demand for an evidentiary hearing in front of Presiding Criminal Court Judge Timothy Kenny, where Smothers is expected to testify. Searcy also asked for the prosecution to address his allegations of misconduct by Judge Kenny, Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Muscat, Chief Investigating Officer Dale Collins, members of the Detroit Crime lab, and his defense counsel, included in his motion for a new trial.

Searcy said during his sentencing before Kenny on May 23, 2005, “I didn’t kill Jamal Segars. I didn’t shoot Jamal Segars . . . If you’re going to send me up, I don’t have no problem with that, but I know justice is going to come out. I know this is going to be brought to the media. I’m talking to the FBI because the Fifth Precinct Sergeant and Investigator Dale Collins, they have been harassing my family. They have been up here talking to people at the Wayne County Jail. A lot of stuff with this case was crooked.”

Private investigator Scott Lewis

Searcy’s grandmother Edna Richardson told VOD, “I think it’s a blessing. He said the truth would come out sooner or later. He always kept fighting. He never gave up hope. I believe he is innocent. I hope he comes home soon.”

Mrs. Richardson hired private investigator Scott Lewis, formerly a long-time TV news reporter, to tape an interview with Smothers confirming the confession he earlier provided in an affidavit ((included in VOD’s first story on this case).  She also paid for hundreds of pages from his Detroit police homicide file after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, which produced evidence the prosecution had withheld at trial.

Muscat and Collins were both key players in the wrongful conviction of Davontae Sanford in 2008. Judge Kenny was the prosecutor who tried Eddie Joe Lloyd for the rape and murder of 16-year Michelle Jackson in 2984. Lloyd’s case became notorious  after his exoneration in 2002. Before becoming a judge, Kenny had 20 years experience as an Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor.

Eddie Joe Lloyd died at 54 after his 2002 exoneration.

Judge Timothy Kenny prosecuted Lloyd.

After Lloyd’s exoneration, Barry C. Scheck, then co-director of the Innocence Project and Lloyd’s lawyer, said biological evidence available at the time that could have cleared Lloyd was never pursued.

He called for Kenny and William Rice, the chief officer in charge of the case, to be investigated for misconduct, according to the New York Times. He added that Detective Thomas DeGalan should be criminally prosecuted.

Kenny denied any wrongdoing in an article  in the Detroit Free Press Oct. 25, 2002.

The prosecutor’s response to Searcy’s motion, ordered by Kenny on July 28, consists of 36 pages, 33 of which are the prosecutor’s summary of Searcy’s trial transcipts, and three pages addressing Searcy’s motion for a new trial.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

The response also includes two appendices, Searcy’s March 7, 2017 letter to Detroit Police Chief James Craig about his innocence, and Judge Brian Sullivan’s order dismissing without prejudice charges against Davontae Sanford. That order blasts the veracity of Smothers’ confession to the four murders on Runyon Street in 2007 which Sanford served time for.

“The People are in agreement with this Court’s order of June 8, 2017, that there be an evidentiary hearing in this case,” the prosecutors’ response says (see full response attached below story.) VOD notes that Kenny did not order an evidentiary hearing, he simply ordered the prosecution to respond to Searcy’s motion. (See Judge Kenny’s order, and text of Thelonious Searcy’s letter to Police Chief James Craig, below as well.)

“Counsel should be appointed for Defendant Searcy, pursuant to MCR 6.505(A), as well as for Vincent Smothers, since Smothers will conceivably be implicating himself in a first-degree murder and an assault with a intent to commit murder,” the response says. Criminal defense attorney Gabi Silver represented Smothers during proceedings on the Sanford case.

The prosecution says they are not taking a definitive position on the case, but make several observations.

Police Chief James Craig with Special Ops cops during “Operation Mistletoe,” one of a series of 18 raids he has led through Detroit neighborhoods looking for individuals with outstanding warrants.

“Four people at trial identified Defendant as the shooter, or one of the shooters,” their response reads. “The People are cognizant that in a letter sent to the Chief of Police dated April 7, 2017, Defendant alleges that two of those four identifying witnesses, Latasha Boatwright and Kimberly Jeffries, were paid by DeAnthony Witcher, who the people theorized at trial was the intended victim. . . .The people acknowledge that these two people were friends of DeAnthony Witcher. This does not explain, however, why two other people, Tiffany King and Dwayne Dye, who had no horse in the race, also identified Defendant as the shooter.”

Later in the response, they admit that none of the three police officers called to the scene, two of whom chased a suspect, could identify Searcy. Neither could Brian Minner, the other individual shot in the passenger seat of Segars car.

They also allege that Smothers’ confession to the murder of four people on Runyon Street in the Sanford case was not the cause of Judge Sullivan’s 2015 order to dismiss Sanford’s conviction without prejudice. They say Sullivan’s chief reason was false testimony by Detroit Police Commander James Tolbert, who said Sanford drew a sketch of the crime scene and placed the bodies in the sketch, although it was Tolbert who drew the outline of the rooms in the sketch.

VOD earlier published and dissected Sullivan’s order, demonstrating how it ignored the actual facts in the case. (See order link below under “Related Documents: and VOD story on Sullivan order, below “Related Stories.” It is at

Judge Brian Sullivan

Both Prosecutor Kym Worthy, in a press conference after Sanford was freed, and Sullivan in his dismissal order cast aspersions on Sanford that left questions about whether he might have been guilty after all.  Judge Sullivan strongly challenged the veracity of Smothers’ confession. (Sullivan order linked below story.)

It is not known whether the murder of Sanford’s stepfather Jeremaine Tilmon on Nov. 3, 2016, allegedly by Floyd Darnell Nix, was revenge connected to the dismissal of charges against Sanford.

Tilmon was a mentor to students at Detroit’s East English Village Prep Academy and a Cease Fire activist. He participated with his family in every protest and prayer breakfast on behalf of Davontae for many years, and led a choral group at his church. Nix has a pre-trial scheduled in front of Judge Kelly Ramsey on Aug. 25, 2017, and a jury trial on Oct. 2, 2017.

RIP JEREMAINE TILMON! Davontae Sanford’s two sisters and father Jeremaine Tilmon at 2012 protest.

Meanwhile, VOD has obtained evidence related to Searcy’s case in addition to Smothers’ letter to Searcy and affidavit admitting to the Segars murder, and private investigator Scott Lewis’ interview of Smothers, featured in VOD’s first article on this case.

It includes multiple confession affidavits from Smothers addressed to Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and reporters Lester Holt and Erica Hill of “Dateline.” None of these officials responded. See

There are also notarized affidavits from Marzell Black and Anthony Lovejoy, who both said that Smothers talked to them in prison about committing the Segars murder.  Black was Smothers’ accomplice in the contract murder of Rose Cobb, police officer David Cobb’s wife.


Also see

Another affidavit is from Frederick Daniels, the brother of Jeffery Daniels, identified by Smothers as his accomplice in 2004 Segars murder. Frederick Daniels attests that his brother was indeed killed two week after the Segars murder. See

VOD noted earlier that Dale Collins, the DPD officer in charge of Searcy’s case, was involved in arresting and jailing at least 20 individuals who were kept in the Wayne County Jail in comfortable conditions for use as “snitches” in various cases, according to an article in “Truth Out.”

Now VOD has obtained news articles by Free Press reporters David Ashenfelter and David Zeman, which cite the long history of DPD’s use of warrantless witness arrests, dragnets, and other intimidation resulting in perjured testimony at trial. At least one case cited involved Dale Collins as the arresting officer.

Such practices may have resulted in  false testimony at Searcy’s trial by Muscat’s key witness, DeAnthony Witcher, and by Boatwright and Jeffries. Dale Collins was the DPD officer in charge of Searcy’s case.

DPD Sgt. Dale Collins

The Free Press articles told the stories of various victims of the round-ups, including Detroiter Terral Wade.

Wade said in her lawsuit that Collins called her at work and asked to interview her about the murder of Anthony Riggs in 1991. She said she had to pick up her toddler at her mother’s house and Collins said he would drive her there.

Instead, the Free Press reported, “she was taken to an interrogation room in Detroit’s homicide unit and locked up, the suit said. She was not allowed to call home. When she banged on the door, Sgt. William Rice handcuffed her, then threw her against the wall, breaking her nose. She was then forced to give a statement on [Anthony] Riggs’ murder.

The March-April 2001 Criminal Defense Newsletter outlined a federal class action lawsuit filed by prominent Detroit attorneys Mark Kriger, N.C. Deday LaRene, Justin Ravitz, Patricia Stamler, and Otis W Culpepper.

The lawsuit charged “that the homicide section of the Detroit Police Department has for years routinely arrested, threatened, and browbeaten persons who were not suspected of any crime, but who police believe had information about a homicide.”

The attorneys said such arrests in the absence of probable cause to believe individuals have committed a crime are civil rights violations and are unconstitutional. They said that such arrests in Detroit far exceeded proportionately the number of arrests in other major cities. These arrests were one cause for the federal consent decree imposed on the Detroit Police Department in 2001. 

The prosecution’s theory of the case was that the Segars killing was a case of mistaken identity and that the real target was DeAnthony Witcher. They alleged that Witcher drove a car identical to Segars’ 2004 silver convertible Corvette, during the “Black Party” outside City Airport. Witcher was forced to testify after answering an investigative subpoena at the prosecutor’s office and after Judge Kenny granted him  “use immunity,” which did not allow him to refuse to testify under his Fifth Amendment rights.

Prosecutor Muscat concealed from the defense that Witcher had also been arrested by Detroit police on Nov. 18, 2004, for carrying a concealed weapon, a 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun, inside of his BLUE 1998 Corvette.

Searcy’s Asst. Pros. Patrick Muscat also prosecuted Davontae Sanford.

He was also driving without a license. N0 charges ever ensued from that arrest, although Witcher’s Corvette was impounded. It is likely it was THAT arrest which Muscat used to obtain a “use immunity” order from Judge Kenny which blocked Witcher from invoking the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the case.

Police did not have Thelonious Searcy’s name prior to Witcher’s arrest. A task force consisting of dozens of Detroit and FBI officers raided Searcy’s grandmother’s home shortly afterward, on Nov. 30, 2004. Searcy was there with his then wife and his two toddler daughters, having spent the night.

Mrs. Richardson told VOD that the arresting officer, Robert Bulgarelli, threw Searcy’s young wife to the ground and kicked her after breaking in without a warrant. Police allege Searcy hid in a closet, and told them “You might as well inject me now,” when they arrested him as well as his wife. Mrs. Richardson and Searcy’s wife denied both allegations. Searcy’s two toddler daughters were present in the home during the traumatic events.

THE BIG FOUR–This photo is of the Major Crimes Mobile Unit of the Detroit Police Department. They were also referred to as the BIG FOUR. There were four officers in each car, three in suits and one, the driver, in uniform. The unit assisted Homicide, and other Major Crimes Units, as the legs on the streets attempting to solve major crimes, and then locate and arrest the wanted subjects.  Robert Bulgarelli is on the far left, in blue suit. Photo , caption by NLEOMF

Witcher testified that Searcy had a vendetta against him. He said Searcy shot him in the back outside a rental home owned by Witcher on Nov. 16, 2004, with the bullet exiting through his heart, and continued to threaten to kill him. Witcher allegedly had a quantity of marijuana at the house at the time. Witcher testified he did not seek charges against Searcy for trying to kill him, nor did the DPD bring any charges.

DeAnthony Witcher

DeAnthony Witcher in police photo line-up.

Eight witnesses all said they were with Searcy for hours during the time of Segars’ murder at an annual family barbecue on Balfour at Searcy’s mother’s home. Most said he never left the party except to use the bathroom in the house.

John Goodson, an investigator hired by Searcy’s defense, identified two other eyewitnesses, Chela Holmes and Robert Stringer, Kimberly Jeffries’ husband. Neither was called to testify at the trial. There are eyewitness accounts that Stringer objected vociferously to Collins forcing his wife to testify falsely, and was admonished by Muscat, who told him he was hurting the case against Searcy.

Boatwright was Witcher’s half-sister, and Jeffries was acquainted with him as well. However, at trial, according to the prosecutor’s response, she said she did not know Searcy.

Witcher’s uncle Harvey Witcher wrote that he overheard his nephew offering money to Boatwright to testify that she saw Searcy shoot Segars. Harvey Witcher himself later refused to identify Searcy as the man who earlier assaulted him, telling the court that he described his assailant as a “skinny man,” but was not using the term to identify Searcy, whose nickname was “Skinny Man.”

In an MLive article July 17, 2017, reporter Gus Burns wrote that Boatwright told him, “I was pregnant with my daughter when this happened . . . .Detectives, they literally, basically threatened and scared me into testifying against [Searcy].”

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

Burns said that Boatwright told him that police threatened to jail her and have Child Protective Services take custody of her unborn child, and also offered a “snitching check.” But Burns said Boatwright told him she was never paid by DPD.

He quotes her again, “I did see what I saw, but at the same time, I didn’t want any part of that. It wasn’t even about no money for me; they forced me to do it.”

Burns sought to cast doubt on the veracity of Smothers’ confession to the Segars murder. He inserted what he called a “confession” given by Smothers to two Detroit police detectives that does not admit any killings prior to 2006.

However, the “confession” is actually a jumbled exchange between Smothers and the detectives, frequently not using the names of those killed or the dates and circumstances. In it, Smothers says he can’t clearly remember when he first killed someone. (See link to MLive story below which embedded the exchange.)

It was Detroit Police Sergeant Ira Todd who took Smothers’ formal confession to twelve murders, including the four on Runyon Street for which Davontae Sanford was falsely accused. Todd was later demoted after he connected the drug trafficking involved in various cases to an alleged associate of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s in Kentucky. He filed a Whistleblower lawsuit.

Of the two eyewitnesses the prosecutor says DID identify Searcy at trial, Tiffany King had never been involved in a photo or in-person line-up to identify Searcy. She said her first time seeing him after the killing was in court. The fourth, Dwayne Dye, said during a line-up and in court that he could not identify Searcy by face, only by the clothes he was wearing.

Harvey Witcher in MDOC photo.

Searcy’s key defense witness, Harvey Witcher, the uncle of DeAnthony Witcher, was not called to the stand after he earlier testified in an evidentiary hearing that police tried to force him to say that Searcy shot him in a street assault.  During that hearing,  Witcher refused to identify Searcy, telling the court that he said a “skinny man” assaulted him. He said he was NOT referring to Searcy, whose nickname was Skinny Man.

Witcher also wrote that he overheard his nephew offering money to Boatwright to testify that she saw Searcy shoot Segars.

VOD is additionally attaching evidence that the Detroit Crime Lab, shut down after errors by P.O. Kevin Reed and others were discovered later, falsified ballistics evidence in Searcy’s case by replacing one 9 mm. shell casing originally reported found at the scene with a .45 caliber shell casing, using the same evidence tag. See

DPD Sgt. Kevin Reed

Reed is the Crime Lab officer, not certified as a forensics specialist, who testified at Searcy’s trial regarding two shell casings allegedly matching a .45 caliber gun police claim to have found in Searcy’s grandmother’s home at the time of his arrest. Searcy and his family said it was not his gun. No testimony about fingerprints on the gun was ever taken, to determine who had handled it. It was not given to the defense or entered into evidence until after Searcy’s trial had already started.

Smothers’ version of the murder of Segars and wounding of Minner is actually highly consistent with the description of .40 and .45 caliber shell casings found at the scene in the ballistics report. He said he shot Segars with a .40 caliber gun, while Daniels fired a .45 caliber gun. Witnesses at the scene said police fired shots also, possibly accounting for the original 9 mm. shell casing found there, but the officers denied firing their weapons.


Searcy’s brief with motion for a new trial:

Part One:

Part Two:



JUDGE BRIAN SULLIVAN’S ORDER IN SANFORD CASE (attached to Prosecutor’s response in Searcy case):




#FreeTheloniousSearcy, #JailCrookedCopsProsecutorsJudges, #FreeCharlesLewis, #FreeAllWrongfullyConvictedPrisoners

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