Cornell Squires (r) and supporters of his son and young cousins who had been framed up by “Robocop” William Melendez march on Detroit’s old 4th Precinct in 2000. This was 3 years before the feds charged Melendez and 17 other cops with running a Ramparts-style ring that terrorized the southwest side. Squires’ son was falsely accused of attempted carjacking; his young cousins’ home was invaded by Detroit police who planted drugs there. Squires’ son was tried before Judge Kym Worthy, who refused to acknowledge evidence that Melendez had already been charged with filing false reports. He served time in prison on the false charge. Atty. George Washington got the case against Squires’ cousins dismissed by an Appeals Court. Squires himself was previously assaulted by Detroit cop Robert Feld, as his son and father watched. His father had a heart attack which later proved fatal. Feld and Melendez worked together in the 4th Precinct at the time; Squires says his son’s frame-up was retaliation for his filing a report on Feld’s assault on him.
“Stop police brutality and save American communities from “Rogue Cops” and “Robo Cops.”
“Our new generation is faced with being murdered in American streets in the same racist attacks done to the ancestors . . . .mostly killing Brown and Black men.”
By Cornell Squires
April 18, 2015
Some of the others who marched on the 4th precinct in 2000.
Detroit — It’s time for younger and older men alike to stand against corruption, police brutality. and all injustice in our communities. Americans must stand up for the truth and our personal freedom! All human beings have a constitutional right for equality and God given rights no man can take away! “God is the true lawgiver.”
The world is watching the United States of America. They see these young men of color are being assaulted, killed and incarcerated unjustly due to rogue cops lying and committing crimes because they feel privilege and are not being charged with these crimes! America has a double standard in our legal system and we must demand a new legal system immediately!
This is also an unfair, hateful, malicious, ungodly and disrespectful system to our city’s residential homeowners and the taxpayers in our communities. Citizens’ human rights are being violated by rogue officers and homeowners are paying for these crimes they commit with increased of tax bills.
W illiam Melendez in 2004 during federal trial of cop terror ring. Photo: Diane Bukowski
Robert Feld today, Facebook. Forced to retire when video of him beating Mexican man surfaced.
Rogue cops have no thoughts for human life. These officers are taking advantage of the taxpayers, citizenry who contributed hard earned money to pay taxes for good services. But Detroit’s local government can’t provide better services because of tax dollars being squandered, payid out for unnecessary illegal fees, continued lawsuits against repeat offenders know, as rogue cops.
Detroit’s record speaks for itself. The rogue officers refusing to adhere to the same law citizen must follow, but then officials don’t enforce the law when rogue officers break it. All our residents must rise up!
Detroit’s rogue cops cost taxpayers more money while the “good” officers are demanding higher salarIes, but will not speak out against the bad officers! Actually taxpayers are the real bosses for the police officers. The people actually paying taxes are the keepers of this city. Each time a rogue cop deliberately assaults a residents he/she is threatening the city payroll and possibly a pay cut in the near future to fellow employees especially after City just got out of bankruptcy! Police officers’ families may suffer more financial losses like the city has taken from the general city retirees’ pensions.
Cornell Squires speaks at protest against Wayne Co. tax foreclosures April 31, 2015.
But rogue cops’ acts of brutality are hurting everyone in the cities and harming American families across this country. Residents pay higher taxes and water bills to compensate for the losses. The city of Detroit residents paid well over $100 million dollars in the past 25 years because of police misconduct.
This happens because leadership is unjust and doesn’t uphold law equally. The past and current Wayne County Prosecutors should be held accountable and responsible for rogue cops’ conduct and action over the past 25 years because they refused to bring charges against those officers!
Many rogue cops are repeat offenders, just like “Robocop” William Melendez who assaulted Floyd Dent, which was captured on police dash cam in January 2015. Floyd’ Dent was assaulted by police and then they planted drugs in his car.
Robocop, then an Inskter police officer, once worked for city of Detroit police department and cost city tapayers a millions of dollars in civil lawsuits for wrongful death, assaulting city residents and framing numerous citizens, as he did with my son. He has only ever been charged for filing a false police report, which he also did in my son’s case.
Squires at protest of Detroit police killing of Aiyana Jones, 7, in 2010.
Aiyana’s killer Joseph Weekley on ad for “Detroit SWAT” TV show. He is now back on force.
Detroit paid out the highest lawsuit awards for wrongful death caused by police misconduct in the 1990’s per capita.
U.S. lawmakers should pass a law to stop police brutality and save American communties from “Rogue Cops” and “Robo Cops.”
Many times rogue officers transfer to another police department after being reprimanded of fired for committing crime(s), and get hired there. Normally prosecutors will not charges police officers with perjury or assult charges like average citizens are charged.
The injust killings of Black citizens continues today just like it was 50 years ago. Only a few cops have ever been brought to justice for assulting or killing U.S citizens, but received minor reprimands or little punishmen.
Looking at the historical prospective in America our ancestors were unjustly killed by police officers and no police officers were ever criminally charged for murdering our ancestors. Now our new generation is faced with being murdered in American streets in same racist attacks done to the ancestors and communities, mostly killing Brown and Black men.
North Charleston, SC cop Michael Slager (r) killed Walter, unarmed, 50, and a Coast Guard retiree, father of four, as he ran from being tasered.
Many people have seen the video on the news about the S.C. man running from the scene and the police officer shot him in the back numerous times, killing him. But what crime was committed ? Did the man commit a felony ? I thought police officers could only persue a fleeing felon.
Did his crime constitute or warrant the police officer shooting a human being in his back? Why are so many Black men are being killed by police officers in the United States today? Why?
But the U.S Federal or State prosecutor’s are not charging police officers with any crime! Should the prosecutors’ offices in America be held LIABLE? These young men killed are human beings and were created in God’s image likeness. Where is humanity? God loves them the same way he loves police officers, but God hates evil.
Youths in Ferguson after Michael Brown murder: “Stop Killing Us!”
Where’s America truthful churches? Is there a such thing as a true church, who always say that God is good all the time, while our brothers and sisters need our help! The killing of Black men must STOP because it is wrong and sinful! Where is America’s leadership? Now so many candidates are running to for president of the U.S. What’s their precise plan to stop police brutality?
Before you vote the next presidential election remember “Black Lives Matter” Where are the righteousness peoples on the earth? The faith community? The church peoples says, One Lord One faith One Bapstim for ALL Us Ephesian 4:6 But faith-based communities are to quiet today? Everyone that God fearing in America should step up to plate, and denounce this Gross Injustices in United States of America speak out about Rogue Police Officers. Come out from among them” unity together for righteousness sake, peace, love, harmony for the lost H tribes of young Americans! God, our children need our support ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Recent Chicago protest over police killings of unarmed Black, Latino, and poor people. Chicago police were cited by the UN as one of the most brutal forces. They also attacked this protest.
Innocence Clinics move for new trial for Sanford, 14 at arrest for four murders on Runyon Street
“Professional hit man Vincent Smothers committed the crime for which Davontae Sanford is doing the time.” Atty. Megan Crane
“We want justice not just for Davontae but for the other families.”—Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, Davontae’s mother
“Davontae Sanford is being wrongly incarcerated for crimes that I know he did not commit.” — Vincent Smothers, who has confessed in detail to Runyon St. murders
Davontae Sanford, now 22, in prison, serving time for crimes he did not commit. He was 14 when arrested. Facebook photo
“They say ev’rything can be replaced Yet ev’ry distance is not near So I remember ev’ry face Of ev’ry man who put me here I see my light come shining From the west unto the east Any day now, any day now I shall be released.” – Bob Dylan
By Diane Bukowski
April 18, 2015
DETROIT – Davontae Sanford, who has spent eight long years in a Michigan Level 5 maximum security prison, locked down 23 hours a day, for four 2007 murders which drug ring hitman Vincent Smothers has confessed committing to police and prosecutors numerous times, may finally see his “light come shining.”
Davontae Sanford at 14, when he was arrested.
The case of a 14-year-old child, blind in one eye and developmentally disabled, being arrested, charged, and sent to adult prison in 2008 under these circumstances has gained international attention.
“The real reason we’re here is because the Detroit criminal justice system can’t handle the truth,” attorney Megan Crane, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University School of Law, said at a press conference April 15. “For far too long the truth in this case has been hidden and suppressed. The truth is that professional hit man Vincent Smothers committed the crime for which Davontae Sanford is doing the time.”
Crane and David Moran of the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic, flanked by other attorneys and law students, announced that they had just filed a “motion for relief from judgment” asking for a new trial for Sanford.
Attorneys Megan Crane and David Moran join Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, Davontae’s sisters and little nephew, and (behind sisters) father Jermaine Tilmon at press conference at Frank Murphy Hall April 15, 2015. Also in photo behind Moran are Khalil Fareed, and Detroit Pastor W.J. Rideout III.
Sanford’s mother Taminko Sanford-Tilmon said, “As a family we are just excited that we have finally made it. We know it’s going to be some bumps that we’re going to hit, but we’re going to get up and wipe up our knees off. We’re grateful right now. Yes it is a long road, we do miss him, yes I do get weak, but I can’t give up. We’re here for him, because if we give up he gives up. We’re not going to allow him as a family to give up. We’re going to continue to do rallies, pray whatever we have to do until he comes home.”
She said her son’s spirits have been lifted by the new developments, with numerous attorneys interviewing him in the case and constant attention to obtaining a new trial. On Davontae’s Facebook page, she added,
Ionia prison group.
Just Got off the Phone with My Baby Davontae Sanford and he’s overwhelmed with Joy, and want to Personally thank everyone for their Support,Prayers n Jpays n Letters n Monetary Gifts he’s receiving. He want every one to know he can receive Jpay but cant send Jpay Bk. He’s asking everyone to keep him lifted in prayer because this will be a long journey,and Continue to Write Him,Pray for Him,Fight for Him,Support Him N Dont Forgot About Him,And He Love U All n Thanks Again, He don’t take it lightly or for granted that ur apart of that journey with him, N God Bless U All
Sanford is in the Ionia Maximum Security Correctional Facility, classified at the highest threat live, 5. In the past, he has been subjected to ongoing severe harassment by Ionia guards and staff, VOD reported earlier. He can receive letters at
Davontae Sanford, #684070, Ionia Correctional Facility, 1576 W. Bluewater HighwayIonia, MI 48846
JPay, a way to communicate with prisoners by email and send photos as well as money, can be accessed at https://www.jpay.com/.
Davontae Sanford’s family and supporters after Appeals Court decision in his favor in 2013. Detroit News reporter Oralandar Brand-Williams is taking photo at left; kneeling in front is Roberto Guzman of Coalition to Free the Wrongly Convicted.
Sanford-Tilmon stood with her husband, Davontae’s long-time stepfather Jermaine Tilmon, Davontae’s sisters and little brother, mentor Sylvester Long, Roberto Guzman of the Coalition to Free the Wrongly Convicted, and others who have worked for Davontae’s freedom since his conviction.
Taminko Sanford speaks at rally for her son outside Frank Murphy June 29, 2010.
Sanford-Tilmon has coordinated numerous rallies in front of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice and the Court of Appeals. She has been interviewed by international as well as local media. Bill Proctor, formerly of Channel 7, who runs his own innocence clinic, and Darcy Delaproser of Ireland, who works on behalf of adolescents, are chief supporters.
Davontae’s family and supporters have attended dozens of trial hearings at all levels up to the Court of Appeals. They remain wary, because they thought they were on the verge of victory after an appeals court ruled earlier that Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Williams had “abused his discretion” and remanded the case back to him. Prosecutor Worthy, however, appealed that decision to the Michigan Supreme Court and it was overturned.
Vincent Smothers at Michigan Reformatory. Photo/New Yorker.
A 24-page detailed confession from Smothers, who has previously signed multiple affidavits confessing to the murders, as well as admitting his and his accomplice Ernest Davis’ sole involvement in interviews with media including The New Yorker and the AP, is attached to the innocence clinics’ motion.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that Davontae Sanford was not involved in the September 17, 2007 murders at Runyon Street in any way,” Smothers says in the current affidavit, dated March 6, 2015. It gives complete, accurate details of the crime, Sanford’s lawyers said.
“Before my arrest by the Detroit Police Department in April of 2008, I had never met, spoken with, or even heard of Davontae Sanford or anyone connected to him. Davontae Sanford is being wrongly incarcerated for crimes that I know he did not commit,” Smothers writes.
Sylvester Long, author of “State Prison,” who has himself served time, is a family friend. He will mentor Davontae when he comes home to help him adjust.
Smothers told an AP reporter in a 2012 jailhouse interview, “I understand what prison life is like; it’s miserable. To be here and be innocent – I don’t know what it’s like. He’s a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they’re giving him.”
Sanford, in his pajamas, just happened on the scene of the crime near his home, attracted by police lights and sirens. He told police at the scene that his uncle was a Detroit cop. He was later taken in and interrogated without the presence of his mother or an attorney, but still denied any involvement.
Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan, shown with Tracy Sullivan, repeatedly refused to allow testimony from Smothers or his attorneys during appeal of the case.
His new attorneys said Sanford did not plead guilty to the murders until the middle of a bench trial before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan, on March 18, 2008, after it became apparent that his defense attorney, Robert Slameka, had done absolutely nothing to defend him.
Slameka never filed a motion to throw out a confession that was clearly elicited under duress, and promises that he would be allowed to go home, from an extremely vulnerable child. He did not even cross-examine the officer who took the confession. He later claimed, “The kid wouldn’t cooperate.”
But Moran said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has not yet withdrawn the charges in Davontae’s case, and has refused to discuss the matter with them.
“What about the other people that lost someone?” Sanford-Tilmon asked. “They don’t have justice either. We’re not the only ones hurting; they’re also hurting because the right person that did the crimes is not in jail for those crimes. We’re not only out here for my son Davontae to get justice, we’re out here so that the other families get justice too.”
Runyon street house where murders occurred.
On the night of Sept. 17, 2007, four people watching a football game in a home at 19741 Runyon St. on Detroit’s east side lost their lives: Michael Robinson, Sr. 33, D’Angelo McNoriell (early 20s), Brian Dixon (early 20s), and Nicole Chapman, 25. Valerie Glover, 30, was critically wounded but survived as she hid under the bed of Michael Robinson, Jr. 7, who remained physically unharmed.
The senior Robinson, who was known to sell only marijuana from his house, was the actual target; the others were visitors.
Smothers first confessed to the Runyon Street murders on April 19, 2008, as part of his confession to a total of 12 murders, including that of Rose Cobb, wife of Detroit police officer David Cobb. Smothers said he was hired to commit the Runyon Street murders by Leroy Payne, who operated a drug ring along with his boss Delano Taylor, now deceased.
Aiyana Jones’ grandmother Mertilla Jones (center) listens as Taminko Sanford speaks during rally for their children April 23, 2012. Davontae’s signs were made by Jones family member.
Smothers says he discovered during his confessions that another man had just been convicted of the Runyon Street murders.
Fifteen days previously, on April 4, 2008, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan sentenced Sanford to four concurrent terms of 37 to 90 years, with two years on a gun charge, according to the motion filed by the innocence clinic lawyers April 15. Sanford was then 15.
“I . . . talked with Sgt. Michael Russell in detail about how I committed the Runyon murders when he took me to the bathroom during one of my interrogations,” Smothers says. “He told me that they had already caught the guy responsible for the murders. I told him they must have the wrong guy then because I had committed the murders, and I knew that Nemo [Ernest Davis], my accomplice, had not been arrested. I also told Sgt. Russell several details about the murder[s] including the neighbor who had shot at me.”
He says no Detroit police officer ever followed up with questions about Runyon Street, although Sgt. Gerald Williams told the court during a preliminary examination in front of Judge Craig Strong that Smothers had confessed to the Runyon Street murders.
“An initial plea offer, made sometime before trial was scheduled to begin, was a 50-to-100 year sentence if I agreed not to testify in Davontae Sanford’s legal proceedings about my confession to the Runyon Street murders,” Smothers says. “I declined this offer because is seemed ludicrous to me that the state would actually go this far to make sure Davontae Sanford remained in prison for crimes I committed and confessed to.”
Detroit Police investigator Ira Todd, who Smothers confessed Runyon Street killings to.
Smothers says he “repeatedly and consistently confessed to the Runyon Street murders for seven years,” to Ira Todd of the Detroit Police Department, Kentucky detectives who were tracking James Davis, the brother of his accomplice Ernest Davis, Michigan State police detectives, his attorney Gabi Silver and defense investigator Linda Borus, in addition to the officers present April 19, 2008.
He says he at first did not agree to take the stand himself because he feared for the safety of his wife and children if he was portrayed as a “snitch.”
But, he goes on, “I am now willing to testify in court that I committed the Runyon murders with Nemo . . . I am frustrated that repeatedly telling the truth about these crimes for nearly seven years, Davontae Sanford is still wrongfully incarcerated for crimes he did not commit.”
He says it is absurd that he would involve a “kid” in his hits.
“I planned them very carefully and in great detail because I knew that a loose cannon or inexperienced person could be the difference between life and death.”
Poster compiled by the NWU and UM innocence clinics.
The motion and affidavit show that they are filed in the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon. It is Case. No. 07-015-018-01-FC. Judge Sullivan earlier denied Sanford’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea as filed by the State Appellate Defenders’ Office. Moran said, however, that an appellate decision on the case indicated it should have been filed as a Motion for Relief from Judgment, which the law clinics have done.
Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy listens to her assistant prosecutors, including David Moran, at right, who assisted in the Sanford prosecution.
He said they now await the setting of a date for the hearing.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said in a statement on behalf of Prosecutor Kym Worthy: “We are aware that a new brief will be filed in the case. At the appropriate time, we will file a response and argue our legal position in court.” However, such proceedings can further prolong Davontae’s unjust imprisonment. All Worthy has to do is withdraw the charges.
(VOD is working to track the connections of dealers Leroy Payne and Delano Taylor to higher level drug traffickers and/or government or instigators. Reporter Gary Webb clearly laid out the origins of the crack cocaine epidemic in the Nicaraguan Contra-CIA “guns for drugs” dealings of the 1980’s in his book, The Dark Alliance. Since then, a Mexican drug lord being tried by the federal government in Chicago has outlined in detail how the CIA allowed him to traffic crack cocaine in the U.S., and banks have been charged with drug money-laundering. Gary Webb said in his book, “Dark Alliance does not propound a conspiracy theory; there is nothing theoretical about history. In this case, it is undeniable that a wildly successful conspiracy to import cocaine existed for many years, and that innumerable American citizens–most of them poor and Black–paid an enormous price as a result. This book was written for them, so that they may know upon what altars their communities were sacrificed.”)
Below is Aaron Neville singing “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan.
Hundreds march in Inkster April 2 to demand justice for Floyd Dent, and an end to “garbage police” like William Melendez, who left the Inkster police today, but remains as a cop in Highland Park.
Melendez has worked part-time for HP police for some time, may get hired full-time now
Dent’s atty. demands missing 16 minutes of booking videotape, alleges it shows more “terror”
Wayne Co. Prosecutor hasn’t decided on charging Melendez; feds now involved
Dent was afraid he would be killed at hospital after booking
Inkster supporters say they have been demanding that Robocop be fired for a long time
By Diane Bukowski
April 16, 2015
“Robocop” Melendez still on patrol in Highland Park.
DETROIT— “Robocop” William Melendez, now notorious for the near fatal-beating of Floyd Dent in Inkster, is working at the Highland Park Police Department, and has been there part-time for several years, reliable sources told VOD today. His actual discharge from the Inkster Police Department for nearly killing retired autoworker Dent Jan. 28 took place at 5 p.m. tonight.
The sources said Melendez may be hired full-time in Highland Park now.
VOD left messages for comment with Highland Park police chief Kevin Coney and his assistant Kamin Bode, then called the Department and asked for William Melendez. The officer at the desk said “he’s not in right now.” Neither Coney nor Bode has returned the calls.
Channel Four’s Kevin Dietz reported that Melendez is on patrol as a traffic cop in Highland Park, fully armed. Highland Park City Attorney Todd Perkins justified Melendez’ continued employment, saying in Dietz’ report that he has not been found guilty of anything yet.
Attorney Gregory Rohl and Floyd Dent.
Melendez was actually convicted of filing a false report while with the Detroit Police Department, an event which happened in the 1990’s. (Some local media has reported falsely that that incident caused him to be fired from the DPD. In fact he continued there through at least 2004 and possibly 2009.
He previously worked at DPD beginning in 1993, during which he killed one man, racked up numerous brutality lawsuits, and was federally charged for operating a “Ramparts”-style gang of cops on Detroit’s southwest side. Cops in that case were acquitted in what federal prosecutors called a “nullification verdict.” Their trial was a rare instance of a breakdown in the police “wall of silence,” since numerous Black Detroit officers testified against Melendez et. al.
Meanwhile, Dent’s attorney Gregory Rohl alleged in court April 15 that Inkster police redacted most of a booking videotape after Dent’s arrest, providing him only with a five-minute version that does not show the additional “terror” Dent said he experienced at the station.
“I was advised by an officer that this is incomplete, and that her version is 21 minutes long and she was rather disturbed by what she saw,” Rohl told Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner, in a courtroom packed with Dent’s family and supporters, most from Inkster.
Groner held the hearing over until April 29, pending a review of the complete videotape, but Inkster police chief Vicki Yost later told Channel Four that the department had disclosed everything. Yost was implicated in a civil lawsuit involving the 1996 killing of Lamar Grable, 20, by her partner, three-time killer cop Eugene Brown, in which the jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million.
Dent still faces a charge of crack cocaine possession, which he hoped would be dismissed during the hearing. His attorneys earlier released a dshcam video which appears to show Melendez pulling a baggie of crack cocaine out of his pocket to plant in Dent’s car. However, Assistant Prosecutor Tom Dawson said the office wants “more time” to review the evidence.
Rohl told the media after the hearing, “There is stuff on [that booking videotape] that we want badly. I hope the prosecutor will do the right thing and go after Robocop.”
Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy
He was on his way to meet with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to request that criminal charges be brought against Melendez.
Dent said, “I have my fingers crossed that all the right things will happen. When I heard about it, I knew that the video was much longer than five minutes.”
He added, “I am very overwhelmed by all the supporters that have come out for me. It has been a long road for me, with the loss of a lot of sleep, and I’m hoping for the right thing to be done.”
Dent spent three days in Garden City Hospital after the beating, during which he said he feared he would be killed, because his family was not allowed to see him. A woman visiting her son at the hospital contacted his family members for him. (See video below.)
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s chief of communications, Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller, told VOD, “The WCPO investigation into Mr. Dent’s allegations is a continuing investigation. When it concludes and a decision is made the press will be notified. We are going to review the video footage to make sure that it is complete. We believe that the defense has all of the video, but we are going back through it to make sure.”
George Williams, head of National Christians in Action/ Facebook
Channel Four reporter Kevin Dietz said on the air that there is now a federal investigation into the Dent beating, with two investigators assigned to the case.
Inkster resident Rev. George Williams, Pres. and CEO of the National Christians in Action, told VOD, “We want to know about the rest of the police officers involved as well. Melendez wasn’t the only one. Our police department has had racial problems for a very long time.”
He was among dozens of supporters who packed the courtroom for Dent.
Father Ellis Clifton, of St. Clements Episcopal Church in Inkster, said, “They need to charge the persons that tased him, and beat and kicked him, as well as everyone else who covered this up. The police department does not represent the make-up of the community of Inkster. They need to assign police with a real connection to us.”
Father Ellis Clifton of St. Clements Episcopal Church/website
Both Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost and William Melendez had applied for jobs in Romulus, Michigan prior to their hire with the Inkster police, but were turned down, he said.
Other Inkster residents at hearing said they have been demanding that Melendez be removed from the force for several years due to numerous instances of brutality. He had been employed in Inkster since at least 2011.
Crystal Linton, Exec. Secretary of the Inkster chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), said, “We had already gone to City Manager Marsh to ask him to fire Melendez, but he kept saying they had it under control, and would deal with progressive discipline.”
One federal lawsuit is pending which accuses Melendez and other Inkster cops of unlawfully invading the home of a friend of DeShawn Acklin in 2011. The lawsuit then says:
“While Plaintiff [Acklin] was handcuffed and compliant, one of the Defendants began to choke him and beat him until he lost consciousness. Plaintiff was also subsequently maced by one of the Defendants. Plaintiff was arrested and taken to Garden City Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Plaintiff unlawfully remained in Defendants’ custody for approximately three days until he was released without being charged with any crime.” (Click on: Deshawn Acklin v Melendez for full lawsuit.)
Sherriff’s photo of Debra Pernell Simmons after they brutally beat and tased her during a NAN protest in Natchez, MS in 2013.
Inkster resident Debra Pernell-Simmons, also a member of the Inkster chapter of NAN, and previously Vice-President of the Mississippi chapter, noted that police have been tasing people as a means of torture, not restraint, as they did in the case of Floyd Dent and the recent killing of Walter Scott of North Charleston, S.C. She said she herself was a victim of police brutality in her home state of Mississippi in 2013.
“I was tased multiple times on June 3, 2013, in my thighs, buttocks, leg and crotch, all over, until I fell to the ground, by members of the Natchez, Mississippi Sheriff’s Department,” Simmons said.
NewsOne reported on the protest she was taking part in:
“Pernell-Simmons and members of NAN, the civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, traveled to Natchez on June 3, 2013, to throw full support behind Glennese Smith Scott, 33, a social worker and author of the book, “Surviving A Thousand Deaths,” who is in the midst of an uphill court battle against the Sheriff’s Department for abuse — and negligence — she allegedly suffered at their hands that caused her to miscarry twins.
Glennesse Smith Scott
“While protesting on the sidewalk in front of the Adams County Courthouse, in compliance with a city permit, Pernell-Simmons was told to move. When she refused, she was violently pushed to the ground and held down by two Black deputies, Charles Sims and Walter Mackel, while being Tasered by White deputy, Danny Barber.’
“Don’t forget that some Africans sold us into slavery,” said Williams. “They use our own against us.”
The last reference was to Charles Williams, President of the Michigan chapter of NAN, who had traveled to Mississippi to take part in the protest.
Simmons said that while sheriffs were tasing her, a white Natchez resident ran up with a sawed-off shotgun asking if they needed any help. She said NAN is planning an April 24 protest in Mississippi against the lynching of Otis Byrd of Port Gibson March 2 this year.
Police dog mauls Phillip White, Black N.J. man, to death after cops beat him March 31
“Anonymous” forces Vineland police to release names
April 11, 2015
Police in Vineland, New Jersey confirmed the identities of two officers involved in the March 31 death of 32-year-old Phillip White. They also confirmed a third policeman who was involved after they were outed by the hacker collective Anonymous.
Phillip White, 43, of Vineland, N.J. beaten and mauled to death March 31, 2015 by police and dog.
White died after being punched and kicked by the officers, and bitten multiple times by a police dog, during his arrest on March 31.
Calling the actions of the officers “absolutely grotesque,” Anonymous threatened to release the names and personal information of the officers, as well as other local officials, unless the Vineland Police Department suspended the officers involved and released their names and the dash-cam footage to the public.
By Tuesday afternoon, the hacker group posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of two officers, Louis Platania and Jeffrey Travaline. Later in the day, the Vineland PD Chief Timothy Codispoti confirmed the names and added that of a third officer, Rich Janasiak.
Chief Codispoti denied the threats by Anonymous prompted the disclosure, however, he did say the names were initially withheld following a request by the prosecutor’s office. He added that the Vineland Police Department was planning to release the names at the same time as the recording of the 911 call and police dispatches of the incident that resulted in White’s death, which they did Tuesday afternoon.
“What we’re interested in is the truth,” Codispoti said. “That’s what we want, it’s what the family wants. We want the truth of what occurred here. That includes the actions of everyone involved.”
Protest in NYC after grand jury exonerated police killers of Eric Garner.
Stuart Alterman, the attorney hired by the police union to represent the officers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed the toxicology report would show that White had been on PCP and other drugs. He said the drugs, rather than police violence, were to blame for White’s death.
Witnesses have claimed that the cops were punching White and that a K-9 dog was biting him in the face while he was laying on the ground. White’s family is demanding an independent investigation, and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is looking into White’s death.
White was the 290th person to be killed by police in America in the first 90 days of 2015, according to the website, www.killedbypolice.net.
“FUCK YOUR BREATH”
Eric Harris, Black, of Tulsa OK killed on ground by white wannabe cop, 73
Robert Bates charged only with 2nd degree manslaughter
“Oh, I shot him, I’m sorry”–Bates; “Fuck your breath”–other cop as Harris says he cannot breathe, takes dying breath
Bates claims he accidentally used gun instead of taser
Unpaid Oklahoma deputy who killed suspect is big donor to police
Brothers Andre and Eric Harris
The family of an unarmed Oklahoma man fatally shot by an elderly reserve deputy claims officials tried to conceal the circumstances surrounding the death.
Andre Harris, brother of 44-year-old Eric Harris, claimed in an [April 13] Monday press conference that a deputy from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office told him to not get a lawyer and also lied about his brother being under the influence of drugs when Robert Bates, 73, fired the fatal gunshot.
Flanked by lawyers, Andre Harris told reporters gathered in Tulsa that a sheriff’s office representative, identified by attorney Dan Smollen as Officer Bill McKelby, admitted to him that a mistake was made.
“We know what happened to your brother, we apologize,” Andre Harris recalled the officer saying. “You don’t have a lawyer, do you?”
Killer wannabe cop Robert Bates turns himself in on charge of 2nd degree manslaughter
When the grief-stricken man replied no, he was advised against finding representation.
“Doesn’t everybody get a lawyer when they’re in this situation?” Andre Harris recalled asking.
“We want to make this right because when we make mistakes, we man up, we do the right thing,” the officer told Andre Harris. “You sit by the phone and wait for that call, we’re gonna make it right.”
The cop further warned Andre Harris: “If you hire a lawyer, it will gum things up. It will slow things down. We want to make this right.”
Smollen then explained that Bates, who was charged Monday with second-degree manslaughter, did not give a statement about the incident until at least four days later and while in the presence of an attorney who is also a former cop.
The lawyer also held up both a .357 magnum – the handgun from which the fatal shot was discharged – and a yellow stun gun.
Atty. Andre Smollen shows handgun (l) and taser (r).
“There is absolutely no way, if Mr. Bates had been trained at all … that an officer who is trained would never get these two weapons confused,” Smollen insisted.
Video made public over the weekend does not show the lethal shot, but the sound of a gun firing can be heard shortly before Eric Harris repeatedly screams about being shot.
Officers later claimed that Eric Harris was high on the drug PCP when apprehended shortly after he fled on foot during a gun-buying sting.
Both Smollen and Andre Harris claim the assertion of drug use was a lie and that medical records will prove them right.
Multiple phone messages left by Business Insider seeking comment from the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office have yet to be returned.
In this Thursday, April 9, 2015 photo, front row, from left, Don Smolen, Andre Harris, Aidan Fraley and Dan Smolen, and back row, from left, Fred Moon, Rakim Dean, Sheila Dak-Harris, Elijah Dean and pastor Bill Davis, appear during a news conference at the attorneys’ office of Smolen, Smolen and Roytman about their family member and friend, Eric Harris, who was killed April 2 by a reserve Tulsa County deputy in Tulsa, Okla. (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)
(Excerpt) In a written statement, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen A. Kunzweiler said Bates, is charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence. It’s a felony charge that could land the volunteer deputy in prison for up to four years if he’s found guilty.
Eric Harris with son Aidan Finley
Scott Wood, an attorney who represents Bates, said the shooting [of Eric Harris] was an “excusable homicide.”
“We believe the video itself proves that it was an accident of misfortune that occurred while Deputy Bates was fulfilling his duties as a reserve deputy,” Wood said. “He is not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.”
They’re also questioning why the 73-year-old Bates — the CEO of an insurance company who volunteers as a certified reserve deputy — was on the scene in such a sensitive and high-risk sting operation.
Attorney: Deputy was donor who ‘paid big money to play a cop’
Killer cop Robert Bates
Daniel Smolen, an attorney representing the Harris family, said Bates paid big money to play a cop in his spare time.
“It’s absolutely mind boggling that you have a wealthy businessman who’s been essentially deputized to go play like he’s some outlaw, like he’s just cleaning up the streets,” he said.
Tulsa County Sheriff cars
Wood said his client — who had donated cars and video equipment to the Sheriff’s Office — had undergone all the required training and had participated in more than 100 operations with the task force he was working with the day he shot Harris. But he’d never been the main deputy in charge of arresting a suspect, Wood said, but was thrust into the situation because Harris ran from officers during the arrest. . . .He was also a frequent contributor to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, including $2,500 to the reelection of Sheriff Stanley Glanz. . . .
Brother of deceased: ‘He was nonviolent’
Andre Harris told reporters Monday that claims his brother was violent and on PCP are false.
New York City protest for Eric Garner
“He was nonviolent, he was peaceful, he was loving, he was caring, and he was my brother that I’ll never see again ’til I see him in heaven,” Harris told reporters, accusing the sheriff’s office of trying to persuade him not to hire an attorney and quickly make the case “go away.”
He added that the shooting of his brother, who was African-American, wasn’t a racial matter.
“I don’t think this is a racial thing. I don’t think this has anything to do with race. It might have a hint there somewhere. … This is simply evil,” Andre Harris told reporters Monday.
“This is a group of people that’s spent a lot of time together, spent money together. … They’ve gotten real comfortable with how they do things, which when you’re the law, I guess you feel like you can do things and get away with it and not get exposed.
“Well, we’ve come to expose it. We’ve come to pull a mask off the evil. We’ve come to shine a light on the darkness.”
CNN’s Ed Lavandera and Jason Morris reported from Tulsa. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Atika Shubert, Chandler Friedman and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.
APRIL 5, 2007: DPS 4th grader cries after cops attack protest over school closings at the former Northern High School on Woodward, May 5, 2007. Students were maced, dragged across Woodward by their hair, and arrested. Hundreds of DPS schools have been closed or replaced by charters. Photo: Diane Bukowski
(Photos, except for that of Elena Herrada, added by VOD.)
Detroit School Board member in exile Elena Herrada
I am a member of the Detroit School Board in Exile. We call ourselves “exiles” because we do not accept emergency management. I was elected and have been on the Board since 2010. During this time, we have been stripped of power and authority. We have seen the State destroy public education and hand off real estate to cronies of the governor and the mayor.
Although the emergency manager law (Public Act 4) was repealed, we were saddled with another emergency manager law — PA 436, which cannot be repealed. All Black cities in Michigan are under “emergency management,” which strips locally elected officials of authority. The State privatizes many of the services and contractors pocket the profits.
Detroit, once a strong union city, is now under a “write in” white mayor who did not even live here long enough to be on the ballot. He was given millions for his campaign by Dan Gilbert, of Quicken Loans, and millions from corporations.
Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan (l) with one of his corporate patrons, billionaire Dan Gilbert (r).
Detroit is among the poorest cities in the country. The City Council has been complicit in the giveaways and has received three pay increases in two years, despite the fact that the city was put into federal bankruptcy by Jones Day, the bankruptcy law firm that took us over.
Here is a chronology of what happened to Detroit Public Schools under State takeover:
Abolishing the elected school board
In 1999, Republican Gov. John Engler signed PA 10 into law, abolishing Detroit’s elected school board and replacing it with a board appointed by Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and the governor, which had no operational power but to hire a CEO.
At this time, DPS had a $93-million surplus, rising enrollment and improving test scores. Observers believe that the purpose of the takeover was to control the bond program, which still had $1.2 billion in 1999. A lawsuit and protests followed.
DPS student Sasha Alford protests against Kenneth Burnley, schools privatization and layoffs at Coleman A. Young Center June 16, 2005. Photo: Diane Bukowski
In 2000, Kenneth Burnley was hired as CEO. He began predicting the decline of DPS, eventually stating that DPS would shrink to 65,000 students. When Burnley began, DPS enrollment was 162,692 students.
Democrat Jennifer Granholm became governor in January 2003. In April 2004, Burnley announced a projected deficit of $200 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. This was used as a basis for closing a large number of schools and firing several thousand staff members. Burney had kept the fiscal crisis secret until more moderate measures could not be employed. Burnley and Granholm arranged a $210 million, 15-year loan with a 50 percent finance charge as part of the repayment schedule [with DPS state per-pupil funds backing the loan.]
Former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).
Former Mich. Gov. John Engler (R)
In November 2004, a mandated referendum asked whether Detroit voters wanted mayoral control of the schools or a directly elected school board. By a 2-1 margin, voters chose an elected board, despite being outspent 20-1 in the campaign by pro-mayor forces, whose fundraising effort was led by the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce and supported by Gov. Granholm.
By 2006, enrollment dropped to 118,394, a loss of 44,299, or over a quarter of the enrollment from the beginning of the Burnley regime.
‘Financial emergency’ declared at DPS
From 2000 through 2005, Burnley and Govs. Engler and Granholm planned and spent over $1 billion in bond construction funds at highly inflated prices for new buildings. In 2006, the elected school board was sworn in.
Student and parents protest proposed closing of one of the city’s top high schools, Chadsey, on the near west side, during a school board meeting. Chadsey students walked out several times to try to save their school, but it was eventually torn down and replaced with “Munger Middle School.” Photo: Diane Bukowski
In December 2008, Granholm invoked PA 72 of 1990 to declare a financial emergency at DPS because the elected board had not erased the deficit created by Burnley and Granholm when the district was under their control.
In January 2009, Granholm announced the appointment of Robert Bobb as the emergency financial manager of DPS, after meeting with billionaire Eli Broad, a Bobb supporter, at the presidential inauguration.
As Bobb readied for the position, he and Granholm promised the elected school board that they would abide by the shared power arrangement called for in PA 72.
In March 2009, Bobb assumed the EFM position and told the Board that he controlled “everything that a penny touches,” which meant everything at DPS. The Board president stated publicly that Granholm had lied to them about the shared power arrangement and began to plan a legal challenge.
Two months after his arrival, Bobb announced a plan, with Granholm’s sanction, to seek approval from voters for a $500 million bond program to build new schools, even as he planned for large-scale school closings. It was adopted in November balloting.
Privatization begins in earnest
Charter schools advocate Doug Ross, Skillman CEO Carol Goss, and DPS EFM Robert Bobb at conference on “Excellent Schools.” Photo: Diane Bukowski
Bobb and Granholm partnered with the Skillman Foundation and other groups to promote “Excellent Schools Detroit,” a plan to create a private school network to replace the DPS system, especially at the high school level. The ESD stated in its plan its intention to acquire buildings being built with the 2009 bond money financed by Detroit taxpayers.
In December 2009, Granholm signed legislation as part of a grant application for “Race to the Top” federal funding that would consolidate Michigan schools with the lowest 5 percent of MEAP [Michigan Educational Assessment Program] scores into one statewide district. State Superintendent Michael Flanagan said then that schools from northern and mid-Michigan would be in the district. He received funding to begin to staff the department shortly thereafter.
In 2010, Bobb was given a second year contract by Granholm with $505,000 in total compensation, including from private money sources that were also financing the Excellent Schools Detroit. Most private funding sources for Bobb’s pay were kept secret through most of 2010.
Parents and students rally to save Oakman Orthopedic School, on May 15, 2013. It was the only DPS school built specifically for special needs children. It was later torn down.
In 2009 and 2010, Bobb continued the large-scale school closings while building new school buildings.
In January 2011, Republican businessman Rick Snyder was sworn in as the new governor. PA 4 was signed into law on March 16, superseding PA 72.
In May 2011, Snyder replaced Robert Bobb with Roy Roberts.
Created by Rick Snyder
In June, Snyder announced his plan to create the Educational Achievement Authority, which included the involvement of Eastern Michigan University. While the original 2009 plan was to include other school districts, the EAA only put DPS into this “statewide” district.
In 2012, Roberts announced the creation of eight “self governing schools” under the supervision of charter operator Doug Ross, who was placed on the DPS payroll to perform this function. Ross is also a partner with Excellent Schools Detroit.
Mumford student is interviewed during rally vs. EAA takeover. Teachers are not certified, school was in chaos. Also shown: school board members in exile Pres. Herman Davis and Elena Herrada. Photo: Diane Bukowski
Roberts transferred 15 DPS schools into the EAA — including the newly built Mumford High School, which was not among the lowest performing schools — and closed another 14 schools, bringing the DPS well under 100 schools and a projected enrollment of only 50,000 students.
In July 2012, Roberts announced terms of employment that overrode the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ contract, negating the power of the teachers’ voice and their influence in DPS. The power shift enhanced the central administration’s ability to dispose of teachers and programs unilaterally, including support for special needs students, as well as music and arts education.
The Detroit School Board in Exile continues to oppose the EAA, emergency management, charter schools, privatization of services, school closures, and attacks on the students and teachers of Detroit Public Schools.
VOD: Detroit school closings began in 2004. They were the harbinger for current closings in Philadelphia, Chicago and across the nation. New Orleans no longer has any public schools, using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to tear them down and create charter schools.
Floyd Dent (r) helps lead April 3 march on Inkster police station. He demanded that “Robocop” William Melendez be jailed for nearly fatal assault on him.
“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up”–Dent
Inkster city manager orders Melendez’ suspension pending termination after multiple protests
Dent due in court Wed. April 15, 9 am, before Judge David Groner in the Frank Murphy Hall, on charge of drug possession
Video shows Melendez planting drugs in Dent’s car; Dent passed lie detector tests
Previous victims of Melendez and Detroit killer cop Eugene Brown say Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy must undo previous bias toward cops
By Diane Bukowski
April 11, 2015
William Melendez in SWAT style armor.
William Melendez in 2004. Photo by Diane Bukowski.
DETROIT/INKSTER, MI – Local news sources including WDIV Channel 4 are reporting that William “Robocop” Melendez, seen in a dashcam video beating Black motorist Floyd Dent nearly to death in the Detroit suburb of Inkster Jan. 28, has been suspended with pay for five days pending possible termination from the Inkster police force.
In the wake of murder charges brought against North Charleston, S.C. cop Michael Slager for killing U.S. Coast Guard retiree Walter Scott on April 4, however, many are also demanding that Melendez and the other cops who beat Dent be criminally charged. Dent said he felt he was “taking his last breath” as Melendez grabbed him in a chokehold and punched him in the head 16 times with a fist wrapped in a loaded glove.
Floyd Dent and grandchildren on stage at rally April 3.
“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up,” Dent said. He is continuing to see a neurologist and psychiatrist since the beating, which left him with major injuries including a fracture of his left orbit (around his eye), subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain), and four broken ribs.
“There is word on the street that Officer Melendez is about to be suspended pending termination,” Attorney Nicholas Bennett, of the law office of Gregory Rohl, which represents Dent, told VOD just before the news broke.
“The Wayne County Prosecutor asked for two weeks to review the [dashcam] videotapes, statements, and the results of Mr. Dent’s polygraph exam before his court hearing April 15. Obviously we want the [remaining] charge against Mr. Dent to be dropped as quickly as possible, but if not, we look forward to proving his innocence at trial.”
Ironically, it is Dent, not Melendez, who has so far faced the only charges in the case. Original charges of assaulting and resisting the crew of Inkster cops were dropped by an Inkster judge earlier, leaving a charge of possession of crack cocaine. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner is to hear arguments on whether that charge should also be dropped Wed. April 15, at 9 a.m. at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit.
William Melendez (r) is shown on police dashcam video after he pulled a baggie from his pocket to plant in Dent’s car.
Another video released to the media including VOD shows Melendez pulling a plastic baggie out of his pocket before planting it in the car after Dent was taken away. Prior to that, the video shows police and a drug-detection dog crawling all over Dent’s car and coming up empty-handed.
Dent also passed lie detector tests in which he denied possessing drugs or threatening the officers in any way.
WXYZ Channel 7 said Inkster police chief Vicki Yost, who previously served on the Detroit police force with Melendez, wanted to keep him on desk duty pending the results of an ongoing Michigan State Trooper investigation, but was overruled by Inkster City Manager Richard Marsh, Jr. Yost is white, Marsh is Black.
Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost.
Inkster City Mgr. Richard Marsh
Yost was the first DPD liaison to the U.S. Justice Department after federal oversight of the DPD was declared in 2003, so she must be aware of Melendez’s record as a ringleader of a “Ramparts” style cop gang in Detroit.
Melendez and 17 other cops were indicted by the U.S. Justice Department in 2003 on charges that they planted guns and drugs on southwest Detroit residents, beat them, sexually abused and strip searched them, threatened to kill them, and then falsified reports and lied in court.
Melendez has been sued over a dozen times, for killing a man by shooting him 11 times on the ground, and for the incidents involved in the federal prosecution, which ended with a not guilty verdict termed “jury nullification” by U.S. attorneys.
April 2 march takes Michigan Avenue on the way to Inkster police station. Cornell Squires, whose son was framed by Melendez, marches at right.
Many local judges, however, dismissed charges against the witnesses who testified at the federal trial that they were victimized by Melendez and others.
It is not clear when Melendez left the Detroit force. Conflicting reports say he “retired” in 2004, according to DPOA President Mark Diaz, but also that he “resigned” in 2009 before his hire in Inkster a year later.
Bill Davis (l) Pres. of Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, joined hundreds in march.
Hundreds took over Michigan Avenue April 2, to march on the Inkster police station and chant, “I don’t know what you’ve been told, but Robocop has got to go,” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police. The action was called by the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network (NAN) and MI-CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). Two previous protests occurred immediately after the dashcam video was aired by Channel 4.
Dent himself walked in the march, accompanied by his grandchildren and his fiancé, and took the stage in the parking lot of the Inkster police department for the rally. He said he was very encouraged by the support shown during the march.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, head of the Michigan Chapter of NAN, said, “We know that it’s not just Mr. Dent, but that there are others in the community who have been brutalized by police,” while Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of MI-CAIR, called for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene.
April 3 march for Floyd Dent passes Inkster police station.
“This is not a Black problem, it is a white racist problem that will eat up all our souls if people of color are victimized,” Pastor Ed Rowe of Central United Methodist Church said. “If there are so many good cops on the force, where are they? Their silence will not protect them, it will make them Robocop.”
Detroiter Cornell Squires took part in the march as well, to support Dent as well as his son, who was framed by Melendez in 2000.
Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy (r) announces 2nd degree murder charges against Theodore Wafer in death of Renisha McBride, in Dearborn Heights.
“Melendez should be charged with attempted murder, perjury, and making false police reports—AGAIN.” Squires said. “The other cops involved also should be charged.”
But he called on Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to first resolve a conflict involving her handling of his son’s trial in 2000, after Melendez and his partner David LeValley claimed the younger Squires had attempted to carjack them. Worthy was then a Wayne County Circuit Court Judge.
Squires said Worthy appeared to be biased in favor of Melendez and LeValley.
“Judge Worthy refused to let the jury hear the sound of a video, where the commanding officer said they were charging Emmanuel with disorderly conduct, for buying beer underage. The video shows cops looking for the gun Melendez claimed Emmanuel had, and not finding it. It also shows the can of beer.”
Front page of letter sent to Judge Kym Worthy in 2000; to read entire document and flier, click on link at right.
After the younger Squires, who was 19 at the time, was convicted of assault with intent to r0b-armed, his father discovered that Melendez had previously been convicted for filing a false police report, affecting his credibility. Their attorney filed a motion to overturn the verdict due to the new evidence, but Worthy refused to do so.
“The community also sent Worthy a letter supporting Emmanuel and asking for the charges to be dropped,” Squires said. His son’s full name is Cornell Emmanuel Squires. (Click on Squires letter to Worthy to read letter linking the charges with earlier police brutality case involving the senior Squires and other family members.
During the trial, Worthy additionally admitted that she was ‘friends’ with Detroit police officer Reggie Crawford, who wrote on-line forum reports vilifying the younger Squires.
Crawford earlier published reports vilifying Lamar Grable, a victim of three-time killer cop Eugene Brown. Yost was Brown’s partner during the killing. She admitted taking home the gun they claimed Grable had overnight, before turning it into the police evidence lab, and backed Brown at his civil trial.
Lamar Grable’s father Herman Vallery (l), sister Arnetta Jr. and mother Arnetta Grable Sr (center) and Cornell Squires after meeting with Prosecutor Worthy’s office to demand charges against his killer, cop Eugene Brown.
Grable’s family won a $4 million jury verdict against Brown in 2003 that was upheld by both the Michigan Appeals and Supreme Courts, based on Brown’s statement during the trial that he “might have” shot Grable three times in the chest as he lay on the ground.
“After years of demanding a thorough investigation of my son Lamar Grable’s shooting death by Eugene Brown and Vicki Yost, an investigative team headed by .Deputy Chief Walter Shoulders was finally commissioned in 2000,” Grable’s mother Arnetta Grable told VOD.
“The investigative team was to reinvestigate all shootings and deaths involving Eugene Brown. When the investigation was completed, the Detroit Police Department refused to allow the Shoulders Report to be made public, and took no action on it.”
Arnetta Grable is at right in this photo of recent national meeting of Coalition Against Police Brutality, also attended by members of the Aiyana Jones Family (second from l, Mertilla Jones, Krystal Jones, and seated, Aiyana’s mother Dominika Jones. Worthy also dismissed the last charge against Aiyana’s killer, Detroit cop Joseph Weekley.
The city was finally forced to release the report after reporter Diane Bukowski and The Michigan Citizen won a lawsuit granting their Freedom of Information Act request in part.
“The report recommended that Eugene Brown should be criminally charged in the deaths of Lamar Grable and others,” Grable continued. “Victims and families of victims of Brown requested a meeting with Prosector Kym Worthy to demand charges be brought against him. But Worthy refused to meet, and sent a representative instead to relay our demands. Kym Worthy’s response was that no charges would be brought against Brown.”
“I have absolutely no confidence in Kym Worthy’s willingness to prosecute criminal cops the same way she would prosecute any other criminal. From what I have seen she participates in the same Blue Wall of Silence that allowed Eugene Brown and Vicki Yost to get away with murdering my son,” Grable concluded.
In a New York Times editorial on the Dent case, Walter Blow quoted Isabel Wilkerson, author of ‘The Warmth of Other Suns.”
“High-profile cases of police brutality have recently come to be associated with the North rather than the South,” Wilkerson said. “And it is in the South that two recent cases of police shootings of unarmed black people resulted in more vigorous prosecution.”
Stand up for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s life with us for an informational demonstration on Friday at the Spirit of Detroit statue downtown in solidarity with worldwide actions in support of Mumia.
Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, former Black Panther and outspoken opponent against police brutality, is being tortured with medical neglect by the PA Department of Corrections and Fraternal Order of Police. The mass movement has saved his life before when he faced execution by the state – and we will do it again!
This ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ has been a long time inspiration for our movement against racist oppression. This is why the forces of reaction want to kill him behind the prison walls. Let’s do everything that we can to save our brother Mumia’s life.
Video above contributed by the Detroit People’s Platform
Groups demand moratorium on foreclosures
Treasurer extends payment deadline to May 1
But should people pay inflated, illegal bills to profit the banks?
Some say NO, demand a current assessment of home value, cancel county debt to banks
Protesters swamp sidewalks outside Treasurer’s office March 31.
By Diane Bukowski
April 8, 2015
DETROIT – Hundreds of Wayne County residents from numerous groups protested the pending property tax foreclosures of 37,000 homes, with an estimated 100,000 residents, during the tax payment deadline last month.
They confronted Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz at his home March 30, trying to deliver hundreds of petitions, and at his offices March 31.
“Detroit, the largest majority African-American major city in the country, now faces the largest forced housing evictions possibly in the history of the United States,” Linda Campbell of the Detroit People’s Platform told a crowd of 50 people before they got on a bus to travel to Wojtowicz’s home at 15310 Carlisle in Detroit.
Detroit People’s Platform holds candlelight vigil at Treasurer Wojtowicz’ home March 30.
She said the announced foreclosures affect nearly one-sixth of Detroit’s population. The People’s Platform is demanding at least a one-year moratorium on all foreclosures of occupied homes.
“Many Detroiters and Wayne County Residents are being foreclosed upon due to incorrect tax bills with exaggerated property assessments and disputed water bill liens,” Campbell continued. “Persistent and high rates of unemployment, government cuts to services Detroiters rely on and increased displacement and forced relocation will result in enormous physical and mental stress and trauma on children and families.”
Outside the Treasurer’s offices in downtown Detroit, at 400 Monroe, dozens more marched on March 31, while others poured into the building to try to negotiate deals with Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski, and pay their tax bills.
Cornell Squires tells protesters tax bills are illegal, demands no foreclosures, escrow payments until reassessment.
Protesters outside chanted, “Housing is a human right, fight, fight, fight,” and carried signs with slogans like “Tax Foreclosure is a Crime.” They included members of Moratorium NOW, Detroit Eviction Defense, the Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association, and the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, among others.
They also called for a moratorium. They said delinquent taxes can be paid using $251 million of unspent federal Helping Hardest Hit Homeowner Funds. Those funds have largely been diverted to billionaire Dan Gilbert, head of Detroit’s “Blight Removal Task Force,” to demolish acres of properties across Detroit, creating in reality a virtual “Black Removal.”
Krystal Price of RICO Busters shows sign depicting foreclosure fraud in Wayne County.
“These funds could be used to prevent the thousands of foreclosures which will further destroy our neighborhoods. . . .[and help in] resolving the financial crises in Wayne County and Detroit, which in large part are a result of declining revenues as a result of tax foreclosures,” a representative of Moratorium NOW! said.
Shortly afterwards, to the uncritical acclaim of the mainstream media, Wojtowicz announced the deadline for payment would be extended six weeks. The date is not listed on the Treasurer’s website, but that should make it Tues. May 1. Wojtowicz has actually extended these deadlines for years, but he appears especially intent on getting his payments now. The County has been facing a possible state takeover due to its ballooning budget deficit.
Cornell Squires of We the People and RICO Busters said he was not impressed with Wojtowicz’s extension and called on people NOT to pay their taxes during the six weeks, until they get accurate assessments of their homes’ value.
Taxpayers line up to pay and make arrangements to prevent foreclosure inside 400 Monroe March 31, 2015.
“They’re just trying to put fear in the people so they will run out, borrow money and get into more debt, so they don’t lose their homes,” Squires said. “Those tax bills are illegal, essentially criminal false statements, because they are not based on annual reassessments of property value, required by state law. The Treasurer is just extending the time so he can rake in more money.”
Squires, who has helped hundreds of people with foreclosure issues, suggested that instead of paying their taxes, people should put the money into personal escrow accounts, pending a current assessment, and so notify the Treasurer.
Dr. Sandra Simmons (r) and Prof. Charles Simmons (in cap) of HUSH House join protest: HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
“Taxpayers can request that a city assessor come out to their house, like I did in 2012, and do a proper appraisal, inside and out, not just taking pictures,” Squires said. He said the assessor found a crack in his home’s foundation when he came out and eventually lowered his assessment. The Detroit Assessor’s office is located in Rm. 804 of the Coleman A. Young Center. Click on http://www.propertytax101.org/michigan/city-of-detroit/taxassessor for further information including phone numbers.
“The government charged Kwame Kilpatrick with perjury for making a false statement denying his affair with Christine Beatty,” Squires said. “Along with other charges, he ended up with 28 years in prison. How many years should Wojtowicz and his cronies get for making false tax reports and throwing 100,000 people in the street?”
Wayne County Treasurer (forever) Raymond Wojtowicz cooked Delinquent Tax Fund books, Wayne Co. Auditor General Willie Mayo reported last year; why wasn’t he charged?
Last year, Wayne County Auditor General Willie Mayo reported that Wojtowicz WAS committing fraud by cooking the books on the county’s Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund. He said Wojtowicz had concealed up to $127 million by placing it in “restricted” accounts.
After the exposure, Wojtowicz agreed to give up $150 million to the county’s general fund from the restricted accounts to decrease its deficit. The delinquent tax fund is comprised of taxes, penalties and fees charged on top of delinquent property taxes, then used as collateral to obtain loans from the banks to make more money and more debt. (Click on Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund to read document establishing fund.)
BELOW IS INTERVIEW OF DETROIT HOMEOWNER DESCRIBING WHAT SHE WENT THROUGH TRYING TO PAY HER TAXES MARCH 31./Courtesy Detroit People’s Platform.
That fund is another source that could be used to pay off delinquent taxes, in addition to the Hardest Hit Funds.
In February, newly-elected Wayne County Executive Warren Evans announced that he expects a much larger deficit this year than that former Executive Robert Ficano had predicted. So the money Wojtowicz is trying to rake in from property taxes will go first to pay off the banks to forestall another budget deficit and possible state takeover and/or bankruptcy.
Activist pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman (left) takes part in March 31 protest.
On Feb. 6, Moody’s downgraded its rating of Wayne County’s General Obligation Limited Tax debt by three notches to a junk level of BA3, with a negative outlook, meaning interest on county debt will increase dramatically.
“The negative outlook reflects our expectation that the county faces hurdles in implementing significant cost reductions,” Moody’s said in its report. “Failure to reach structural balance in the near term will further degrade available liquidity and could raise the probability of state intervention and increase the risk of the county seeking to restructure its debt and other obligations.”
“We’re on the verge of another riot,” Cheryl West told Fox 2 News. She lost her family’s home of 60 years in 2014 auction.
It said the County’s rating could plummet further under various conditions, including “Lack of improvement in regional economic conditions that limits the stabilization of funding or exerts further downward stress on property tax revenues,” and “Initiation by [the] county of efforts to restructure debt obligations through consent agreement or seeking Chapter 9 protection.”
So will Wayne County become the next Detroit? If so, why should people throw their hard-earned money into the county coffers just to see it sucked up by greedy Wall Street banksters? Emergency management in Detroit and a subsequent declaration of Chapter 9 bankruptcy have left city retirees, workers, and other residents, particularly unemployed youth in much more dire circumstances, as the city’s assets including its $6 billion Water and Sewerage Department are sold off.
Protesters call for cancellation of Detroit’s debt to banks May 9, 2012; Wayne County’s debt should also be cancelled.
IT’S NEVER-ENDING WAR ON PEOPLE OF COLOR AND POOR IN THE U.S.!
Another white cop kills a Black man, shooting him in back, is charged
N. Charleston police are 80 % white in 47% Black city
By Bruce Smith and Jeffrey Collins
April 8, 2015
Walter Scott, now 50, killed by white cop Michael Slager. He was honorably discharged from Coast Guard, had no violent record.
North Charleston, S.C. — A white South Carolina police officer who claimed he killed a Black man in self-defense was quickly charged with murder after a bystander’s video recorded him firing eight shots at the man’s back as he ran away. Government authorities sought Wednesday to contain the outrage as protests began.
About 40 to 50 people gathered Wednesday outside City Hall in North Charleston, led by a group formed after the fatal shooting of another black man in Ferguson, Missouri.
The video, provided to the dead man’s family and lawyer by an unidentified person who shot the footage, shows North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager dropping his stun gun, pulling out his handgun and firing at Walter Lamer Scott from a distance as he runs away. The 50-year-old man falls after the eighth shot, fired after a brief pause.
Protesters condemn white cop’s murder of Walter Scott outside N. Charleston city hall. AP
Scott’s parents appeared separately on TV shows Wednesday morning, a day after the officer was charged.
Walter Scott Sr. said that in the video, the officer “looked like he was trying to kill a deer running through the woods” as he shoots his son. He told NBC’s “Today Show” that his son may have run because he owed child support and didn’t want to go back to jail.
Judy Scott, the slain man’s mother, called the video “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”
Walter Scott’s parents and brother on the “Today” show.
“I almost couldn’t look at it to see my son running defenselessly, being shot. It just tore my heart to pieces,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The bystander who recorded the scene provided the video to Scott’s family and lawyers, who made it available to the media on Tuesday. The man remains unidentified, but is assisting investigators.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the murder charge at a news conference Tuesday, saying Slager had made “a bad decision.”
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Summey said. “When you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision.”
Killer cop Slager checks for pulse in Walter Scott’s neck after he killed him. Video goes on to show him dropping an object next to Scott.
Police initially released a statement that promised a full investigation but relied largely on the officer’s description of the confrontation, which began with a traffic stop Saturday as Slager pulled Scott over for a faulty brake light.
On Monday, Slager’s then-attorney David Aylor released another statement saying the officer felt threatened and fired because Scott was trying to grab Slager’s stun gun.
Aylor dropped Slager as a client after the video surfaced, and the officer, a five-year veteran with the North Charleston police, appeared without a lawyer at his first appearance Tuesday. He was denied bond and could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.
N. Charleston killer cop Michael Slager
The shooting comes amid a plunge in trust between law enforcement and minority communities after the officer-involved killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York. Nationwide protests intensified after grand juries declined to indict the officers in both cases.
“We have to take a stand on stuff like this,” said Lance Braye, 23, who helped organize Wednesday’s demonstration in North Charleson, led by a local “Black Lives Matter” group. “We can’t just shake our heads at our computer screens.”
Scott’s family and their attorney, L. Chris Stewart, appealed to keep the protests peaceful, saying the swift murder charge shows that the justice system is working so far in this case.
But Stewart said the video alone forced authorities to act decisively.
“What if there was no video? What if there was no witness, or hero as I call him, to come forward?” asked Stewart, adding that the family plans to sue the police.
The video shows an interaction between Scott and the officer, with the officer reaching at the man and the two seeming to touch near the hands before Scott tried to flee.
Walter Scott with one of his four children and mother.
The video shows Scott falling face-down from about 30 feet away after being shot in the back. The officer then slowly walks toward him and orders Scott to put his hands behind his back, but the man doesn’t move. Slager then pulls Scott’s arms back and cuffs his hands. Then he walks briskly back to where he fired the shots, picks up an object, and returns to Scott’s prone body, dropping the object by Scott’s feet, the video shows.
Scott had four children, was engaged and had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard. There were no violent offenses on his record, Stewart said. He also speculated that Scott may have tried to run because he owed child support, which can lead to jail time in South Carolina until it is paid.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating as well. Proving that an officer willfully deprived an individual of his or her civil rights has historically been a tall burden for federal prosecutors, particularly when an officer uses force during a rapidly unfolding physical confrontation in which split-second decisions are made.
MICHAEL BROWN: NO JUSTICE FROM USDOJ!
The Justice Department spent months investigating the Ferguson shooting before declining to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson in that case. But it’s easier to make cases against officers who use force as an act of retribution or who can make no reasonable claim that their life was in jeopardy when they took action.
North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city. For years, it battled an economic slump caused by the mid-1990s closing of the Charleston Naval Base on the city’s waterfront. The city has bounced back since, largely because of a huge investment by Boeing, which has a 787 aircraft manufacturing plant in the city and employs about 7,500 people in South Carolina, most in North Charleston.
The city’s population was about 47 percent Black in 2010, according to census figures from 2010 — the most recent data that breaks out population by race. [The city’s police department is 80 percent white, according to the New York Times.]
UPDATES April 9-10, 2015:
The AP is now trying to ameliorate the effects of the video at the top of the story by publishing dashcam video that shows Scott running out of his car after Slager “politely” asks for his license and registration and returns to his police car. The AP story says there is a gap between that video and the one above and questions whether something happened in the meantime to cause Slager to shoot and kill Scott.
Below is complete version of video at top of story, showing event in gap between police dashcam video and shortened version of video above. Slager appears to have caught up with Scott, something transpires regarding what is likely Slager’s stun gun, then Scott runs again. The object that looks like a stun gun is left on the ground.
Slager had a previous excessive force complaint brought by Mario Givens, whose home he invaded without a warrant, forcing him outside, and then repeatedly tasing him despite the lack of any resistance on the man’s part. Did Slager also tase Walter Scott, causing him to run from the extremely painful action?
Women, carrying Yemen’s flag, were part of huge protest in Dearborn March 29 against U.S.-Saudi air strikes on Yemen. Houthi rebels there had finally overturned pro-U.S. regime, counter-revolution n progress. Photo: Jose Juarez
TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of Yemeni and Arab-American protesters took to the streets of the US city of Dearborn, Michigan state, and slammed the Saudi [and U.S.]-led air attacks on Yemeni people.
Waving flags, carrying signs bearing graphic photos of mutilated children and chanting in Arabic, the protesters gathered to protest the Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign of Yemen, Detroit News reported.
“What’s going on in Yemen is genocide,” Yemeni-American activist Wali Altahif said during the protest outside the Henry Ford Centennial Library on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn that included area religious leaders and activists. “They’re bombing schools, hospitals and killing innocent civilians.”
Altahif said most of the Dearborn protesters have family in Yemen. “They’re terrified,” he said. “They have no food, no electricity, and the bombing has been nonstop, day and night.”
Dearborn crowd protests U.S.-Saudi airstrikes on Yemen.
Adnan Alwazer, shouting to be heard above the chants of the protesters in Dearborn on Sunday, said his mother and sisters are still in Yemen. “There is no reason for the bombing,” he said. “What they’re doing is against humanity.”
Altahif added: “War does not solve anything. The Yemeni people have agreed to a negotiation that is, ironically, a Saudi initiative. Unfortunately, the Saudis started bombing Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for twelve days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The eleven days of the Saudi-led aggression has killed at least 887 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Houthi fighters in Yemen, after overthrow of former president Hadi.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued on March 26.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late on March 25.
US-backed airstrikes on Yemen kill civilians – and hopes for peace
Yemeni boy stands in front of a damaged house in the village of Bani Matar, a day after it was reportedly hit by an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition against Shiite Huthi rebel positions. Photograph: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images
The US has a central role in all of this. As US officials told the Wall Street Journal, “American military planners are using live intelligence feeds from surveillance flights over Yemen to help Saudi Arabia decide what and where to bomb”.
Investigating US drone strikes on my country, I have seen the aftermath of aerial bombardment time and time again. The weeping father; the young girl unable to walk from shrapnel wounds; the mother, mute from shock. I try to record what has taken place; most of them just ask in return what my questions will do to bring back their loved ones. The few that find words express powerlessness and confusion as to why the might of a distant US military has been visited on their simple lives.
Yemen’s 2011 uprising occurred after Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, but did not displace government.
I represented the youth in Yemen’s revolution in 2011. I had never been particularly politically interested before the revolution, but those remarkable days changed my life forever, and I was proud to take my place in the process that was set up by the international community to guide my country to democracy. Over months of hard negotiation, we created the framework for Yemen’s new constitution.
Meanwhile, inexplicably, US drones continued to drop bombs on communities across the country . The blanket claims by the American government that these attacks were clinically picking off terrorists were patently untrue: I went to the attack sites, and met the bereaved relatives of builders, children, hitchhikers.
I know my country, and my fellow countrymen; the people I was meeting were simple souls, scraping a living in Yemen’s tough agricultural hinterland. Large political questions were far from their minds. When asked, they would all condemn the terrorist groups who had provided the pretext for the attacks.
Yemen lies directly south of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.
We took reports of our investigations to President Hadi, and begged him to stop the attacks. They clearly destabilised all our genuine political efforts. Hadi would try and change the subject: he knew full well that the US economic support propping up our country was dependent on turning a blind eye to American counter-terrorism activities.
I understand that Yemen’s problems are complicated, and need time to resolve, but America’s desire to see my country primarily through a counterterrorism lens was a grave mistake. The National Dialogue was the forum for mending Yemen; US drone attacks consistently undermined our claim to be the sole, sovereign forum for Yemenis to resolve Yemeni disputes.
U.S. Pres. Barack Obama is Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military and could put a stop to dozens of U.S. wars overseas anytime.
The surest way to ensure America’s security isn’t bombing my countrymen and women; it’s to help countries build strong institutions, which doesn’t happen through the crosshairs of a drone feed. It’s been tried in Yemen. Please take our current pain as proof it won’t work anywhere else.