MICH. SUPREME COURT HEARS 3 KEY CASES TODAY RE: USSC RULING BARRING MANDATORY JUVENILE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE

Some of Michigan’s 371 juvenile lifers involved in current litigation: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis, Raymond Carp, and Dakotah Eliason, awaiting Michigan Supreme Court hearing of their cases March 6, 2014 ; plaintiffs in USDC case Hill v. Snyder: Henry Hill, Keith Maxey, Dontez Tillman, Jemal Tipton, Henry Hill, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley, Bosie Smith, Kevin Boyd, Damion Todd, and Jennifer Pruitt; Edward Sanders and David Walton, in prison since 1975 at the age of 17; (photos show some lifers at current age, others at age they went to prison).

Some of Michigan’s 371 juvenile lifers involved in current litigation: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis, Raymond Carp, and Dakotah Eliason, awaiting Michigan Supreme Court hearing of their cases March 6, 2014 ; plaintiffs in USDC case Hill v. Snyder: Henry Hill, Keith Maxey, Dontez Tillman, Jemal Tipton, Henry Hill, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley, Bosie Smith, Kevin Boyd, Damion Todd, and Jennifer Pruitt; Edward Sanders and David Walton, in prison since 1975 at the age of 17; (photos show some lifers at current age, others at age they went to prison).

Former Gov. William Milliken, 109 others filed amicus brief on behalf of defendants

 At issue: whether USSC ruling in Miller v. Alabama is retroactive

 The fate of 363 children sentenced to die in Michigan’s prisons at stake

 March 6, 2014

Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller, each14 at the times of their crimes in Arkansas and Alabama.
Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller, each14 at the times of their crimes in Arkansas and Alabama.

 DETROIT – The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing the cases of three men sentenced as juveniles to die in prison today. A key issue in each case is whether the landmark 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning juvenile life without parole sentences as “cruel and unusual punishment” will be held by the state to be retroactive. That case was Miller v. Alabama/Jackson v. Arkansas.

The expected rulings in the cases of Cortez Davis, 16 when he was incarcerated, Raymond Carp, 15, and Dakotah Eliason, 14, will affect the future of Michigan’s 363 juvenile lifers, many of whom have languished behind bars for decades. Michigan has the second highest number per capita of children sentenced to die in prison of any state. The U.S. is the only country in the world that allows such sentences.

Edward Sanders, a devout Muslim, during early years of incarceration.
Edward Sanders, a devout Muslim, during early years of incarceration.

“I am thankful to Allah to be back down state,” Edward Sanders, incarcerated for 39 years since 1975 at the age of 17 for an incident in which he was not the shooter, told this reporter in a JPay email. “I am rooming with a guy who has done more than 44 years as a JLWOP [juvenile life without parole]. He has been in prison longer than the guy up north that had about 42 years.”

Sanders, who had been brutally attacked by another prisoner at a facility in the upper peninsula, was finally granted his transfer request after a long campaign including numerous articles in the Voice of Detroit.

Sanders said earlier that the state parole board had once again denied him an opportunity for a parole hearing, after 39 years. He has obtained his college degree, taught law courses to other prisoners, and acted as an accomplished jail-house lawyer, among other achievements, but the state parole board is notorious for ignoring actual accomplishments of rehabilitation. Instead, according to recent comments by a former head of the parole board, they focus solely on the initial crime. They are not currently obligated even to see a prisoner in person for a review, but can just hand back a “no-interest” response.

Former Rep. Governor William Milliken at 90th birthday party.
Former Rep. Governor William Milliken at 90th birthday party.

Former Michigan Governor William Milliken and 109 retired judges, attorneys, prosecutors, state bar officials and law professors have signed an amicus brief stating that the defendants should now be eligible for parole under terms of the USSC Miller/Jackson ruling. Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette and various appeal courts have claimed that the decision is not retroactive.

The Milliken et. al. brief is available at Milliken amicus brief JLWOP. It reads in part:

Milliken box

CORTEZ DAVIS

Cortez Davis of Detroit, now 36, has been incarcerated for twenty years. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vera Massey Jones declared at his sentencing, “[I]n this instance when this young man was not the person who pulled the trigger, he was an aider and abettor in an armed robbery, he was convicted of first-degree murder by the jury . . . the only other option of then sentencing him as an adult and imposing a life sentence, mandatory life sentence, is cruel and unusual punishment, when everyone agrees that he is capable of rehabilitation.”

Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Vera Massey-Jones
Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Vera Massey-Jones

Judge Massey-Jones sentenced Davis to a determinate term of 10 to 40 years, but an appeals court overturned her decision, forcing her to re-sentence him to life without parole. After the Miller/Jackson ruling, his case was remanded to her for re-sentencing. But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, an ardent foe of second chances for juvenile lifers, appealed and blocked the re-sentencing.

Massey-Jones is due to retire next year.

“I stayed here because I wanted to see justice done to my people,” Judge Jones said regarding her lengthy tenure.  “I followed my father around Recorder’s Court when I was a little kid . . . .I had a great deal of respect for him and for the other people who happened to be African-American lawyers, and really fought for people’s rights. And so, to me, doing the right thing was more important than anything else. And doing the right thing back then was not to sentence Mr. Davis to natural life in prison.”

RAYMOND CARP 

(For official court website summary of cases, click on Summary of Juvenile Life without Parole cases to be heard before MSC June 6.)

Raymond Carp, of St. Clair Shores, now 23, has been incarcerated since 2006 for aiding and abetting his then 22-year-old brother in the robbery-murder of an elderly woman neighbor. Carp was 15. His brother Brandon Gorecki stabbed and killed the woman. Carp’s prison record shows he has a scar on his arm from a suicide attempt.

An appeals court ruled that Miller/Jackson was not retroactive in his key case. That decision has so far blocked all other juvenile lifer cases from proceeding for resentencing.

Judge Michael Talbot, member of the right-wing Federalist Society.
Judge Michael Talbot, member of the right-wing Federalist Society.

The court was led by right-wing Judge Michael Talbot, who sentenced another juvenile lifer, Damion Todd, to “life without parole at hard labor” in the 1980’s, even though there is no such sentencing statute on the books in Michigan law. Talbot was exposed as a member of the ultra-right-wing Federalist Society in a 1999 report called “Hijacking Justice.” (Click on The Federalist Society Special Report for more info.)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently appointed Talbot to take control of 36th District Court, the only court left where judges and juries are comprised solely of Detroit residents and Black Detroiters can at least hope for a modicum of justice.

In Jan. 2013, U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara countered the Carp appeals court decision, ruling in Hill v. Snyder that the USSC decision was indeed retroactive.

U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O'Meara
U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara

“Indeed, if ever there was a legal rule that should – as a matter of law and morality – be given retroactive effect, it is the rule announced in Miller,” said Judge O’Meara. “To hold otherwise would allow the state to impose unconstitutional punishment on some persons but not others, an intolerable miscarriage of justice.”

Judge O’Meara extended the reach of his ruling to include all Michigan juvenile lifers, but the case has dragged out as attorneys for juvenile lifers and the state spar over ways to effectuate it. In November, 2013, Judge O’Meara mandated that the state put procedures in place by Jan. 2014, but the state has appealed his ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On March 5 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Public Act 22 of 2014, which bars retroactivity for juvenile lifers unless either the state or federal supreme courts affirm it, emphasizing the importance of rulings in today’s cases.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

It reads in part, “If the state supreme court or the United States supreme court finds that the decision of the United States supreme court in Miller v Alabama . . . applies retroactively to all defendants who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes, and that decision is final for appellate purposes, the determination of whether a sentence of imprisonment for a violation . . . .shall be imprisonment for life without parole eligibility or a term of years . . . .shall be made by the sentencing judge or his or her successor as provided in this section. For purposes of this subsection, a decision of the state supreme court is final when either the United States supreme court denies a petition for certiorari challenging the decision or the time for filing that petition passes without a petition being filed.”

DAKOTAH ELIASON

Dakotah Eliason of Niles, Michigan, 14 at the time he shot and killed his grandfather in 2010, said he had been contemplating homicide or suicide out of “sadness” or “pent-up anger.”  A friend had recently committed suicide, a cousin died in a car accident, and his pet dog, which which an expert testified constituted his closest relationship, had died. His mother had recently relinquished her parental rights after his father lost his job, assigning him and his sister to their grandparents’ residence.

Dakotah Eliason at time of sentencing.
Dakotah Eliason at time of sentencing.

Eliason was an honor roll student with no previous behavioral issues. He said he sat with a gun in his bedroom at his grandfather’s house for several hours deciding whether to kill himself or someone else so that he could be executed.

James Henry, the director of the Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center, testified later that an interview with Eliason 17 months after the shooting revealed he was still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the events prior to the shooting, and had “dissociated from reality.”

An appeals court decision by two of three judges on the panel, citing Miller and Carp, remanded his case for re-sentencing limited as follows:

“Therefore, the only discretion afforded to the trial court in light of our first-degree murder statutes and Miller is whether to impose a penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Carp, 298 Mich App at 527.”

Appeals Court Judge Elizabeth Gleicher
Appeals Court Judge Elizabeth Gleicher

However, the third judge on the panel, Elizabeth Gleicher, said in a partial dissent,

“I concur with the result reached by the majority regarding defendant Dakotah Eliason’s challenges to his first-degree-murder conviction. I write separately to respectfully express my belief that the Michigan Constitution forbids the trial court from resentencing Dakotah to imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.”

Michigan’s Constitution goes even further than the U.S. Constitution, banning cruel OR unusual punishment as opposed to cruel AND unusual punishment.

“Furthermore,” Gleicher said, “because Michigan’s parole guidelines do not take into account Dakotah’s youth at the time he committed the crime, I believe that both the United States and Michigan Constitutions mandate that the trial court consider sentencing Dakotah to a term of years that affords him a realistic opportunity for release.”

VIDEO ABOVE: Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and a MacArthur Fellow, argued the cases of Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Arkansas before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of two prisoners who were 14 when they were sentenced to life without parole. On June 25, 2012, the high court ruled that sentencing children under the age of 18 to death is prison is “cruel and unusual punishement” and therefore unconstitutional. Stevenson’s own grandfather was killed by a group of youths, but he has devoted his own life to fighting for fair sentencing, particularly for juveniles. In this video, he discusses earlier Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Florida, which he also argued, that resulted in a ruling that life without parole for juveniles in non-homicide cases is unconstitutional.

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MAYOR CHOKWE LUMUMBA: A REVOLUTIONARY HERO FOR THE AGES; WAS HE MURDERED? DETROIT BUS FOR FUNERAL MARCH 8

Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, MS. and long-time revolutionary attorney from Detroit.

Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, MS. and long-time revolutionary attorney from Detroit.

‘Who Killed The Mayor?’ Miss. Supervisor Says Chokwe Lumumba Was Assassinated, Farrakhan Offers To Fund Autopsy

News OneBy Kirsten West Savali

Mar 4, 2014

Hinds County, Miss. supervisor Kenny Stokes believes that late Jackson mayor Chokwe Lumumba was assassinated and he wants an autopsy performed to rule out foul play, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

[Meanwhile, his son Chokwe Antwar Lumumba gave the following statement to the Jackson Free Press in response:

"We know that our father was loved and appreciated by many and a number of people both in Jackson and around the world have inquired into the manner of his death. At this time, there has been no information provided to the family other than that provided at the time of his death by the doctors. The family will explore all possible causes of his death."]

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba celebrates election victory June 5, 2013 with his daughter Rukia at his right and son Chokwe Antar at right. There is a move on to have his son replace him as mayor.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba celebrates election victory June 5, 2013 with his daughter Rukia at his right and son Chokwe Antar at right. There is a move on to have his son replace him as mayor.

Lumumba, a legendary human rights activist and attorney who was elected mayor of Jackson last June, died of alleged natural causes on February 25.

Speculation has been rampant that he was killed because of his platform of self-determination for the Black community and his refusal to tap-dance around issues of white supremacy and systemic racism in the Deep South.

Hinds County coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart insists that Lumumba, who previously battled cancer, died of natural causes, but valid suspicions can’t be soothed with words. Lumumba’s supporters want proof.

Read what Stokes had to say below:

Hinds County Commissioner Kenneth Stokes
Hinds County Commissioner Kenneth Stokes

“We gonna ask a question: Who killed the mayor? We’d feel a lot better if there was an autopsy,” Stokes said at the beginning of his speech. “First they say it’s not a heart attack and not a stroke, then what was it? You don’t just die like that and you’re healthy.”

“So many of us feel, throughout the city of Jackson, that the mayor was murdered,” Stokes told a WAPT reporter after his speech. “I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m not going to try to say it in a way where the people feel, you know, that we should have said it in another way.”

“I believe that someone killed him. Now I can’t prove it, but I’m going to say it,” Stokes said. “That’s how I feel in my heart, and a lot of other people feel he was killed.”

Watch Supervisor Stokes speak on Mayor Lumumba’s death below:

As previously reported by NewsOne, Lumumba served four years on the Jackson City Council before running for mayor. He was elected on June 4, 2013, winning the general election with 86 percent of the vote.

“I’m just delighted. I feel wonderfully well about the people and their vote. Our slogan has been the people must decide and the people gave us an outstanding mandate today for positive change in the city of Jackson,” Lumumba said after the results were announced. “We intend to work diligently and put all our hearts and efforts into that and we’re going to be calling upon the people to work with us. We’re not working by ourselves.”

Chokwe Lumumba, VP of RNA, in Detroit.

Chokwe Lumumba, VP of RNA, in Detroit.

Lumumba spent part of the ’70s and ’80s as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery [and which was founded in the city of his birth, Detroit, Michigan].

“The provisional government of Republic of New Afrika was always a group that believed in human rights for human beings,” Lumumba told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I think it has been miscast in many ways. It has never been any kind of racist group or ‘hate white’ group in any way…. It was a group which was fighting for human rights for black people in this country and at the same time supporting the human rights around the globe.”

As an attorney, Lumumba represented legendary activist, poet, actor and Hip-Hop artist Tupac Shakur in several cases, and his godmother, Assata Shakur, whom Lumumba called a “Black Panther heroine.”

Assata Shakur in Cuba/Photo: Kenneth Snodgrass
Assata Shakur in Cuba/Photo: Kenneth Snodgrass

Lumumba was also founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and his platform called for a move towards Black self-determination in the Deep South.

Lumumba referred to himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” a nod to the fearless civil rights leader who organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to challenge the White supremacist Dixiecrats that ruled the Land of Jim Crow at the time.

The National Conference of Black Lawyers is coordinating fundraising for the costs of an independent autopsy. To read their Legal Biography of Chokwe Lumumba, click on http://www.ncbl.org/chokwe-lumumba-a-legal-biography//

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan announced during his recent Saviour’s Day Address that fundraising would not be necessary because he would pay for the autopsy:

Chokwe, I’ve known him for nearly 40 years. He passed away about a week ago. His funeral will be on the 8th of this month. And he died under circumstances that we don’t know what it was. He became the mayor of Jackson, MS. And any of you who know Mississippi and know Jackson…a Black man being mayor and trying to do right by all the people is not a mayor that those people want.

He was in the hospital. He was on the phone doing mayoral business. He was laughing. He was in good spirits and within a few hours, he was dead. I understand that they’re guarding his body and I was so happy to learn that they are getting an independent pathologist because medical examiners…we can’t trust them when our babies are dead and they make it seem as if it were under ‘natural circumstances.’

They lie to protect the government. We have to have our own independent pathologists and whatnot to look after us, so I understand they’re trying to raise the money. I told them don’t even waste time, call me. I will give you whatever it takes to get our own forensic specialist to go in and make sure that our brother died under the right circumstances.

A special election to replace Mayor Lumumba has been scheduled for April 8.

RELATED:

Former Lawyer For Tupac, Assata Shakur Wins Miss. Mayoral Primary Race

UPDATED: Chokwe Lumumba: Radical New Mayor Of Jackson, MS Dies At 66 [VIDEO]

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

Special Note: A bus is leaving from Detroit Thursday, March 6, at 6 p.m.; arrives in Jackson, MS 10 a.m.; leaves Jackson Sunday 7 a.m, returns at 10 p.m. Cost of trip including bus ride and hotel is $225.00. Contact Shushanna Shakur for reservations at 313-244-9909.

The City of Jackson has announced funeral arrangements for Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. The arrangements are as follows:

THE BODY WILL LIE IN STATE

(Public Viewing)

City of Jackson – City Hall 219 South President Street Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Friday, March 7, 2014 11:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

(Remembrance Hour) 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE

Jackson Convention Center 105 E. Pascagoula Street Jackson, Mississippi 39204

Saturday, March 8, 2014 11:00 a.m.

Internment following the Celebration of Life Service at Autumn Woods Memorial Gardens

4000 West Northside Drive in Jackson, Mississippi, 39209.

Anyone wishing to send flowers may send them to: Willis & Sons Funeral Home, 5235 Robinson Road Ext. Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Please send letters of condolence to: City of Jackson – City Hall Attention: Halima Olufemi 219 South President Street Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Special memorials in Detroit: Sat. March 15, 1 pm at Fellowship Chapel, 7707 W. Outer Drive, Detroit; 5:30 to 8:30 P.M. Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History: African drummers, dancers, singers, poets, film.

CHOKWE LUMUMBA LIVES! DARE TO STRUGGLE–DARE TO WIN!
A NO STRUGGLE, NO DEVELOPMENT PRODUCTION/ KENNY SNODGRASS

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MAKING ENDS MEET IN MICHIGAN: ORR’S PLAN FOR RETIREES IS BELOW THE MINIMUM LEVELS

MLPP banner

How much do you need to earn to cover your most basic needs or that of your family’s?

A new report released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy
offers the answer.

Smiling Family Posing in FieldMaking Ends Meet in Michigan: A Basic Needs Income Level for Family Well-Being compiles the costs of providing the basics – housing, food, transportation, personal items, health care and, if you have children, child care.

On average, it takes $10.37 an hour (or $21,570 annually) for a single person with no children, jumping to $21.23 an hour ($44,164 annually) for a single parent with two preschool children largely because of child care expenses. 

“We’re not including any vacations or any luxuries at all in this report and no savings for retirement or emergencies either. These are the ‘bare bones’ costs that individuals and families face just to get by without turning to public assistance,’’ said League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

Report | Online calculator | Interactive map | Blog

Brogan Orr vulture(VOD editor’s note: the average City of Detroit General Retirement System pension is $19,000 a year. Orr wants to slash that, likely down to 60 percent and less, depending on whether the state comes through with its little pittance of funding.

This is while he further devastates the pension funds by privatizing most of the city and city workers’ jobs. He still wants to pay the criminal banks UBS AG, SBS Financial, and Bank of America up to 70 percent of the cost of the Pension Obligation Certificates loan, which still has up to $1.45 BILLION OUTSTANDING.

Rhodes and pro-Em, pro-Chapter 9 cronies, from forum in Oct. 2012.
Rhodes and pro-Em, pro-Chapter 9 cronies, from forum in Oct. 2012.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes has set hearings for tomorrow, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. on vital issues connected to the city’s Plan of Adjustment (POA), including balloting procedures, deadlines for discovery and objections. His ultimate goal is to have the POA trial on June 16, 2016. He has retirees on the fast track to starvation. Click on DB POA dates and deadlines trial June 16. More to come on town hall meeting that took place March 2 and their plans for action.)

RISE UP YE MIGHTY NATION!

RISE UP YE MIGHTY NATION!

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‘RAPE’ OF GRISWOLD, CAPITOL PARK TENANTS CONTINUES

Griswold tenant James McNeal discusses outcome of City Council meeting with other tenants Feb. 20, 2014.

Griswold tenant James McNeal discusses outcome of City Council meeting with other tenants Feb. 20, 2014.

Downtown Detroit being readied for invasion of well-to-do whites

As Griswold tenants pushed out, living conditions deteriorate

Public tax dollars doled out to new owners to “renovate” Capitol Park

Catholic Church betrays residents; plans to lease part of 1212 Griswold

By Diane Bukowski

March 1, 2014

DETROIT – “I feel as if we’ve been raped,” Griswold Apartments tenant Jacqueline McCoy told the Detroit City Council during a committee meeting Feb. 20. “The owners of 1214 Griswold have done absolutely nothing they said they would do. We have to pack our own things, we have forfeited our security deposits, and we are woken up every morning at 7:30 a.m. by loud construction noises.”

Griswold tenants James McNeal and Jacqueline McCoy speak at City Council meeting Feb. 21. Standing in background ignoring them  is Claudia Sanford, head of UCHC's "Tenant Resource Network" which is supposed to be assisting tenants.
Griswold tenants James McNeal and Jacqueline McCoy speak at City Council meeting Feb. 21. Standing in background ignoring them is Claudia Sanford, head of UCHC’s “Tenant Resource Network” which is supposed to be assisting tenants.

McCoy referred to an agreement between 1214 Griswold Apartments, LLC, possibly a front for real estate magnate Dan Gilbert, and the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), with United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) as a partner. Click on 1214 Griswold MOU 2 to read the agreement, which calls in part for the new owner to “provide reasonable costs of packing assistance for the tenants.”

Unfortunately, the agreement says the owner will pay security deposits at new placements but will retain security deposits from the current building. Those are not subject to a limitation of 30 percent of the resident’s income under Section 8 HUD regulations, as are rents. The Griswold tenants are predominantly low-income seniors, disabled and people of color.

Griswold tenant Will Griffin displays "moving materials" including skimpy role of tape the size of Scotch tape, provided to him by building management so far.
Griswold tenant Will Griffin displays “moving materials” including skimpy role of tape the size of Scotch tape, provided to him by building management so far. Management has informed tenants, many of whom are very elderly, that they will have to do their own packing.

“The [council] report this week was supposed to include an agreement that the owner would go down in rent, with HUD approval,” James McNeal, another resident, said. “That’s not in there. The owners knew they agreed to allow 10 residents to remain, but once the agreement was signed and they got their tax abatement, they started changing everything.”

MSHDA, one of multipe public agencies funding the re-development of Capitol Park using public funds,  refused earlier to grant “enhanced” Section 8 vouchers for the 10 tenants as promised in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the owners and NSO.

NSO has not appeared at a single Council hearing on the matter, while Ted Phillips of  UCHC spoke at two previous meetings, claiming to represent the tenants.

Phillips was not at this meeting, but Claudia Sanford, UCHC’s coordinator of the organization’s “Tenant Resource Network,” funded by a $481,000 HUD grant, was there in the audience. During McCoy’s and McNeal’s comments she stood behind them talking to a non-tenant in the audience, and refrained from any comment to the Council.

Demands to Gilbert et al being circulated by Griswold tenants. The deadline date at the bottom, which says March 7, 2015, is meant to read "2014," and will be corrected in final version.

Demands to Gilbert et al being circulated by Griswold tenants. The deadline date at the bottom, which says March 7, 2015, is meant to read “2014,” and will be corrected in final version.

Meanwhile, Griswold tenants are circulating a petition demanding among other items that Gilbert “or the owner of 1214 Griswold” use the proceeds from the tax abatement to allow at least 30 residents to remain at their current rental rates, cleaning of harmful chemicals from the air ducts and other areas of the building, and cessation of renovation until all that choose to move are gone.

The Detroit Buildings and Safety Engineering Department posted a “Stop Work” order on the front of the building, after they were alerted by Griswold tenant Will Griffin that Sachse Construction, which Gilbert uses to renovate his other downtown Detroit properties, had pulled no city permits for the work.

Contractors at 1212 Griswold dump items through chute at night, scattering powder of undetermined nature all over the surrounding area and creating a loud racket. Dust is likely also being absorbed into 1214 Griswold air vents as well as other areas downtown.
Contractors at 1212 Griswold dump items through chute at night, scattering powder of undetermined nature all over the surrounding area and creating a loud racket. Dust is likely also being absorbed into 1214 Griswold air vents as well as other areas downtown.

Griffin said he has collected soot from the air vents in the building and other dirt and debris left by Sachse for analysis. Tenants have complained that they wake up every morning when the heat is turned on, coughing from the air flowing through the vents.

A BS&E supervisor told VOD that 1212 Griswold, next door to the apartment building, has permits, so work is continuing there, including the loud night-time dumping of objects through a chute in the alley which covers the surrounding area with white soot of unknown composition. Griswold tenants say they have called Detroit Police several times to complain about violation of the city’s noise ordinance, but it is continuing.

1212 Griswold is now owned by Richard Karp & Associates of Lansing, who beat out Gilbert and Mike Illitch in a bid sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority.  The Archdiocese of Detroit (the Catholic Church), has announced that it plans to lease five floors of the building, becoming an “anchor” for Capitol Park development plans. The building originally housed United Way.

Billionaire real estate mogul Dan Gilbert.
Billionaire real estate mogul Dan Gilbert.

The DDA, a public front for the private Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the State of Michigan’s Land Bank Authority, Invest Detroit, The Wayne County Land Bank, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Michigan State Housing Development are spending millions of public money on re-developing Capitol Park and displacing its current low-income tents.

Gilbert currently owns several other buildings on Capitol Park as well, through his Bedrock Real Estate firm.

Griffin met with Atty. Margaret Brown, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Feb. 28 regarding huge ads with drawings depicting all-white new residents displayed on the front of the building. The ads violate the Federal Fair Housing Act, according to Brown, and numerous lawsuits against such ads have been upheld in court.

St. Aloysius Church on Washington Blvd., adjacent to buildings being redeveloped.
St. Aloysius Church on Washington Blvd., adjacent to buildings being redeveloped.

An update from that meeting has not yet been received. Griffin told VOD, however, that he and other vocal residents were barred from a meeting held earlier in the week between Phillips, a nurse from St. Aloysius Church, and representatives of the owners regarding conditions in the building. He said the only tenant allowed there was the head of the Tenants Council. The nurse denied Griffin was barred and said she would call him, but he said she has not done so yet. She would not give any details of the meeting to VOD. St. Aloysius is a Catholic parish where Griffin has helped out for 10 years delivering food to the homeless in downtown Detroit. Considering the Archdiocese’s involvement in the Capitol Park development, however, the nurse’s refusal to comment is not surprising.

Griffin said another meeting held later in the week by UCHC revealed that numerous tenants have not yet received new placements, although the deadline for their move-out is March 31. UCHC has been working with the tenants since May of 2013.

Related articles:

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140220/BIZ/302200028  (Downtown Detroit squeeze forces out long-time tenants)

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/02/18/downtown-detroits-griswold-apartments-i-see-white-people-council-hearing-thurs-feb-20/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/01/27/tax-abatement-deal-with-devil-in-downtown-griswold-tenants-eviction-has-gone-to-hell/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/12/15/city-council-state-feds-non-profits-in-bed-with-developers-destroying-black-detroit/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/11/18/developers-hud-non-profits-collude-to-move-detroit-seniors-disabled-out-of-downtown-griswold-apts/ 

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IS THE U.S. BACKING NEO-NAZIS IN UKRAINE?

AlterNet [1] / By Max Blumenthal [2]                       

February 24, 2014 |

As the Euromaidan protests in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev culminated this week, displays of open fascism and neo-Nazi extremism became too glaring to ignore. Since demonstrators filled the downtown square to battle Ukrainian riot police and demand the ouster of the corruption-stained, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right street-fighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.

Graffitti says: SS Dudes, according to article's author.

Graffitti says: SS Dudes, according to article’s author.

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped [3] inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted [4] Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protesters destroyed [5] a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. [6] “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”

“There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis,” the anti-fascist continued. “They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.”

Oleh Tyahnybok
Oleh Tyahnybok

One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for [7] the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany [8] to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, [9] a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine.

Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine.

Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video, the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, [10] Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

U.S. Senator John McCain, right, meets Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, left, and Oleh Tyahnybok in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
U.S. Senator John McCain, right, meets Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, left, and Oleh Tyahnybok in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.

Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing [11] a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting [12] with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted [13] the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. [14] “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone conversation [15] with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted [16] that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maidan movement has come to embody the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies,” Nuland proclaimed.

Torchlight ceremony in Kiev Jan. 1, 2014 honoring Nazi collaborator,
Torchlight ceremony in Kiev Jan. 1, 2014 honoring Nazi collaborator,

Two weeks later, 15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony [17] in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter [18] of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereotypes,” a Svoboda deputy explained.

Revered [19] by Ukrainian nationalists as a legendary freedom fighter, Bandera’s real record was ignominious at best. After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Connections

Old Nazis BellantMany surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

Roman Shukhevych

Roman Shukhevych

Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed [20] him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored [21] the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of “National Hero of Ukraine,” marking the culmination of his efforts to manufacture an anti-Russian national narrative that sanitized the OUN-B’s fascism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Katherine Chumachenko, [22] was a former Reagan administration official and ex-staffer at the right-wing Heritage Foundation). When the European Parliament condemned Yushchenko’s proclamation as an affront to “European values,” the UCCA-affiliated Ukrainian World Congress reacted with outrage, [23] accusing the EU of “another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.” On its website, the UCCA dismissed [24] historical accounts of Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis as “Soviet propaganda.”

Following the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped organize [25] rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests. When several hundred demonstrators marched [26] through downtown Chicago, some waved Ukrainian flags while others proudly flew the red and black banners of the UPA and OUN-B. “USA supports Ukraine!” they chanted.

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DETROIT IN BANKRUPTCY—THE NEXT GREENWOOD? EMERGENCY TOWN HALL SUN. MARCH 2 @ 3 PM

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Rhodes set to cram-down plan to profit banks, cut pensions, break up city  

Orr lawsuit v. POC banks a paper tiger 

Group files motion to remove Rhodes 

Emergency Town Hall meeting Sun. March 2 @ 3 PM 

By Diane Bukowski 

February 27, 2014 

Judge Steven Rhodes at forum favoring EM's and Chapter 9 Oct. 10, 2012.
Judge Steven Rhodes at forum favoring EM’s and Chapter 9 Oct. 10, 2012.

DETROIT – U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes appears ready to “cram-down” a so-called “Plan of Adjustment” (POA) in Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings that will reward mammoth criminal banks with huge chunks of their outstanding debt, while slashing the pensions and health care of city retirees, and denuding the city of assets that are worth trillions of dollars.

His viciously hostile tone towards all creditors during a Feb. 25 hearing, during which their attorneys said the POA is grossly incomplete, missing at least 32 vital exhibits, made his intentions evident. Under bankruptcy law, Rhodes has the authority to enact, or “cram-down,” the city’s plan if at least one creditor agrees to it.

“There isn’t a single creditor constituent that supports the plan right now,” Attorney Carol Neville of Dentons, representing the Official Committee of Retirees, told Rhodes. “We’re looking at a total cram-down although I’m sure some creditor will be created to approve the plan.”

Bruce Bennett of the city’s state-imposed legal team Jones Day said the State of Michigan is a voting creditor in the case, “with respect to two classes at least,” during a press conference Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr held on the POA Feb. 24.

“No doubt there will be at least one impaired accepting class, but we expect there to be many,” Bennett said.

STATE CAN FORCE ‘CRAM-DOWN;’ GROUP WANTS RHODES OUT

James Cole, Jr. and co-filers want Rhodes OUT.
James Cole, Jr. and co-filers want Rhodes OUT.

The State of Michigan under Governor Rick Snyder and Public Act 436 effectuated the emergency manager takeover of Detroit. It planned the filing of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy as early as 2011, using the corporate crony law firms of Ernst & Young, Miller Buckfire/Stifel Financial, and Jones Day as consultants. There is no real question regarding how the state would vote.

In a “quo warranto” motion challenging Rhodes’ authority filed Feb 24, community activist and paralegal James Cole, Jr. along with dozens of other plaintiffs, called for all of the judge’s actions to be declared “null and void ab initio.” They contended that Rhodes has judicially supported “parties/agents/carpetbaggers (the financial 1% leaders) that pursue a fast-track policy of plundering and pilfering the assets of Detroit’s Indigenous Citizenry under the bankruptcy fallacy and fiction. Click on DB James Cole petition to read filing.

Greenwood, also known as "Little Africa," in Tulsa Oklahoma burns in 1921.
Greenwood, also known as “Little Africa,” in Tulsa Oklahoma burns in 1921.

The motion compares the dismantling of Detroit to the horrific, racist 1921 burning and looting of Greenwood, a prosperous community in Tulsa, Oklahoma known as “The Black Wall Street,” during which 300 Black residents were murdered.

Judge Rhodes of course, will not grant Cole’s motion, just as he refused to grant a motion for recusal filed by this reporter as a city retiree. That motion referenced his gross conflict of interest and “appearance of impropriety” in chairing a forum on Chapter 9 bankruptcy and Emergency Managers in Oct. 2012. The six-person panel consisted entirely of proponents of both, with the possible exception of one speaker. Click on DB Objection and request for recusal with expedited hearing for filing.

CANCEL THE CITY’S DEBT! TOWN HALL MEETING MARCH 3 @ 3 P.M

March to cancel Detroit's debt to the banks.

March to cancel Detroit’s debt to the banks.

A coalition of community organizations is planning an Emergency Town Hall meeting Sun. March 3 at 3 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church to oppose the plan and organize a means to stop it.

“We demand: Cancel the debt to the banks that caused Detroit’s crisis!” their flier (see below) reads. “The banks, corporations and the state must be forced to repay Detroit for the destruction they have caused. The hundreds of millions they owe us should go to fund a massive public works program, paying our youth to re- build our neighborhoods.”

Hopefully the coalition’s efforts will succeed, and Detroiters will flock to the meeting.

City of Detroit workers strike Wastewater Treatment Plan Sept. 30, 2012.
City of Detroit workers strike Wastewater Treatment Plan Sept. 30, 2012.

But without a massive national march on Detroit, a boycott of Michigan products, and a general strike of the nation’s unions, who should be on the frontlines protecting the city of their birth, the largest Black-majority city in the U.S., the outcome remains in question. No national leaders have proposed these options, although they know the Detroit/Greenwood Plan is coming to their communities next. Jones Day is already planning bankruptcy proceedings for the entire U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

BANKS MAKE OUT LIKE BANDITS IN PLAN OF ADJUSTMENT

The Orr/Jones Day Plan of Adjustment claims “settlements” are being worked out with the Wall Street banksters who perpetrated the $1.44 billion “Pension Obligation Certificates” (POC or COPS) scam of 2005-06, complete with interest swap agreements totaling another $370 million. (Click on DB plan for full 120 page plan.)

This is despite the fact that Orr sued the banks involved, asking Rhodes to declare all outstanding POC and swaps debt to them illegal and “void ab initio,” and absolving the city of any future payments. That would be at least $1.45 billion more in the city’s coffers for the services Orr claims he wants to provide to city residents, not to mention the money that should come BACK to the city for payments made between 2005 to 2013.

Jan. 31, 2005: (L to r) Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow who afterwards took a position with lender SBS, Joe Doherty of SBS, Stephen Murpy of Standard & Poor's, Joe O'Keefe of Fitch Ratings, and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams press $1.44 B POC deal at City Council table.

Jan. 31, 2005: (L to r) Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow who afterwards took a position with lender SBS, Joe Doherty of SBS, Stephen Murpy of Standard & Poor’s, Joe O’Keefe of Fitch Ratings, and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams press $1.44 B POC deal at City Council table.

Rhodes has set no date for the lawsuit to be heard.

The “settlements” would involve payments of 40-70 percent of the “outstanding principal” on the still remaining POC debt of $1.45 billion (no mention of interest). That would therefore be at least a payment of $680 million on the POC debt alone.  The plan also says a “lower” re-payment is being negotiated on the swaps than the two deals already rejected by Rhodes.

Pres. Barack Obama playing golf with CEO of UBS AG America, one of his strongest supporters. No wonder Obama won't come to Detroit.
Pres. Barack Obama playing golf with Robert Wolf, CEO of UBS AG America, one of his strongest supporters. No wonder Obama won’t come to Detroit.

The banks involved include UBS AG, Siebert, Brandford and Shank, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (which has backed SBS credit), all of them criminally and civilly convicted in courts across the nation and the globe of interest-rate manipulation, money laundering, and other scams. UBS AG paid the U.S. Department of Justice $1.5 billion to settle one lawsuit, while it faces a $5 billion claim from the Securities and Exchange Commission in another action.

ATTACKS ON RETIREES, CITY’S YOUTH

During his press conference, Orr painted the POA’s proposals as “generous” for retirees, claiming general retirees would see a “recovery” of two-thirds to 70 percent of their pensions, while police and fire retirees would see a rate “at or below” 90 percent. In other words, the plan proposes monthly pension payment cuts of up to one-third for general retirees, and possibly more than 10 percent for police and fire retirees, along with severe cuts to health care.

Detroit EM Kevyn Orr with sidekick Bill Nowling/Photo Mandi Wright DFP
Detroit EM Kevyn Orr with sidekick Bill Nowling/Photo Mandi Wright DFP

He told reporters also that the plan attacks retirees’ annuity funds, money they themselves paid into the retirement system without city support. The minority of retirees who left their annuities in the system when they left get checks that separate their “pension” and “annuity” amounts.

“The mechanics of this have not yet been determined,” Orr’s spokesman Bill Nowling later told VOD. “What employees have payed (sic) in themselves is not at issue. What is, rather, are the rates of return that were over and above actual market rate for return for the funds. When payments in excess of the rate of returns are made to annuity fund holders (dividends), it comes at the expense of the health of the overall pension funds.”

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Any clearer now, for those retirees who will allegedly receive ballots to vote on the proposed plan of adjustment, through a process which the plan does not detail?

Orr said that any settlements with the city’s creditors, including its unions and retiree associations, would be predicated on their withdrawal of federal lawsuits against the city’s bankruptcy eligibility, which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear just before he filed the POA. The Court did not agree to expedite the hearing.

This may explain Rhodes’ unseemly haste in getting to the cram-down phase, before the Sixth Circuit gets a chance to weigh in on whether Detroit should even be in bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh is just resuming hearings on a state-wide lawsuit challenging the legality of PA 436, from which the City of Detroit has been redacted to get Rhodes to lift the stay on it.

The mainstream media keeps claiming the urgency is due to the expected departure of Orr in September. However, PA 436 provides that the City Council, the Mayor, and the Governor must all approve that departure. Even if he goes, the city would remain under transitional state control for an indefinite period.

PRIVATIZATION KEY TO DETROIT PLAN

WWTP 9 30 12 Save DetroitOrr proposed more massive privatization, which has already included the Department of Water and Sewerage (DWSD), the Public Lighting Department, Belle Isle, the Department of Public Works, and three departments that were nearly 100 percent federally-funded, with the Department of Transportation likely next under a Regional Transit Authority. He did not discuss the huge damage the privatization would do to the General Retirement System pension fund, in particular, as well as the prospects for jobs for Detroit’s youth.

It is only because an Emergency Manager is dealing with Detroit’s bankruptcy that such disposition of its assets can even be considered under Chapter 9. The law forbids creditors’ demands that assets be liquidated “unless the debtor agrees.”

Regarding the proposal to regionalize DWSD, Orr said, “The city gets $27 million annually in an income stream for years, and adequate funding for capital needs for an authority.” So far, suburban leaders have not reached any agreement with the Detroit on this matter, but Orr claimed “we are negotiating, trying to act in good faith and a professional manner.” He said he has met with the county executives involved, except for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who he plans to meet with soon.

During the press conference, Orr said the city plans to invest $1.5 billion in city services as part of the plan, but could not specify any revenue stream that would provide those funds.

“We are working on that,” Bennett said. “There will be a new revenue stream, not post-petition financing, but another instrument in the process of being defined, which will include the opportunity for creditors to participate in city’s revenue growth events.”

Hantz Farms proposal.
Hantz Farms proposal.

Orr also declared that the plan involves demolishing 70,000 houses in the city, which he claimed are vacant or in disrepair. A reporter asked what he plans to do with the vacant land.

“It won’t be like Hantz Farms,” he said. “I am working closely with Mayor’s proposal, and plan another meeting to review the Detroit Future Cities plan. I’m not going to speak to that right now.”

Hantz Farms developers want to grow a forest on a wide swath of Detroit’s east side, while others want to turn Detroit, to which sharecroppers from the south fled in the mid-20th century, into an “urban farm.”

Excerpts from filing by James Cole, Jr. et. al. asking for Rhodes' removal.

Excerpts from filing by James Cole, Jr. et. al. asking for Rhodes’ removal.

Greenwood or "Little Africa" section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was known as "Black Wall Street" before whites burned it down in 1921.

Greenwood or “Little Africa” section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was known as “Black Wall Street” before whites burned it down in 1921.

Town Hall_0001
Town hall mtg_0002

The Coalition is proposing a “People’s Plan for Restructuring for a Sustainable Detroit,” which will be discussed and added to at the Town Hall meeting. Click on People’s Plan for Restructuring for a Sustainable Detroit to read the proposal.

Coalition press conference held Feb. 24 to announce People's Plan for Restructuring of Detroit. Monica Patrick is at podium.

Coalition press conference held Feb. 24 to announce People’s Plan for Restructuring of Detroit. Monica Patrick is at podium.

 

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BREAKING: JACKSON MAYOR CHOKWE LUMUMBA HAS DIED

Democracy now logoLocal officials confirm the tragic news that longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney Chokwe Lumumba has died. Watch our interview with Lumumba just after he was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi last June, when he said, “we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country.”

Chokwe Lumumba, born in Detroit and an organizer here first, shown with Cornell Squires, leader of We the People for the People several years ago.
Chokwe Lumumba, born in Detroit and an organizer here first, shown with Cornell Squires, leader of We the People for the People several years ago.

Over the past four decades, Lumumba was been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur. As a political organizer, Lumumba served for years as vice president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery. He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

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HUTCHINS SCHOOL: BEFORE AND AFTER, A STORY OF DETROIT

HUTCHINS SCHOOL IN DETROIT: BEFORE

HUTCHINS SCHOOL IN DETROIT: BEFORE

By Joyce Moore

Virginia Park CDC Newsletter

February 24, 2014

In March 6, 1922, HUTCHINS school which is located at 8820 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit, MI 48206 opened.  It was built to address the need for an Intermediate School for the 7th and 8th Graders. Most stable communities basically have three (3) schools: an elementary, a middle school (Intermediate) and a high school.

Chess team students at Hutchins-McMichael School in Detroit are: top from left, Larry Foster, Anthony Arnold and Ricardo Brown, all 11; second row from left, Dorrell Tolton, 13, Lamont Gilmore, 12, and Jirrell Echols, 11; and front row from left, Ernikka Johnson and Ashley Lee, both 10. They're joined by coaches Douglas Carey, 55, and Mary Rose Forsyth. They head to Pennsylvania for a championship. Photo taken 2008, one year before school closed in 2009.
Chess team students at Hutchins-McMichael School in Detroit are: top from left, Larry Foster, Anthony Arnold and Ricardo Brown, all 11; second row from left, Dorrell Tolton, 13, Lamont Gilmore, 12, and Jirrell Echols, 11; and front row from left, Ernikka Johnson and Ashley Lee, both 10. They’re joined by coaches Douglas Carey, 55, and Mary Rose Forsyth. They head to Pennsylvania for a championship. Photo taken 2008, one year before school closed in 2009.

Bringing the history more currently, a bond proposal to fund repairs to the city’s schools in 1994 allocated $5.1 million dollars to Hutchins, mostly renovations to the special education wing.  By 2002, enrollment had fallen, but the quality of the educational program had dramatically increased.  Hutchins students placed high at the 2003 National Academic Games and other events.

A new program brought Chess into the classroom, with some students joining associations and taking part in competitions.  In 2006, AOL announces it is creating the “Detroit Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology AOL Computer Lab at Hutchins Middle School,”  a classroom with 30 computers designed by teachers and student. (Internet)   This alone shows that the school was on the move to being a major asset to our community as well as to the City of Detroit, if only that was the Detroit Board of Education’s  plan.

Student hugs teacher at Hutchins as second waits her turn.
Student hugs teacher at Hutchins as second waits her turn.

The destruction of this once beautiful school and structure has resulted from the major players, [including Emergency Managers Jack Martin and Roy Roberts appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder], and the [previous] Detroit Board of Education and its neglect and politics in saving our schools that impacts upon the stability of our communities.  The fact that Hutchins is not boarded up, has allowed scavengers and scrappers to:  remove windows, doors, plumbing, wiring, any metals, etc. as well as destroy the structure, forcing it to become an eye sore in our community.  The visual sight is a devastation to the many students that attended Hutchins in the past.  It is disheartening to know that the people we have elected to take care of such a school, is neglectful and unconcerned about our community, creating more blight.  This building could have been sold through a realty as opposed to becoming the emotional and physical stress of a community for the many that have attended.

HUTCHINS SCHOOL AFTER/ Photo Feb. 25, 2013

HUTCHINS SCHOOL AFTER/ Photo Feb. 25, 2013

Further by creating “THE AFTER” picture of Hutchins and the age of the school, a destructive situation has exposed the surrounding community to carcinogens that pollute the air that we breathe as the asbestos is openly exposed.  The asbestos is absorbed through our skin, in our lungs and can lead to health issues.  Again not only a neglectful situation but a health hazard and issue to our community.

The bond that involved the $5.1 million property taxes paid by property owners for the renovations to this building is a major issue as property taxes are constantly rising.  Currently, we the tax payers don’t get reimbursed for such a waste and misuse of our property tax monies when the plan changes or fails.  According to a local retired professor, “We the tax payers need to be reimbursed and made whole regarding this audacious assault and violation of community sensibility.”

Across the street from Hutchins today: neighborhoods are destroyed when schools are closed.

Across the street from Hutchins today: neighborhoods are destroyed when schools are closed.

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GLOBAL HERO MARYANNE GODBOLDO BACK IN COURT; NEW CRIMINAL HEARING SET FOR MARCH 14

(L to r) Debbie Williams, who is waging court battle to regain custody of her grandchildren, Mubarak Hakim, Atty. Allison Folmar, Maryanne Godboldo, and Helene Buchanan, also fighting CPS, after court hearing

(L to r) Debbie Williams, who is waging court battle to regain custody of her grandchildren, Mubarak Hakim, Atty. Allison Folmar, Maryanne Godboldo, and Helene Buchanan, also fighting CPS, after court hearing

Criminal charges for defending her child from police seizure, forced medication, reinstated 

PACK 36th District Court hearing re-set for March 14 at 1:30 pm 

Godboldo attorney Folmar receives CCHR award as well

By Diane Bukowski 

February 23, 2013

Maryanne Godboldo speaks at rally July 7, 2011

Maryanne Godboldo speaks at rally July 7, 2011

DETROIT – Maryanne Godboldo, recognized world-wide as a hero for standing off a Detroit police SWAT team trying to seize her young daughter to administer the dangerous drug Risperdal in 2011, was in court once again Feb. 14. In a never-ending continuation of the original assault, she is to face criminal charges re-instated by an appeals court after 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles and Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill adamantly dismissed them.

Godboldo’s arrest and her daughter Ariana Godboldo-Hakim’s six-week involuntary institutionalization elicited global outrage and support. It exposed such child seizures as common practice not only in the Wayne County Juvenile Court, but across the U.S. and much of the world.

36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles
36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles

The COA remanded the case to Giles, who postponed a hearing until Friday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m.  to give the prosecution a chance to review a defense brief mandated by the appeals court.

“We are not going to allow a bum rush job on this case,” Godboldo’s defense attorney Allison Folmar said. “The Appeals Court order in fact gives Judge Giles several other ways to dismiss this case, including the doctrine of self-defense and the right to resist an unlawful arrest. This case also raises issues of a parent’s right not to allow their child to be used as a guinea pig for experimentation by the pharmaceutical companies.”

Folmar received an award for fighting mental health abuse from the Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Los Angeles February 1. Godboldo received a similar award from the organization last year. (See video below).

Folmar’s co-counsel Byron Pitts said, “The Court of Appeals indicated to Judge Giles that he should review the case under a certain analysis. In our brief, Ms. Folmar and I are expressing another set of facts the court should look at, different than the ones used in his ruling. This was a break-in by police into the home of a single mother who was simply protecting her child. We are saying there are a myriad of ways to dismiss this case.”

Atty. Byron Pitts reviews search warrant with Maryanne Godboldo, executed months after police invaded her home.
Atty. Byron Pitts reviews search warrant with Maryanne Godboldo, executed months after police invaded her home.

In her separate version of the Appeals Court opinion, Judge Karen Fort-Hood referenced the People v. Moreno case, in which the Michigan Supreme Court upheld “the common-law right” to resist illegal actions by the police, overturning an appeals court decision that said citizens had to comply with police orders whether they were lawful or not. She also noted “the castle doctrine,” under People v. Riddle, which broadened the right of self-defense.

Giles originally dismissed charges against Godboldo due to the lack of a court order executed after a judge’s review, and said any other evidence was the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Godboldo had faced felony charges of “discharging a weapon in a building, felonious assault, assaulting or obstructing a police officer, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm).”

After the hearing, Attorney Folmar referred to a recent $2.2 billion settlement being paid by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperdal.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces $2.2 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson related to Risperdal and other drugs.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces $2.2 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson related to Risperdal and other drugs.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported in a Nov. 4, 2013 release, “Global health care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiaries will pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from allegations relating to the prescription drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor, including promotion for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and payment of kickbacks to physicians and to the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy provider. The global resolution is one of the largest health care fraud settlements in U.S. history, including criminal fines and forfeiture totaling $485 million and civil settlements with the federal government and states totaling $1.72 billion.” http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-ag-1170.html

The drug was first prescribed for Ariana by doctors at the New Oakland Child, Adolescent and Family Center, which has had paid connections with pharmaceutical companies since at least 2004, to conduct “Adult and Pediatric CNS [Central Nervous System] Clinical Trials for a number of pharmaceutical companies,” according to its website.

CPS worker Mia Wenk
CPS worker Mia Wenk

Ariana’s Child Protective Services (CPS) worker Mia Wenk testified during a court hearing that the sole reason she asked police to take the child was to administer Risperdal, although Godboldo had signed a release which allowed her to take the child off the drug at any time. Under medical supervision, Godboldo was weaning Ariana off the drug due to harmful side effects.

After Ariana was seized in 2011, the Hawthorne Center not only re-administered Risperdal to her, but a cocktail of other drugs. They took her prosthetic leg, which she had worn since her ability to walk due to a birth-related injury, and her parents have alleged she was sexually abused as well.

The Justice4Maryanne Committee is asking all her supporters, and those of other families facing the same state-sponsored assaults, to pack the court at her hearing.

Website: http://justice4maryanne.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Maryanne-Godboldo/178678602179610

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jstice4maryanne

Related VOD stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/06/01/michigan-court-re-instates-criminal-charges-against-maryanne-godboldo/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/09/state-county-pursue-prosecution-of-maryanne-godboldo-and-her-child/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/18/michigan-supreme-court-upholds-right-to-resist-police-misconduct/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/02/25/wayne-co-requests-appeal-on-dismissed-maryanne-goldboldo-case-almost-30-days-late/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/12/13/double-victories-for-maryanne-godboldo-and-family/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/12/06/worthy-tries-to-reinstate-charges-against-maryanne-godboldo-hearing-set-for-fri-dec-9-9-am-judge-gregory-bill/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/10/31/stop-state-child-abductions-support-godboldos-tues-nov-1-12-noon/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/30/9604/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/24/referee-youssef-orders-mother-from-home-after-cps-claims-5-children-suffer/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/17/detroit-father-of-5-pursues-federal-civil-rights-suit-against-mia-wenk-dhs-judges-agencies-for-removal-of-children/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/17/police-invade-godboldo-home-2nd-time-in-belated-evidence-search/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/16/jury-rules-against-maryanne-godboldo-in-custody-trial/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/08/ariana-godboldo-hakim%e2%80%99s-parents-tell-of-loving-life-with-daughter-during-custody-trial-nso-worker-testifies-she-admitted-child-to-psychiatric-hospital-without-family-consent-or-doctors-orde/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/08/tangled-web-in-godboldo-case-drug-cos-private-and-public-agencies-judge-dhs-all-benefit-from-child-abduction/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/07/u-s-johnson-johnson-wrongly-marketed-risperdal-to-kids/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/08/03/another-shock-no-judge-authorized-ariana-godboldos-removal/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/07/27/shocking-new-details-in-godboldo-police-stand-off-case/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/07/23/broad-support-at-maryanne-godboldo-rally-pack-36th-district-court-mon-july-25-830-a-m/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/07/15/my-child-does-not-belong-to-the-state-rally-for-maryanne-godboldo-sun-july-17/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/07/11/godboldo-hearing-adjourned-to-mon-july-25-830-a-m-%e2%80%9cpromptly%e2%80%9d-mother%e2%80%99s-supporters-to-rally-sun-july-17-8801-woodward-4-6-p-m/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/07/07/godboldo-hearing-thurs-july-7-9-am-alternet-article-on-militarization-of-police-in-u-s/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/06/28/judge-ewell-revokes-stay-on-criminal-charges-v-maryanne-godboldo-attorneys-protest/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/05/06/judge-orders-godboldo-daughter-home-to-family-may-6/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/05/02/pack-court-hearing-may-4-to-demand-ariana-godboldos-release/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/26/judge-orders-joint-medical-plan-for-ariana-in-one-week-subsequent-release-from-hawthorn-center/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/24/child-removal-laws-are-unconstitutional-hurt-michigan-families-aclu-charges-in-federal-lawsuit/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/14/%e2%80%9ci-want-my-daughter-back-now%e2%80%9d/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/08/mother-wins-indefinite-stay-of-criminal-proceedings/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/08/justice-4-maryanne-free-ariana/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/03/29/community-rallies-behind-mother-accused-of-stand-off/

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ATTORNEYS VOW APPEALS IN CONVICTIONS OF AIYANA JONES’ DAD, CHAUNCEY OWENS

Dominika Jones' favorite photo of her daughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Dominika Jones’ favorite photo of her daughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Jones acquitted of gun counts, the only reason for murder charges

Role of Owens’ brother in Blake killing not accounted for

No forensic evidence 

Killer cop Weekley’s trial postponed indefinitely

By Diane Bukowski 

Analysis 

February 21, 2014 

JKiller cop Joseph Weekley in star photo from A&E website.
JKiller cop Joseph Weekley in star photo from A&E website.

DETROIT – The fix was in from the moment Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, in the head with an MP-5 sub-machine gun as she lay sleeping with her grandmother in the early morning hours of May 16, 2010, two days after Jerean Blake, 17, was killed.

That was clear during a press conference May 18, 2010, held by Atty. Geoffrey Fieger with Aiyana’s family present. The first question a reporter asked was, “Didn’t Charles give Chauncey the gun [in the killing of Jerean Blake]?” Since Jones was not charged until 17 months later, that question could only have come from a police leak aimed at justifying Aiyana’s killing.

Fieger, shocked, responded, “What has that go to do with it?”

Jones family at Fieger press conference May 18, 2010: (l to r) Mark Robinson, Dominika Stanley-Jones, Charles Jones, Geoffrey Fieger, Mertilla Jones, LaKrystal Sanders

Aiyana Jones’ family at Fieger press conference May 18, 2010: (l to r) Mark Robinson, Dominika Stanley-Jones, Charles Jones, Geoffrey Fieger, Mertilla Jones, LaKrystal Sanders

The beautiful little girl Aiyana, killed during an unnecessary military-style police raid staged for the benefit of viewers of A & E’s “The First 48,” is now forgotten, as the mainstream media reports the jury verdicts rendered against her father Charles Jones and her “uncle” Chauncey Owens on Feb. 13 in Blake’s killing.

Aiyana’s father, who crawled through his daughter’s blood and brains as Special Response Team members swarmed through his mother’s home that horrible day, was convicted of second-degree murder and perjury but acquitted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and using a firearm during a felony, after nearly four days of jury deliberation.

Charles Jones asleep with his children; Aiyana is at right. Family Facebook photo
Charles Jones asleep with his children; Aiyana is at right. Family Facebook photo

“The theory of the prosecution is that my client possessed the gun, gave the gun to Mr. Owens, who used it in the killing,” Jones’ lawyer Leon Weiss said in published remarks,  “That’s the reason they charged him with homicide. I think [the jury’s acquittal of Jones on the gun charges] gives us pretty good grounds for appeal.”

He told VOD later, “My appellate team is looking at all options. Unfortunately, Michigan case law is fairly clear that juries are allowed to come back with stupid, compromised and inconsistent verdicts. We will continue to fight for Charles at every turn.”

Owens was convicted of first-degree murder, using a firearm in a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm after one day of deliberation, a Friday. Two of his jurors had told Wayne County Circuit Court Richard Skutt they needed to leave before the following Tuesday because they had vacation plans.

David Cripps, Owens’ attorney, said he also plans to appeal his client’s verdict. He presented testimony during the trial that another man, Sh’rron Hurt, Owens’ brother, killed Blake. Hurt, who testified against Owens, was at the scene of Blake’s killing, then hid the moped he was driving in a friend’s house across from the Jones residence,  and fled to his “second” suburban home in Macomb County.

Chauncey Owens refuses to testify against Charles Jones at Jones' preliminary exam Nov. 28, 2011
Chauncey Owens refuses to testify against Charles Jones at Jones’ preliminary exam Nov. 28, 2011

During Weekley’s trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter in June, 2013, which ended with a hung jury, several members of the SRT surveillance team testified that they saw Owens in the daytime outside the home at least twice, during which they could have easily arrested him. Instead, they waited until after midnight to stage their violent raid in view of “The First 48’s” TV camera.

“If he would not have given him that gun, Je’Rean Blake would still be alive right now,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran said during closing arguments against Jones. Although Moran is also prosecuting Weekley for involuntary manslaughter, he blamed Aiyana’s death primarily on Owens and her own father, a glaring conflict of interest.

The mainstream media has ignored that issue to pursue its own agenda, in line with that of the police, insisting that Owens confessed that Jones gave him the gun, despite the lack of one shred of evidence in Owens’ court file, which VOD reviewed at length, that he ever said that. The only evidence VOD had not reviewed was the police videotape of Owens’ alleged confession.

Jerean Blake
Jerean Blake

VOD was the ONLY newspaper present nearly every day of the three-weeks long Owens/Jones trial. Print media, which reported largely on opening and closing arguments and the verdict, missed the showing of that videotape. So did the Jones jury, which was unfortunately excused for that part of the trial.

If they had been there, they would have heard Owens name ANOTHER man as the one who gave him the gun. This was only after another “First 48” star like Weekley, Sgt. Kenneth Gardner, broke him down during a manipulative interrogation by belatedly letting him know his niece had died. Owens then began rambling, telling several different stories. Despite Sgt. Gardner’s repeated efforts to get him to name Charles Jones, he recovered enough each time to adamantly state Jones was NOT involved, or at the very most, was only present at the scene, which is NOT a crime.

Owens later repeatedly refused to testify against Jones during Jones’ preliminary exam, despite losing his second-degree murder plea as a result.

The ONLY evidence presented against Jones at the trial was that of two disreputable “jail-house snitches,” and a recorded conversation between Jones and Aiyana’s mother Dominika Stanley-Jones.

Jay Schlenkerman's latest mug shot, from Charles Egeler Reception Center. He was sentenced to 6 to 10 years Feb. 6, 2014.
Jay Schlenkerman’s latest mug shot, from Charles Egeler Reception Center. He was sentenced to 6 to 10 years Feb. 6, 2014.

The snitches were Jay Schlenkerman, a serial woman-beater, drunk driver, and self-admitted perjurer, and Qasim Raqib, who signed a written pledge to give evidence in exchange against Jones and two other prisoners in exchange for lesser charges in the 2011 murder and dismemberment of a transgender teen.

A recording of a jail-house conversation between Jones and Aiyana’s mother Dominika Stanley-Jones, in which Jones remarked that it was the anniversary of “the day I got my daughter killed,” was also played.

Jones’ mother Mertilla Jones said her son felt it was his fault because he had asked Aiyana to move to the side of the couch by the door to sleep. There are of course numerous interpretations that can be made of a bereaved parent’s statement; survivor’s guilt plays a large role in most deaths of loved ones.

There was absolutely NO forensic evidence presented during the entire trial: the  gun, the second bullet which did not hit Jerean, fingerprints, vehicles, a store videotape, or videotapes taken by A&E of witnesses identifying Owens in a photo line-up. It was clear from day one that the prosecution and police were intent on fingering Owens and Jones to justify the cold-blooded slaughter of a little child.

Roberto Guzman (center) with the late Kevin Carey (l) and members of the Detroit Crime Lab Task Force.
Roberto Guzman (center) with the late Kevin Carey (l) and members of the Detroit Crime Lab Task Force.

Paralegal Roberto Guzman, who has worked on behalf of dozens of prisoners appealing their cases, remarked on the contrast between the charges brought against Jones and Owens, and those against Weekley.

“What no one in that prosecutor’s office is able (or willing) to answer is why was Weekley undercharged with involuntary manslaughter, despite overwhelming evidence of premeditation and deliberation, elements for first degree murder! DPD and the raid team prepared, rehearsed, and discussed going into that home before the invasion. That is premeditation! Weekley also deliberated the pros and cons before and after he fired his gun, lying as he did on Mertilla Jones. DPD tried to do damage control and clean that lie up after the State Police crime scene results and the second autopsy came back seriously refuting Weekley’s lie that he accidentally shot the gun after grandma struggled with him over the weapon. Liars and killers! That’s what they are. You or I under similar factual scenarios would have been charged with MURDER.”

Weekley walks free, at home in Grosse Pointe Park, on personal bond to this day, nearly four years after he killed a little girl. A preliminary  hearing for his re-trial was scheduled for Feb. 28, but Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office just announced, “ Joseph Weekley – Detroit Officer charged in connection with the death of Aiyana Stanley-Brown, who was fatally shot during a police raid. The judge is not available on the originally scheduled date of 2/28/14. A new date has not been announced by the court at this time.”

Even Aiyana’s name has been forgotten.

March for Aiyana Jones in downtown Detroit June 26, 2010.

March for Aiyana Jones in downtown Detroit June 26, 2010. Photo: Herb Boyd

Weekley’s trial was repeatedly postponed earlier by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, who said several times from the bench that the Owens/Jones trial should proceed first.

Charles Jones faces sentencing March 13, and Chauncey Owens March 14. Aiyana’s family, meanwhile, has been torn apart by unimaginable grief and sorrow since her death and the charges brought against her father. Her great-aunt, who was present in the room during the police raid, died shortly afterward, as did another sister of Mertilla Jones.  The family has suffered a host of illnesses, police harassment and arrests of its younger male members, among numerous other misfortunes.

Protest against growing police state in Detroit Oct. 21, 2013, outside Frank Murphy Hall.
Protest against growing police state in Detroit Oct. 21, 2013, outside Frank Murphy Hall.

Blake’s mother Lyvonne Cargill, reacted to the verdicts in published remarks, saying, “I’m just happy now. I can smile and sleep now.”

Angelo Henderson, the talk show host who repeatedly featured her on his show to push the police version of events, passed away two days after the Owens/Jones verdicts were given, at the age of 51 on Feb 15, 2014. Henderson and many others in the media falsely tried to equate the growing murderous menace of a police state with the violence born of oppression, poverty and despair in the Black community.

Related articles:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/02/10/who-killed-detroits-jerean-blake-17-and-aiyana-jones-7/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/02/01/did-another-man-kill-jerean-blake-17-before-police-killed-aiyana-jones-7-in-2010/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/01/29/trial-in-jerean-blake-killing-begins-with-contradictory-testimony/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/01/27/jury-finds-jailhouse-snitch-jay-schlenkerman-informant-vs-aiyana-jones-dad-guilty-of-3-more-felonies-sentencing-feb-6/

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