SOME OF THOSE KILLED BY POLICE IN METRO DETROIT, 1996 TO PRESENT; KILLER KOPS NOT CHARGED BY WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY
Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy virulently opposed state legislation introduced in the last decade to outlaw JLWOP. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed JLWOP she continues to put every stumbling block possible in the way of releasing Wayne County juvenile lifers. Wayne County has the highest number of children sent to die in the state.
Some of Michigan’s juvenile lifers: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis, Raymond Carp, Dakotah Eliason, Henry Hill (Worthy recommends JLWOP again), Keith Maxey (Worthy recommends JLWOP again), Dontez Tillman, Charles Lewis (Worthy recommends JLWOP again) Jemal Tipton, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley (JLWOP recommended again), Bosie Smith, Kevin Boyd, Damion Todd, Jennifer Pruitt, Edward Sanders, David Walton (photos show some lifers at current age, others at age they went to prison). Although some have been re-sentenced, none have been released to date after serving unconstitutional sentences for most of their lives in prison.
Protect Our Stolen Lives (P.O.S.T.) was founded in Detroit by Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller, killed just before her 21st birthday by a gun fired by a Detroit cop.
POST members and supporters block Woodward Avenue during protest Sept. 24, 2016, as dozens of cars honked their horns in support. They included Arnetta Grable, mother of Lamar Grable, Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, and Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller.
In conjunction with the national Stolen Lives Project and community groups around the country, they held a national conference and protest against police slaughter of their loved ones and Black, Latin and poor people across the United States.
Groups from metro Detroit as well as New York City, Kenosha, Illinois, and Dayton, Ohio were among those who attended the day-long conference, held at St. Matthews and St. Josephs Church on Woodward at Holbrook Avenue.
Kevin Kellom, Pastor Jerome McCorry of the Dayton, Ohio Faith and Justice Social Alliance, and Yolanda McNair during march.
Among police murder victims they spoke about were Adaisha Miller, Terrance Kellom, Aiyana Jones, Lamar Grable, and Kimoni “Kodak” Davis of Detroit, Justus Howell, from Kenosha Illinois, Malcolm Ferguson and John Collado from New York City, and Emmet Till.
At the close of the conference, Pastor McCorry was in tears.
“This is my family,” he said. “I love everyone sitting at this table. I refuse to ever sell you out.
“This is a fight we all better fight. It is as much about white folks as Black folks. A boat cannot rise from the flood waters until the people at the bottom are saved.”
Above: Agnes Hitchcock, steward of Call ’em Out, passes torch to New Era Detroit leaders including (l to r) Zeek, Scrill and Lyric Divine. Watermelons at base of podium represent ‘Sambo’ awards Call ’em Out has traditionally handed out to traitors in the community. Attendees at the packed dinner, held at the voted top ‘Sambo’ honors to:
City Clerk Janice Winfrey, for repeated election-rigging
Rev. Wayne T. Jackson, who hosted Donald Trump at his church during the presidential campaign (New Era Detroit later entered birthday celebration for Walker to register their disgust)
Rev. Wendell Anthony, who along with other Black officials, endorsed Mike Duggan for Mayor, calling him the “white mayor, the right mayor,” signed off on Detroit bankruptcy, recent abolition of Detroit Public Schools, and “Transition Team” sabotage of school board elected in 2004.
DETROIT — The International Institute in Detroit was packed to overflowing with members and supporters of the renowned activist group Call ’em Out, most of them veterans of this city’s struggle for decades, on Feb. 27. They came to welcome the youth of New Era Detroit into the battle, and to conduct their annual dinner and “Sambo” awards ceremony singling out members of the city’s “Black misleadership class,” as Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report calls them. The top awardees were Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, Rev. Wayne T. Jackson, and Rev. Wendell Anthony.
Video above:Lyric Divine, Zeek and Scrill of New Era Detroit thank Call ’em Out and supporters at Sambo Awards dinner, introducing their agenda for the youth and people of Detroit.
NED members cooked and provided the “beans and cornbread” dinner which has been a staple of Call ’em Out’s annual Sambo awards ceremonies since the first one in 2004. NED’s on-stage speeches showed that they are carrying out much of the militant program favoring Detroit’s Black-majority population, similar to that embodied in Call ’em Out’s work since 2002.
Photo of Agnes Hitchcock taunting Detroit’s illegally elected “mayor” Mike Duggan graced the front of the Sambo Awards program.
Agnes Hitchcock introduced the event. She became famous internationally for throwing “the grapes of wrath” at Detroit School Board members in 2005, after they reversed an earlier vote and supported the closing of 50 Detroit Public Schools. Those closures were the first mass shutdowns in any large majority-Black city in the U.S. They initiated a “Hurricane Katrina” here that has seen over 200 DPS institutions drowned in Wall Street greed.
She was arrested and hauled out of the meeting, as were many students, parents and even members of the media, from many board meetings during that time.
Additionally, Board of Education Member Marie Thornton was subjected to constant sanctions initiated by Board Chair Jimmy Womack, and verbal abuse from audience participant Loyce Lester, due to her votes against the school closings and many contracts she considered questionable.
Activist Sandra Hines hauled out of board meeting Oct. 20, 2008 after condemning school closings.
The DPS Katrina has left Detroit communities littered with the ghostly burnt-out and vandalized shells of historic venues like the Oakman Orthopedic School, the city’s only school designed specifically for the needs of special needs students.
Those schools once anchored strong Black-majority neighborhoods and produced many nationally-known leaders in all fields. Meanwhile, as in New Orleans, the majority of Detroit’s children now attend private for-profit charter schools run by corrupt politicians and “snakes in the pulpit,” as Call ’em Out termed many city pastors.
During her introduction, Hitchcock pointed out that there are no longer any Detroit Public Schools left, due to the passage of legislation last year, supported by Detroit “mayor” Mike Duggan, Rev. Wendell Anthony, and even the leadership of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, that created a state-run “Detroit Public Schools Community District.” It is paired with a state School Reform Office that has the authority to close even more schools.
Activists Eula Powell, Gwen Mingo and Marie Thornton, a former militant Detroit Board of Education member, at front of packed hall. Mingo is reading flier denouncing sell-out pastors including Rev. Charles Williams II of the National Action Network, passed out at the dinner.
State legislation is now pending that would eliminate the entire elected State Board of Education and its Superintendent, in favor of a board appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has already taken over many predominantly Black cities and school districts under the state’s second Emergency Manager Act.
Below, New Era Detroit leader Scrill speaks at Call ’em Out Dinner along with Detroit Public Schools students NED is politically educating and organizing to become the next generation of fighters for majority control of Detroit schools.
Public schools in the U.S. were largely initiated after the Civil War by kidnapped Africans who had been lynched and tortured for learning to read on the plantations of the South. The national attack on public schools, replacing them with private, religious and charter schools paid for by public taxes, is an attack on that heroic legacy.
Scrill was framed up by Detroit police on felony charges of “assaulting, resisting and obstructing” them during a peaceful NED outreach walk through a Detroit neighborhood in Aug. 2016. NED and Call ’em Out combined forces to pack the courtroom and win an acquittal for him in January, 2017. Scrill also said NED is educating the youth about the thousands of police murders across the U.S., largely of young people of color, including Detroit’s Aiyana Jones, and about the nature of the system in general.
Scrill announced during his talk that he will be running for Detroit City Council this year.
Scrill (center back) with supporters from NED and Call ‘Em Out at his trial Jan 25, 2017, outside Frank Murphy courtroom. Their combined forces won acquittal for him.
In addition to its activities in the Detroit Public Schools, New Era Detroit has been conducting marches against police murders like that of Kevin Matthews by a Dearborn cop, holding street rallies in the neighborhoods reminiscent of those organized by the Black Panthers, and taking bottled water to Flint residents.
Some NED members at dinner Feb. 27, 2017, including those who helped prepare the dinner and other activities at ‘Sambo’ Awards event.
They have protested at area stores that are selling alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products in the Black community, and taken area pastors like Rev. Wayne T. Walker, who hosted the sole Black church event featuring Donald Trump during his racist Presidential campaign..
Agnes Hitchcock holds up “Sambo” award given to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2005 for his role in city water shut-offs and privatization of city services.
Call ’em Out has led numerous campaigns since its founding in 2002. The organization held large rallies at venues like Bert’s place, where they condemned the city’s “Sambo’s” like former Mayors Kwame Kilpatrick and Dave Bing, and Council members Kay Everett (now deceased), Sheila Cockrel, and Kwame Kenyatta for handing over city assets, services, and workers’ jobs to the private sector for profit.
Call ’em Out marched with hundreds of others on the Manoogian Mansion in 2oo5, in a protest covered by international media, against the wave of water shut-offs first initiated under the Kilpatrick administration. It continued its battle against those shut-offs in a large “Blackinaw Island” rally in 2010 where instructions were passed out on how Detroiters could take direct action and turn their own water back on.
Under the Great Lakes Water Authority, which has since taken over the seven-county Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, orders have now gone out to deny water service ever again to homes whose owners turned the water back on as a necessity of life for their children, elders and disabled members.
March on Kwame Kilpatrick’s Manoogian Mansion April 15, 2005 to protest massive water shut-offs (yes, they started then) and other attacks on city services.
“Blackinaw Island” gathering of Call ’em Out May 31, 2014, where plans were laid to stop water shutoffs.
Many photos of these events, taken by Diane Bukowski for the now-defunct Michigan Citizen at the time, are featured at the end of this article.
Such politicians paved the way for the “Emergency Manager” takeover of Detroit under Gov. “Ric-tator” Snyder after a “Consent Agreement” was approved by a City Council headed by now notorious child molester Charles Pugh.
DWSD worker Andrew Daniels-El holds up city charter at large rally organized by Call ’em Out in Bert’s Warehouse Theater Jan. 28, 2009. Also shown next to Hitchcock is AFSCME Local 207 President John Riehl, who passed at the age of 62 after years of leading his local in militant battles against the takeover of DWSD.
EM Kevyn Orr, in coordination with Snyder and Wall Street banks, led the unprecedented, disastrous and illegal declaration of Detroit bankruptcy that has stripped the city of its assets including the $6 billion Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), and stolen the jobs, pensions and health care of City of Detroit workers and retirees.
These actions were in gross violation of Detroit’s City Charter, (its most recent version passed by the people of the city in 2012) as well as union contracts.
During the dinner, an election was held, in mocking emulation of alleged practices by City Clerk Janice Winfrey, to see who would become the 2017 “Sambo’s.” Ballots were purchased at the cost of 25 cents each, and individuals could purchase as many as they desired.
Other participants at packed Call ’em Out Dinner Feb. 27, 2017.
Bill Davis, president of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA), (2nd from left) with other dinner participants.
More dinner attendees.
Aside from the winning Sambo nominees, also listed on the ballots were:
Marie Thornton of Call ’em Out with Scrill of NED at dinner Feb. 27, 2017. Thornton helped count ballots.
Jeffrey Robinson, the alleged adopted son of Rev. Loyce Lester, who is running for Mayor; he attempted to get this author fired from the Michigan Citizen for objecting to Lester’s unbridled attacks on Marie Thornton from the audience.
Former School Board member Jonathan Kinloch, who allegedly sponsored a resolution to “sanction” Call ’em Out at a 13th District Democratic Party meeting;
Current Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, another supporter of “mayor” Duggan, who previously ran against him;
Detroit City Councilman James Tate, who was among the “Fatal Five” who voted for the state Consent Agreement that led to the Emergency Manager takeover of Detroit and the bankruptcy which followed.
Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey, another member of the Fatal Five.
Heaster Wheeler, Executive VP of the Detroit NAACP, who has followed in the political footsteps of Wendell Anthony.
Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware.
Pros. Kym Worthy refused to charge cops in executions of Terrance Kellom, many more
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has done her best to send thousands of Black youth and individuals to Michigan prisons to die, guilty or not.
Natasha Baker, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder as the “State School Reform Officer.” Her office is in charge of closing, not assisting, the five percent of lowest-performing schools in the state, most in Detroit.
Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, ex-officio member of the board of the state-run Detroit Public Schools Community District, as well as member of the state advisory committee overseeing the City of Detroit.
City Councilman George Cushingberry, long ago sued for stealing assets of his probate clients, also an ardent advocate of privatization.
Malik Shabazz, an officer of the Detroit 300, which collaborates with Detroit police and openly advocates “snitching” in the neighborhoods.
Kevyn Orr, former Emergency Manager of Detroit, who ordered the bankruptcy declaration and left the city in ruins.
Butch Hollowell, Duggan’s Corporate Counsel, helps him move into his office.
“Butch” Hollowell, Democratic Party hack now working for ‘mayor’ Duggan as his Chief Corporate Counsel.
Darnell Earley, former Emergency Manager of Flint as well as the Detroit Public Schools. He ordered the disconnection of Flint from DWSD, resulting in the lead poisoning of the entire population.
Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity.
Detroit Federation of Teachers, which endorsed the recent creation of the state-run Detroit Public Schools Community District, (after ousting the DFT’s elected and militant President Steve Conn), as well as the original 1999 state takeover of DPS.
Bernice Smith, itinerant community gadfly.
PHOTO GALLERY OF CALL ‘EM OUT EVENTS IN EARLIER YEARS:
Call ’em Out “Prayer Vigil” at the late Councilwoman Kay Everett’s house, calling for her to stop privatizing city assets.
Greg Frazier and the late Mary Shoemake present “Power Couple” award to Jan and William Malachi (now deceased); tribute was paid to late Call ’em Out members at dinner
Protest at former School Board President Jimmy Womack’s house by Call ’em Out. Girl in center taunting the late activist Ruth Williams (r) was identified as Womack’s stepdaughter. Photo by Wyoman Mitchell.
Call ’em Out sit-in at City Clerk Janice Winfrey’s office.
Call ’em Out members Mary Shoemake, Erma Thomas, Linda WIllis call for Justice for Aiyana Jones at protest June 26, 2010.
Call ’em Out fights for water rights outside Water Board building.
Call ’em Out outside Coleman A. Young Center May 28, 2009 demands no Detroit giveways at Mackinaw Island Conference.
NOTE: SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THIS STORY, ISSUES HAVE BEEN RAISED BY ONE OF THE ‘SAMBO’ NOMINEES, JONATHAN KINLOCH, CHAIR OF THE 13TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC PARTY, OBJECTING TO HIS NOMINATION. CALL ‘EM OUT RESPONDS AS BELOW:
After becoming the first boxer in U.S. Olympic history — male or female — to win two gold medals, Claressa Shields was expected to rise rapidly through the professional ranks.
Two-time Olympic Gold winner Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan.
But headlining a fight card on a premium network in her second pro fight? Impossible. No female fighter had ever topped the bill on a premium network, let alone with one pro fight on her résumé.
Yet Shields has been doing the impossible for years. Like winning Olympic boxing gold at 17. Sure, it happens in swimming, and gymnastics, maybe tennis. But not in boxing. Shields was a high school junior when she took home the middleweight title in London in 2012, the first year women could box in the Olympics.
Friday night at MGM Grand in Detroit, just down the road from her hometown of Flint, Mich., family members, friends and her growing legion of fans will gather to watch Shields, 21, make history again when she headlines Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation (10 p.m. ET) in a six-round middleweight bout against older, more experienced Szilvia Szabados of Hungary.
(Photo of Shields, left, and Szabados during the weigh-in by Tom Casino, Showtime)
Shields couldn’t contain her excitement as she talked by phone on Wednesday. “Now that we’re two days out from the fight, everybody is calling, texting, and just to know that all my family is going to be there — my mom, my dad, my sister, my cousins — it’s a really great feeling,” Shields said. “I predicted this would happen one day; I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. And I’ve already sold out the MGM Grand, so it shows that women can sell tickets.”
Having boxed in two Olympics and two world championships, Shields is used to pressure. But fighting in Kazakhstan or China is not like fighting in the Motor City in front of family and a full house. She remains unfazed.
“Pressure will make you underperform. I have no pressure,” said Shields, who won her professional debut vs. former USA Boxing teammate Franchon Crews in November. “I know what I’m capable of. I know how I box. I know that if I have my mind and everything together, and I’ve had a really good training camp, I’ll perform probably better than I expect to. I know I’m going to look good and do really well. I’m not under any pressure.”
Muhammad Ali (portrait)
Szabados (15-8, six KOs) has about as much confidence as one can muster against the talented and power-punching Shields.
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve been waiting a long time for this fight,” Szabados, 26, said during the final news conference to promote the bout. “This is a huge opportunity for me, and I plan to take advantage of it.”
But the Flint fighter nicknamed “T-Rex” has plenty of reasons not to let that happen, not the least of which is that this fight is for the NABF title, one that Shields’ idol, Muhammad Ali, won on his way to the top 50 years ago.
And this: “I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my family,” Shields said. “I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my nephews, cousins and my mom and dad. I just don’t roll like that.
“If she doesn’t have the talent and skill to go six rounds with me, she will not go six rounds. So, I hope she had a very good training camp. I know I did.”
Claressa Shields with family in Flint
“This is the first time that a woman has been the main event on Showtime, and I’m not coming to make women look bad.”
Shields prefers not to dwell on the past, including those coveted gold medals, instead focusing on what will be. She has a simple goal that those who know her best have no doubt she’ll accomplish.
“I know about Laila Ali, and Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker, and I don’t box like any of them. I have my own unique style. I’ve never seen a female fighter like myself. I want to carry the sport,” she said.
“I want my legacy to be that I’m the best female fighter to ever put on gloves.”
So far, so good.
Claressa Shields vs. Szilvia Szabados Live Stream: How to Watch Fight Online
Published 12:00 pm EST, March 10, 2017 Updated 12:01 pm EST, March 10, 2017 Comments closed By Tim Keeney
Looking to watch a live stream of the Claressa Shields vs. Szilvia Szabados fight on Friday night? There are a couple different ways to do so, whether or not you have a cable subscription.
The card, which starts at 10 p.m. ET, will be broadcast on Showtime. If you can’t get to a TV, here’s a full rundown of your streaming options:
If you have a Showtime subscription (read above how to start one if you don’t have cable), you can watch a live stream via the Showtime app, which can be downloaded for free in the following locations:
DETROIT – The regional Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) lifted a “boil water advisory” for a vast swath of Detroit from McNichols south to the riverfront and Linwood east to Conner, as well as the cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck Fri. March 3. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) gave their blessings.
“The second round of test results taken by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) related to the February 28, 2017 boil water advisory have come back clear,” the GLWA said in a terse statement. “Given that both sets of test results have proven that there was nothing wrong with the water, GLWA has made the recommendation to the impacted communities that the boil water advisory can be lifted.”
Shades of Flint, where three boil water advisories were lifted before nearly 100,000 residents discovered that they had been severely poisoned beginning in 2014, by lead and other contaminants in their water, with dire life-long consequences.
Water Works Park Water Treatment Plant on East Jefferson in Detroit; GLWA CEO blamed crisis on operator error
The GLWA did not specify WHO performed the tests in question on the water in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck. It released no actual test results. Their staff at treatment plants like Water Works Park, where water pressure dropped for two hours Feb. 28, allowing possible bacterial contamination, is made up of “operators,” not chemists or other qualified experts.
Nine operators were recently sent to remedial mathematics classes “developed for operators struggling with math or those who needed to review basic math before moving on to more advanced computations required for drinking water operators.” according to GLWA CEO Sue McCormick’s February report, which she presented at the GLWA’s Public Budget hearing March 1, 2017. (See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/GLWA-CEO-Report-February-2017.pdf.)
DWSD Director Gary Brown was present, but offered no commentary himself. He spent part of the meeting laughing in asides with a GLWA director next to him. He allegedly had not known of the boil water alert until that morning.
McCormick said the formal monthly meeting of the GLWA Board will take place at a date and time “to be determined” (TBD).
Prior to the formation of the GLWA, McCormick, who previously headed the DWSD for a brief period, boasted that she had eliminated 41 percent of the staff in that department. Detroit’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is now run by the Toronto-based EMA, which has eliminated nearly all the experienced DWSD staff there, including chemists and engineers. EMA recommended earlier that DWSD lay off 81 percent of its workforce.
______________________________________________________________ DWSD Chemist Saulius Simiolaunias after GLWA 3/1/17 meeting
“It is terrible,” Saulius Simiolaunias, an internationally renowned retired Senior Chemist from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, told VOD. “They have people who are not chemists, just operators. They don’t do the right tests. They need people who know mathematics, to know how much chlorine or other chemicals to add to the water supply. The MDEQ is always covering for them. They are just interested in getting their money. I have challenged them many times. Sue McCormick is just making double-speak. Her reports at the GLWA meetings are long but nonsensical.”
Simiolaunias said he will be giving a presentation at the International Association for Great Lakes Research 60th annual conference, to be held in Detroit from May 15 through 19, 2017. See http://iaglr.org/iaglr2017/ .
During the meeting, Carolyn Doherty, a nurse from Royal Oak, commented on the “poor condition” of water provided by the GLWA.
“Water rates and shut-offs are excessive,” Doherty said. “We are surrounded by water. The price should be less. You are serving corporations instead of concentrating on long-term prevention [of crises].”
Representatives from other suburbs similarly complained about water rates and condition.
McCormick did not give an updated report on what is happening with water shut-offs in Detroit, as she used to in her executive reports for the DWSD. But the DWSD website for Feb. 15, 2017 showed the figures to the right on various such issues.
The Feb. 28 “boil water alert” was not the first emergency for the GLWA for Detroit since its formation in 2015 although it was by far the most extensive in DWSD history.
In mid-January this year, according to the publication Great Lakes Now, “. . . .more than 100 complaints came in from residents in Allen Park, Ecorse, Southgate, Lincoln Park and other downriver communities in the Detroit area . . . Some residents reported feeling ill from drinking the sulphur-smelling water, and some said their pets got sick, too. They complained about discoloration, smell and taste.”
In a press conference, GLWA officials said the problem was due to the twice-yearly clean-up of catch basins at the Southwest Water Treatment Facility, which stirred up sediment.
“Great Lakes Now” (GLN) said McCormick called the problem an “aesthetics issue” caused by turbidity, or cloudiness or haziness in water.
GLWA CEO McCormick and COO Porter at January press conference on downriver water complaints.
“We don’t want taste, odor or color in our drinking water but they are not a health issue,” McCormick said according to GLN. She said all test results performed by GLWA met EPA standards. “The water has been safe to drink one hundred percent of the time,” she claimed.
The GLN added, “GLWA’s Chief Operating Officer of Water and Field Services, Cheryl Porter, says the system is tested for safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She says, ‘We are still doing our investigation. This was an unusual situation with an unusual amount of solids.’”
In July, 2016, another boil water alert was issued for Detroit’s southwest side. Issues involved there have not yet been resolved.
“Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) customers who are in the area between West Jefferson to the south, Vernor Highway to the north, Miller Road to the west, and Livernois to the east are advised to boil their drinking water until further notice,” the DWSD said in its alert. “Some customers in the area have reported low pressure which was caused by a 42-inch water transmission line break occurring this morning.”
July, 2016 Boil Water Alert on Detroit’s southwest side.
As part of her February CEO report, McCormick described the progress of the replacement of the 42-inch main with a 30-inch main.
“Construction of the 30-inch water main under the Rouge River started on January 19, 2017,” McCormick. “The final tie-ins on both sides of the river was delayed due to leaky gate valves and higher river water levels coming through the existing main. The final tie-ins of the new 30-inch main was completed on February 18th, and disinfection of the main is underway. The main will be in service by Friday, March 3rd, contingent upon water quality results.”
After storms in July and August, 2016, sewer back-ups contaminated the basements of homes in the Jefferson-Chalmers and Cornerstone Village neighborhoods on Detroit’s east side, causing an outcry from residents there.
DWSD boasted that it took “historically unprecedented steps to ensure homes in the area impacted by recent storm activity are professionally cleaned and sanitized.” That region is one of those slated for ongoing gentrification efforts, unlike the southwest side, which got no such professional clean-up and sanitation efforts.Yesterday, DWSD Director Brown announced that the city would pay more than $11 million in claims from homeowners affected by the flooding.
Later, on Sept. 29, 2016, flash flooding affected freeways, streets and building basements across Metropolitan Detroit, including the Lodge Freeway underneath Cobo Hall. Gushing water and sewage backups were part of the scenario. Flash flooding recently affected Detroit’s southeastern suburbs as well.
The DWSD said the flooding on the Lodge in Sept. 2016 was the responsibility of the Michigan Department of Transportation. It blamed street flooding on clogged sewer catch basins.
“Today’s flash flooding is a reminder that residents and businesses can minimize street flooding by ensuring leaves, twigs, grass clippings and other debris are cleared from the street and in front of their property,” the DWSD told residents then. “Left remaining on the street, these items will clog the catch basins that cause flooding. DWSD encourages residents and businesses to use rakes, shovels and brooms to remove the debris and place in a proper refuse bag.”
However, retired Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) workers blamed the similar although more massive metro Detroit floods of August, 2014 on EMA’s elimination of workers at the WWTP, putting an end to 24/7 supervision of sewage pumps there. They said three of the major pumps there were down, causing sewage-filled flooding when the area experienced heavy storms. The GLWA had not been constituted yet but was in the wings. In preparation, under the direction of U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, massive lay-offs were already occurring in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
More recently, VOD reporters the late Cornell Squires and Diane Bukowski interviewed laid-off workers from DWSD, on Nov. 1, 2015. They told VOD, “If people think things are bad in Flint, wait until they see what’s going to happen with THEIR water!”
VOD reporter and long-time community activist Cornell Squires, who passed Nov. 19, 2016, is shown second from left behind laid-off DWSD workers Sammy Barber. Edward Collins, and Dean Fox.
The workers, Edward Collins, Jr., Dean E. Fox Sr., and Sammy Barber showed lay-off notices with “elimination of job title,” not “lack of work,” listed as the reason for termination, or no reason at all. Their layoffs were part of hundreds McCormick had just enacted, ignoring seniority and with it, levels of experience.
They referred VOD to one Wastewater Treatment Plant worker still on the job, in the four-floor facility, who VOD did not identify by name to protect his job.
AFSCME Local 207 protest against lay-offs Oct. 13, 2015.
He told VOD, “There are sometimes only two workers on a floor, sometimes one, and sometimes none at all. I can hardly leave the job because they’ve laid off about 70 people, or transferred them, or switched them around to other jobs. They were already short 300 workers. One worker recently had a major heart attack. The people running this place [EMA] are totally incompetent. They’re dumping sewage sludge back in the river, and they just got fined for that. They’re piling up other sewage sludge outside the new [NEFCO] sludge-drying plant across from us, because they haven’t been able to get it working yet.”
FLINT HIT WITH DIRE CONSEQUENCES FIRST; MAYOR REPORTS CITY NOT READY TO TREAT ITS OWN WATER UNTIL AUGUST, 2019
The lead poisoning of the entire city of Flint, a cold-blooded act of domestic terrorism against another majority-Black city, first revealed the consequences of a decades-long drive by out-state forces to dismantle DWSD. Flint’s nearly 100,000 residents and their children will suffer dire lifetime physical and mental health consequences.
Flint residents have now been using bottled or filtered water for 3 years, with no end in sight until at least Aug. 2019, according to Mayor Karen Weaver.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver recently announced that Flint will not be able to begin processing its own water from Lake Huron through the Karegnondi Water Authority’s new pipeline until at least August, 2019.
“The previously submitted ‘Flint Water Treatment Plant Improvement Plan’ includes a schedule for the design, permitting and construction of the proposed improvements,” Weaver wrote in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Feb. 28. “To expedite completion of the project and minimize cost, a design/build project delivery method is proposed. Based on this approach, an August, 2019 completion date is anticipated for the treatment plant improvements.”
Meanwhile, the city government is still recommending that Flint residents used bottled or filtered water, not the water currently coming from the Great Lakes Water Authority.
The most shocking thing about Weaver’s announcement is that Flint should never have had to treat its own water in the first place. Since 1967, it received its water from DWSD, water that had been treated well enough to keep lead contamination below state and federally-approved levels. The city’s water treatment plant existed only to provide a two-week emergency back-up supply.
VIDEO: Bond Buyer of the Year Award to Karegnondi Water Authority; poisoning Flint for the profits of the banks
The push to get out of the DWSD system, allegedly to get customer costs lowered, was motivated by pure political and corporate greed. Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright and his campaign contributors initiated a project to build a pipeline from Lake Huron that duplicated DWSD’s water supply pipeline, in 2012. The pipeline, built and run by the Karegnondi Water Authority, was supposed to be up and running by 2015, but has not yet gone into operation.
Jeff Wright, now CEO of the Karegnondi Water Authority, whose creation led to the poisoning of the people of Flint for profit.
What Wright and his contractor cronies did not advertise was the fact that Karegnondi never had any plans to treat water from Lake Huron, leaving it up to individual communities that bought into the system to provide their own treatment facilities at greater cost to their residents. The Flint water crisis was not a result of using Flint River water as opposed to Lake Huron water. DWSD was already supplying water from Lake Huron to Flint and the surrounding area.
VOD previously quoted DWSD spokesman Bill Johnson regarding a state-commissioned study that showed DWSD remained the cheapest and most effective way for Flint residents to get clean water.
“The Flint City Council’s approval of the Genesee County Drain Commission-backed idea to link Flint and a proposed multi-county connector effectively launched the greatest water war in Michigan’s history,” Johnson said in a press release. “The action ignores a credible state-sponsored study that came out against the ill-advised Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) project. And the vote makes no connection to Flint’s fiscal reality. All things considered, the City of Flint is best served by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD).” (See full release at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/water_war_undermines_flint-dwsd_relations-2013-14.pdf.)
VOD wrote, “The study concluded that the cheapest and safest option out of eight through 2042 for Flint’s water supply was to provide it directly through an adaptation of DWSD’s Imlay City pumping station, which is closer to Flint. DWSD has always provided water for the area through its Lake Huron Water Treatment Plant at Ft. Gratiot, Michigan, which sends it to the Imlay City station to go to Flint. Flint then supplies it to other regional customers.”
In forming the regional GLWA under the Detroit bankruptcy declaration, Wall Street greed has thus devastated the previously world-class Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the people it served, 40 percent of Michigan’s population.
That utility, built and owned by the people of Detroit, had provided clean water at reasonable rates since its founding in 1836. Eventually, it included seven counties and 126 municipalities. It was the third largest such department in the U.S. Its Wastewater Treatment Plant was the largest in the world.
DWSD was the crown jewel of the assets belonging to the people of the nation’s largest Black-majority city. Now, under the GLWA, it presents a constant threat to the health and well-being of its customers.
The current City of Detroit charter says,
“The people have a right to expect aggressive action by the City’s officers in seeking to advance, conserve, maintain and protect the integrity of the human, physical and natural resources of this city from encroachment and/or dismantlement.
“The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; reliable, convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.
It also mandates a vote of the majority of Detroit’s residents prior to selling or leasing either the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department or the Department of Transportation, or any of their constituent parts. That Charter is still in effect, despite denials by Detroit’s former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and his boss, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The GLWA has not provided “clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city,” as mandated by the people of Detroit, who voted on this Charter in 2012.
It is time for Detroit to revisit the terms of its contract with the GLWA and revoke it by any means necessary.
DUMP THE GLWA NOW!
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Coleman Young II, candidate for Mayor, speaks at DAREA meeting March 1, 2017
By Diane Bukowski
March 5, 2017
DETROIT – A vibrant and in depth presentation by mayoral candidate Coleman Young II highlighted a packed monthly meeting of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA) March 1, 2017.
DAREA Secretary Yvonne Jones
“When we were fighting the state takeover of Detroit and the bankruptcy, fighting for our pensions, health care and jobs, we went to the state legislature,” DAREA Secretary Yvonne Jones told the audience. “State Sen. Coleman Young II was the ONLY one who came forward in our support, and voted against the emergency manager and bankruptcy on our behalf.”
DAREA officers also reported on the progress of the group’s lawsuit against the bankruptcy imposed on the city by Wall Street banks and corporations in 2014. The bankruptcy has devastated the jobs, wages, pensions and benefits of city workers and stolen nearly all the assets of the largest Black-majority city in the U.S.
DAREA president Bill Davis reported that the Washington, D.C. law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis now represents DAREA and other groups pro bono in a combined appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The USSC confirmed receipt of a petition for a writ of certiorari Feb. 9, 2017, after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the appellants Oct. 3, 2o16.
DAREA members disembark from bus in Cincinnati June 15, 2016 to attend 6th Circuit Court hearing on their bankruptcy lawsuit. In center is DAREA President Bill Davis, to his right is DAREA VP Cecily McClellan, to his left is retiree Ezza Brandon. They were allowed to wear their “Hands off my Pension” T-shirts in the 6th Circuit courtroom as arguments on bankruptcy appeals were heard. The bus was full, with over 40 retirees.
Young received a standing ovation and shouts of “Mayor Young” as he entered the room. He began his hour-long presentation including a question and answer session, with an initial statement about the 40 percent poverty level in the city of Detroit, the continual drainage of jobs from city residents to suburbanites, and the ongoing water shut-offs.
This reporter, videotaping Young’s talk, had to move to a different location to get a better lighting background, so his initial statements are not captured in the videos below.
But these videos present a view of a knowledgeable, passionate and evidently sincere official, unlike the image portrayed by some of the corporate media, which has lined up behind “mayor” Mike Duggan. Life-long Livonia resident Duggan is in office illegally because the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that he had not lived in Detroit long enough to qualify to run.
Concluding remarks and question and answer session
INFO FOR DETROIT ACTIVE AND RETIRED EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION:
Water Works Park Plant at East Jefferson and Cadillac in Detroit.
Alert covers the broadest area in Detroit’s history
DWSD retiree leader Bill Davis: “The GLWA doesn’t care about Blacks and minorities”
Continues beyond the “48 hours” the GLWA first estimated, now GLWA says PREMATURELY it will lift alert after second round of tests
Can GLWA be trusted?
By Diane Bukowski
March 1, 2017Updated March 2, 2017
Cheryl Porter, GLWA COO, previously DWSD COO
DETROIT – The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) belatedly issued a boil water alert for massive areas of Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck last night. It cited a two-hour drop in water pressure from an pump failure at the Water Works Park water treatment plant, which may have caused bacterial contamination. The failure occurred at 5 p.m. and lasted for at least two hours, GLWA Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Porter told the Detroit City Council.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issued a more extensive advisory than the one paragraph issued by the GLWA, which runs the plant. DWSD told people living and working in areas south of McNichols to the riverfront and Linwood east to Conner in the City of Detroit, along with the Cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck, to boil water before drinking it, or using it to prepare food and cook, while the water is sampled and tested for bacterial contamination.
“Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using . . . for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” the DWSD alert said. “The boil water notice shall remain in effect for the defined area until results from the sampling verify the water is safe to drink. CUSTOMERS WILL BE ADVISED WHEN THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY HAS BEEN LIFTED.” (See full DWSD alert at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DWSD-Boil-Water-Advisory.pdf.)
Bill Davis is also President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA), which is pursuing a battle against bankruptcy cuts in federal court.
The GLWA and some of the mainstream media first reported that the alert would last for 48 hours, creating ongoing confusion in the three cities, but Porter cautioned that people should wait until the alert is officially lifted after tests are completed.
“It’s my personal belief that the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) doesn’t care about the people of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, because they have too many Blacks and minorities,” Bill Davis, a retired Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) supervisor, told VOD.
“If we were still under the DWSD, there would have been an immediate alert, but the GLWA chose to sit on it. Gary Brown [head of what’s left of the DWSD] didn’t even know about it until this morning.”
Davis said any bacterial contamination from the water pressure drop meanwhile created risks, particularly for children and elderly people. He said massive staff cutbacks at DWSD before and since the GLWA took it over likely contributed to the failure.
Water fountain at Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall of Justice on March 2, with notice from DWSD posted above it. Water to all schools and other public buildings is similarly restricted, while private restaurants, supermarkets and other businesses must use alternate resources.
“I’ve been telling this City Council and this Mayor since 2013 that something like this was likely to happen,” Davis said. He said there has not been a massive boil water alert like this in Detroit’s previous history to his knowledge.
He added that the Flint water crisis began with a similar drop in water pressure, which allowed lead contamination of that city’s pipes to leach into water that was moving sluggishly instead of at its full rate of speed. Davis also blamed repeated flooding in the GLWA region from rainstorms on massive staff cutbacks at plants like the Wastewater Treatment Plant downriver, where he worked. Three major sewage pumps there were non-functional in 2014 as a result of a lack of 24/7 maintenance.
GLWA CEO Sue McCormick told the GLWA board March 1 that she and her staff first contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) drinking water division to find out what to do. Unlike her COO Porter, who previously also served as COO at DWSD, she said the alert would be over after 48 hours.
“This is a very unfortunate circumstance that resulted in what I would call an electrical mechanical failure,” McCormick said in response to a question from VOD, ironically at the GLWA’s public hearing on new water and sewerage rates March 1.
GLWA CEO Sue McCormick with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who signed the contract giving away DWSD to the regional Great Lakes Water Authority.
“It’s a systems control issue from a valve operator,” McCormick went on. “The valve was closing inappropriately causing pumps to back off as the water was starting. We know pressure sagged in the process—particularly in the system from the other plants that would pick up that flow. That worked less effectively than we hoped it would. So we had pressure sag. We know the extent of that pressure sag based on the number of complaints we received in the area. In conversation with MDEQ drinking water division we discussed how we should notify the public. So we issued what I would call a precautionary boil water alert. While today we don’t have any evidence that the system depressurized to the extent that contaminants could have entered the system through the ground or from buildings, we won’t know the result of our tests for 48 hours. So we are suggesting that people in the area boil their water for that time.”
Gary Brown (l) with GLWA officials at meeting June 12, 2015 where contract turning DWSD over to GLWA was signed.
On March 2, the GLWA reported regarding tests conducted only in one day, “While these results are a sign that there is nothing wrong with the water, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is requiring the boil water advisory remain in effect throughout the originally stated 48-hour time period. A second round of test results will be returned tomorrow and upon a second clear result, GLWA will recommend that the boil water advisory be lifted. GLWA will provide additional updates as soon as they are available.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan signed the contract turning the six-county DWSD, the larges asset of the largest Black-majority city in the U.S., over to the GLWA, except for a few minor mains in Detroit, in June, 2015. The GLWA was created during the bankruptcy proceedings in 2014 despite ongoing protests by city workers, residents and others who warned of dire consequences.
Area of Detroit where boil water advisory is in effect.
“Donald Trump and the corporate media are locked in mutual hostility, but they are both enemies of the poor and oppressed. Media tell non-stop lies about foreign leaders abroad and Black people here at home. As servants of corporate power, the media usually kow-tow to whoever wins the White House. They’ve made an exception for Trump, but that doesn’t make them honest journalists — just flunkies for the other party.
“When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.”
Every day Donald Trump exemplifies the contradictions of this era. He may make a statement that the left can agree with, but not because of shared political beliefs or motives. That is the case with his latest twitter statement regarding the media. “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
Donald Trump at press conference
The corporate media generally go out of their way to make nice with presidents and promote their agendas. The feeling is mutual and presidents make nice right back. Even George W. Bush, who like Trump lost the popular vote, enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.
But Trump is different. He cannot say the words New York Times without adding, “Which is failing.” He can’t stand criticism and apparently doesn’t like to work for praise either. We can add his continued fighting with the press to the rest of his list of firsts.
“Even George W. Bush enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.”
The fact is that the corporate media in this country are our enemies. Media consolidation has left us with a handful of newspapers and television networks which are all controlled by international conglomerates. They hoped they would make neo-liberal heroine Hillary Clinton the next president but Democratic Party failures and her own weaknesses put Trump in the White House.
Iraqi children scream after U.S. soldiers killed their parents during invasion.
The news has been fake long before Donald Trump used those words. The cozy relationship between Bush and the press gave him cover to invade Iraq and kill 1 million people. The correspondents’ dinners and the private briefings create media haves and have nots, and taint the journalism that comes from this collusion. Obama made the private briefing a standard operating practice and kept Democratic pundits in his thrall, not that he had to work hard to win them over.
Trump considers anyone an enemy who doesn’t love him. That is why he is no friend of the press. But the rest of us should not rush to defend them either. After all they do not defend us. In 2016 they stood with Hillary Clinton while Bernie Sanders, despite his political failings, revealed the weaknesses in the Democratic Party. He was mocked, the desire for change was ignored and as a result Trump is the 45th president of the country.
“The corporate press never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions.”
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton
Presentation and politesse are everything to our press overlords, so they never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions. They repeated lies about foreign leaders who fell into Obama’s cross hairs. They said nothing about job stealing trade deals or the dishonesty which gave us more private health insurance when we needed Medicare for All.
When Hillary Clinton picked up on a Marco Rubio talking point and accused Donald Trump of being a Russian agent and/or dupe, the media followed right along. When her strategy failed they kept repeating it instead of asking why she lost to the person they all disregarded. When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.
Do the media report on the inhumanity of mass incarceration? Do they tell their viewers and readers that half of all Americans live on $31,000 per year or less? Do they reveal the devastation created by American regime change or give voice to its victims?
They do none of these things. They engage in a mutual admiration society and having covered up great wrong doing they now act as gate keepers against Donald Trump. But let us imagine if Trump were to suddenly have a change of heart and personality. Suppose he stopped calling the New York Times “failing.” Suppose he decided to make friends.
“If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability.”
Suddenly we would see stories about his under appreciated brilliance. The planned wall on the Mexican border would be called a master stroke, the travel ban of citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations would suddenly be deemed a legal breakthrough. If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability. Such is the power of media imprimatur.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, now owner of the Washington Post, and a $750 M CIA contract, at White House.
No one should deny that one plus one equals two if Donald Trump states this easily understood fact. When he calls the press the enemy one must remember that the Washington Post was purchased by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Bezos then used Amazon’s cloud technology as means of getting a $750 million contract with the CIA.
Late in 2016 the Post runs a fake news story calling outlets like Black Agenda Report agents of the Russian government and begins the process of making repression a reality. To complicate matters further, Bezos is one of eight billionaires on the planet with as much wealth as half of humanity. Anyone with a fat CIA contract who literally controls the world is certainly no friend of the people.
No one should be fooled by Trump’s bloviating, nor should they be fooled by phony outrage from guilty parties. The media are in bed with the rulers and that makes them enemies of the first order.
The Voice of Detroit does not make a habit of endorsing political candidates. But former State Senator Coleman Young II had some good points to make when he announced Feb. 24 that he is taking on “the white mayor, the right mayor” as Rev. Wendell Anthony had the gall to call Mike Duggan when he introduced him.
Many of Senator Young’s points were raised in VOD’s earlier article “Duggan’s Decades-Long Detroit Demolition Derby.” It will take a GRASS ROOTS people’s movement to oust the white aristocracy and banking establishment that has the City of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools in its clutches, with the devastating bankruptcy under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Gov. Snyder. But more power to Young, maybe he can get the ball rolling. . . .
Video above is from October 28, 2016 hearing where Wayne County Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter testified that Charles Lewis’ official court file could not be found after months of searching. It has still not been found, although Judge Qiana Lillard ordered it “re-constructed.” Lewis contests the validity of that order, and says his case must be dismissed, based on U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other precedents.
SADO withdraws as Charles Lewis’ representative; had insisted on 40-60 yr. sentence despite innocence, complete loss of official court file
Lewis: Judge Lillard’s order to re-construct lost file “an abuse of discretion,” violation of attorney-client privilege, case must be dismissed
Guard bars great grand-niece Ava from court: “My uncle should be out by now!”
Charles Lewis argues his case at court Feb. 15, 2017
DETROIT – “Ninety percent of juvenile lifers are in prison because they had really bad attorneys,” Charles Lewis, who has served 41 years in Michigan’s prisons, said during a court hearing February 15. “One of the biggest problems juveniles have is finding competent counsel. I’d rather just represent myself. Nobody knows my case like me. I’ve been researching it since I was 17.”
He spoke at a hearing in front of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard called to allow his state-appointed defense attorney, Valerie Newman, and the State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO) to withdraw from the case. Lillard issued an order approving the withdrawal.
Present in court to support Lewis were Ron and Darleen Hereford, owners of Doll’s Go-Kart race track at Oakman and Grand River. They fought a nine-year battle to free their son Darron, who was falsely convicted of robbery charges.
(L to r) Ron and Darleen Hereford, Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis and great-grandniece Ava. Ava said the court guard stood in her face to stop her from entering the courtroom.
Evidence of the false conviction included photos of the guilty party raiding the cash register at Hungry Howie’s in Southfield, an individual who looked nothing like their son. The Herefords have always said their son was targeted as part of a land-grab scheme by realtor Herb Strather, who is seeking to amass properties along the Grand River corridor in Detroit.
Lewis was convicted of killing off-duty Detroit police officer Gerald Sypitkowski on July 31, 1976, after three separate trials. Numerous eyewitnesses at the scene including Sypitkowski’s partner Dennis Van Fleteren testified that the gunfire which killed the off-duty cop came from a white Lincoln Mark IV, driven by Leslie Nathanial, not from Lewis.
None of them said they saw Lewis or three Black juveniles who testified against him at the scene. Then Sgt. Gil Hill, a notoriously crooked cop, released Nathanial and concocted the case against Lewis.
Recorders Court Judge Joseph Maher dismissed the jury without cause after testimony was completed in Lewis’ first trial in March, 1977, according to Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas.
Judge Deborah Thomas
Judge Thomas said in a 2006 opinion that she had “thoroughly” reviewed the transcript. She said the dismissal should have meant Lewis’ acquittal and the state’s inability to re-try him under double jeopardy provisions.
“That order was an abuse of discretion,” he told Judge Lillard. “The Court Clerk didn’t have my record. Ninety percent of those documents in the [re-constructed] file came from my foot locker. I turned them over to my previous attorneys Foley & Lardner who then gave them to SADO. I did that so I could get legal advice from SADO. I didn’t give permission to turn them over to the prosecution.”
Below: Lewis’ family and supporters discuss their sons’ cases
Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Dawson and Lewis’ court-appointed attorney Valerie Newman of SADO called Lewis’ depiction of the re-constructed file a “lie,” claiming other documents were included.
Newman claimed, however, that she did not have a copy of the re-constructed file. But Wayne County Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter told this reporter earlier that he was making a copy for the defense, after which this reporter could also review the file, which is considered public information.
Judge Lillard agreed with Newman and Dawson on the file’s contents, saying the only thing missing was the Court Clerk’s official file. She said she intended to certify the file herself, a likely violation of state court rules which give that responsibility to the Court Clerk. (See box at left.) There is additionally no accurate Register of Actions for the case. The ROA begins at the year 2000, with an inaccurate entry showing that Lewis was convicted in front of Judge Gershwin Drain on April 3, 2000.
“If I’m wrong, somebody will have to tell me,” she said. VOD has requested comment from Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett on Lillard’s order. Due to the holiday, she was not available before press time.
Newman and SADO officially withdrew from the case during the hearing, citing Lewis’ contention that the “attorney-client privilege” had thus been violated.
Newman asked Lillard to allow Lewis to argue as a pro se motion a letter that he sent to SADO in December laying out his legal grounds against Lillard’s Nov. 11 ruling, but Lillard refused to do so. She said she would not allow Lewis to argue his case pro se, but would consult with Chief Criminal Court Judge Timothy Kenny to have him appoint another attorney to “assist” Lewis. (See Lewis letter/motion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/CLlettermotion.compressed-1.pdf.)
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Faretta v. California (1975), however, was “the case that established that defendants have a right to represent themselves,” according to the Nolo.com Legal Encyclopedia. The USSC said,
“The Sixth Amendment as made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth guarantees that a defendant in a state criminal trial has an independent constitutional right of self-representation and that he may proceed to defend himself without counsel when he voluntarily and intelligently elects to do so, and, in this case, the state courts erred in forcing petitioner against his will to accept a state-appointed public defender and in denying his request to conduct his own defense.” (See full ruling at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Faretta-v-California.pdf.)
Charles Lewis after graduation from course in prison; state dehumanizes juvenile lifers by forcing them to appear in court in jail scrubs and handcuffs.
Lewis told VOD that he was encouraged by the hearing, because both Newman and Judge Lillard put it on the record that attorney-client privilege may have been violated, and once again that they believe his official court file can be re-constructed, without any valid legal grounds. He is still asking for immediate dismissal of his case, and his release from prison, based on the loss of the official court file first. Then he said he will engage in a fight to prove his innocence of the charges, for which he said he has substantial evidence.
“There were four points during the time I’ve been in prison when my case should have been dismissed,” Lewis said. “The first time was after Judge Maher dismissed the jury from my first trial without cause. The second time was when there was no official record of the jury’s vote after my last trial under Maher in 1977. The third time was when Judge Edward Thomas refused to grant me a Pearson evidentiary hearing within 30 days of my request for one. The fourth time was when Judge Gershwin Drain issued an order dismissing my case on April 3, 2000 because of the Pearson violation.”
Lewis was not made aware of that order until 10 years later, by a prison official who gave him a copy. He and his family remain adamant that he has been unjustly incarcerated for over 41 years and said they will not stop fighting for his freedom.
“He’s the white mayor-he’s the right mayor” –Rev. Wendell Anthony on Mike Duggan re-election bid; supporters Benny Napoleon, Butch Hollowell, Chief James Craig, more
1986-2002: Duggan Deputy Wayne Co. Executive under corrupt no-bid Ed McNamara
1992: Duggan fired ME for reporting truthfully that Malice Green died from beating by Budzyn/Nevers; abolition of Detroit’s Recorders Court followed
1999-2016: Duggan helped destroy DPS, beginning with 1999 summer contract bid scandal after state takeover, to complete elimination of DPS district in 2016
2004: Duggan destroyed Detroit Medical Center with for-profit hedge fund takeovers
2014 to present: In league with Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Black Detroiters killed, harassed by cops; Raynard Burton, 19, just died
2014 to present: Duggan eliminated Detroit-owned assets including DWSD in wake of bankruptcy, increasing water shut-offs, floods, contamination, massive loss of city jobs
By Diane Bukowski
Feb. 18, 2017
DETROIT – Notoriously corrupt Detroiters including Rev. Wendell Anthony, Sheriff Benny Napoleon, and others came forward to shout and applaud “mayor” Mike Duggan’s announcement of his re-election bid on Feb. 3. Their adulation for Detroit’s first white “mayor” since 1974, illegally installed in violation of a Court of Appeals ruling, was mind-boggling. It reeked of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and joyous cries of support from virtual neo-fascists.
Duggan’s lackeys ignored the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing criminal investigation of the bid-rigging demolition scandal Duggan and downtown czar Dan Gilbert are involved in. Duggan appointed Gilbert to head the “Detroit Blight Removal Task Force,” despite the USDOJ’s criminal charges against Gilbert’s Quicken Loans for its practice of blatant predatory loans. Quicken Loans is fifth in the number of foreclosures carried out by mortgage companies in Detroit.
Homrich demolishing Detroit home.
Federal officials estimate that 60 percent of the work done to demolish Detroit’s affordable and historic housing base, owned largely by Blacks, was carried out by Duggan’s cronies including large white-owned companies like Homrich and Adamo. They got their federally-funded contracts despite being the highest, not the lowest bidders.
Gilbert’s c0-czar and Duggan ally Mike Illitch recently died. He couldn’t take his his new Red Wings arena, 68 percent funded by public tax dollars with him. That project, and others in downtown Detroit and the Cass Corridor (a/k/a “Midtown”) drove rank-and-file Detroiters, largely Black, out of their long-time homes. They are being replaced with high-priced arenas and luxury condo and retail developments, affordable only to interlopers from the suburbs and across the world.
Let’s look at Duggan’s racist and greedy history in Detroit.
Painting of Malice Green by Bennie White Israel at site of his beating death by white Detroit cops in 1992.
MALICE GREEN MURDER, 1992:As a Wayne County’s Deputy Executive, over the Medical Examiner’s office, he fired ME Khalil Jiraki, who refused to back down from his determination that Malice Green was beaten to death by two racist white cops—Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers. Jiraki later won a $2.1 million settlement of his whistleblower lawsuit. But a Black jury’s verdict of “GUILTY” of second-degree murder in the Budzyn-Nevers trial led eventually to the state’s elimination of Recorders Court, where judges and juries were predominantly Black.
Duggan remained in executive level positions under the late, notoriously corrupt no-bid Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara from 1986 to 2001.
WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR, NOW ‘MAYOR’ DUGGAN: Duggan was elected Wayne County Prosecutor in 2000. In 2000, Detroit led the nation in the number of killings by police in large cities. Detroiters rose up against killings by cops like Eugene Brown, but neither Duggan nor his successor Kym Worthy ever charged a single Detroit cop with murder.
Worthy refused to charge feds, Detroit. Dearborn cops for the brutal killings of Terrance Kellom, 19, Kevin Matthews, 32, and Janet White.
On Feb. 14, 2017, Detroit cop Jerroll Blanding just killed Raynard Burton, 19, under suspicious circumstances. The Metro Times identified the cop, who calls himself “Fatal Force” on Instagram, as a 22-year veteran of the department who killed a man in 2000 without justifiable cause.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy, DPD Chief James Craig, ‘mayor’ Mike Duggan
Although Police Chief James Craig was appointed by former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, he still technically answers to Duggan. Duggan has done nothing to stop the police harassment and frame-ups directed at the new grass-roots Detroit youth organization, New Era Detroit, or the police targeting, harassment and murder of Black youth in Detroit.
New Era Detroit members including leaders Scrill (top center) and Zeek (to his left) are joined by members of long-time renowned activist group Call ‘em Out in support of the youth group.
NED’s co-leader, Scrill, just faced two felony counts of assaulting, resisting andobstructing Detroit police as he led an Aug. 2016 NED peaceful community event and march. Scrill has a concealed pistol license (CPL). HE was assaulted by a three cops who crept up on him from behind. A woman cop grabbed him around his waist, and reached around to take his gun from the holster he kept in the front of his pants. She dropped the gun on the ground, endangering not only Scrill, but numerous women and children on the march and watching in the neighborhood. He was then dragged to a police car by the other cops, but finally released with only a ticket. The charges came three months later, but with broad support in the courtroom from both NED and Call ‘em Out members, a jury rapidly acquitted Scrill of both counts.
Duggan participated gladly in the first state takeover of DPS in 1999, heading a summer school repair program during which he set the pattern for what was to come: costly, no-bid contracts with campaign supporters.
DUGGAN AND THE DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 1999-2016: The current demolition bid scandal was not Duggan’s first. He began his participation in the concerted effort to destroy the renowned public school system of the nation’s largest Black majority city directly after the first state takeover of DPS in 1999. His name dominated the headlines in the Detroit News and Free Press, the Michigan Citizen, and elsewhere, with reports on no-bid scandals involving school renovation projects supervised by Duggan, who profited from contractor kickbacks as he got ready to run for Wayne County Prosecutor, and left DPS schools in absolute disrepair.
Parents and students protest closing of historic Oakman Orthopedic School, DPS’ only school built for special-needs youth.
Duggan has continued the destruction of DPS in recent years, supporting the plan to abolish the historic district and replace it with the Detroit Public Schools Community District, overseen by a state advisory board and the state School Reform Office (SRO) which is charged with closing five percent of the “lowest-performing” schools across Michigan every years.
The remaining shell district, the Detroit Public Schools, exists only to pay off the gargantuan debt accumulated by DPS under state control. Duggan along with City Council President Brenda Jones both sit on the state advisory board, outnumbered by (or included with) cronies of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Gov. Rick Snyder and ‘mayor’ Mike Duggan
Under state control, Detroiters now face the shutdown of 24 schools this year alone. More than 200 schools, including some of the city’s most renowned high schools, have already been shut down beginning in 2005, due to massive debt deliberately accumulated by the state at the urging of Wall Street banks.
Most of Detroit’s schools are now in the hands of for-profit charter operators, in the wake of a similar attack on the majority-Black city of New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the entire public school district has been shut down and replaced by charters which are not accountable to students, parents or the community, but steal public tax dollars meant for public schools to benefit private billionaires.
But activists including New Era Detroit are fighting back. NED held a rally at Pershing High School early this moth, involving the students themselves. It began with a student drum line and was followed by talks from the students themselves, as well as NED leaders who explained the political implications of this attack on the majority Black school district.
VIDEO: NEW ERA DETROIT
DUGGAN AND DETROIT HEALTH CARE: Supported by his long-time lackey Malik Shabazz, Duggan ordained the shutdown of what remained of Southwest Detroit Hospital, the last of 200 Black hospitals in the city of Detroit. The hospital had become United Community Hospital, eventually run by the city’s only Black-owned HMO, Ultimed. All were driven out of business by the white health care industry, with Duggan’s support.
Duggan celebrates sale of DMC to for-profit Vanguard Health Systems.
As his reward, Duggan became president and CEO of the non-profit Detroit Medical Center in 2004. First he tried unsuccessfully to shut down the century-old Detroit Receiving Hospital in the DMC, previously Detroit’s only public hospital, staffed by largely Black workers and owned by the majority-Black city of Detroit.
Then Duggan sold the DMC to the for-profit Vanguard Health Systems, 70 percent owned by the Blackstone Group, a Wall Street hedge fund, in 2010. Hundreds of workers were laid off, and services cut back, Vanguard’s M.O. across the U.S. The DMC was then sold to Tenet, another for-profit hedge fund-owned system.
Protester at July, 2015 rally in downtown Detroit.
UNDER DUGGAN, BLACK BUSINESSES UNDER ATTACK: Since Duggan took office, there has been a stepped up attack on the very existence of Black-owned Detroit businesses, including Bert’s at Eastern Market, the Tangerine Supper Club, the takeover of largely Black cab drivers’ jobs by Uber, and other entities. On July 25, 2015, Black business owners protested the war.
“I’ve done business in Detroit for over 47 years,” Bert Dearing said during the rally. “My club was at 150 W. Jefferson beginning in 1957, but I was displaced from there and forced to move to Eastern Market. What programs is our government putting together for people of color to survive in Detroit?”
The poverty rate for children in Detroit has risen to 59 percent, largely due to the lack of employment opportunities in white-dominated businesses for Black workers.
Gwen Mingo at her Brush Park home. She led a valiant campaign to stop the takeover of the storied Black neighborhood.
DUGGAN’S THEFT OF BLACK HOMES, LAND: Meanwhile, Duggan’s buddies Dan Gilbert and other billionaires continue to devastate the city with projects that drive more and more Blacks from their homes. They include the Brush Park project, and the white take-over of downtown Detroit with the building of arenas and creation of upscale, costly apartment residences which cater to whites. It is estimated that over 800 Black families and business owners were driven out from Brush Park by arson, foreclosures, and even murder over the past several decades. Now, Duggan and Gilbert want to turn the neighborhood into one that honors the wealthy white families of yore whose names adorn street signs, and build housing targeted largely toward high-income residents.
Blatant racism has reared its ugly head inside one complex downtown on Campus Martius, the Cadillac Square Apartments, where many white Quicken Loans employees live, with their rent subsidized by the company, owned by Dan Gilbert. But the building for years has housed Black tenants, and many remain. Now they are being threatened with violence and worse if they remain. (See video below).
Duggan has also collaborated with the Wayne County Treasurer in the foreclosure of tens of thousands of mainly Black-owned homes in the City of Detroit, based on tax bills that are fraudulent because the City of Detroit until recently has not conducted annual re-assessments of home values over the past 20 years. Although Duggan ordered a re-assessment, which was completed recently, its results are open to question. There is also no provision for monies to be returned to those whose property taxes were too high because of the lack of annual re-assessments in the past.
DUGGAN CARRIES WATER FOR MICHIGAN GOV. SNYDER, OTHER PERPETRATORS OF DETROIT BANKRUPTCY, DWSD TAKEOVER
Duggan celebrates Snyder’s signing of the “Grand Bargain.” It impoverished and even killed city retirees with health care cuts, and deprived residents of assets and services.
Duggan’s most disastrous role since he illegally took office as “mayor” in 2014 has been to carry the water (literally) for Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in their phony bankruptcy takeover of the city’s assets, jobs, and services. Duggan signed the contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority in June, 2015, giving up all but a few minor pipelines belonging to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
Duggan points out the minor part of the six-county DWSD that was left to Detroit under the Great Lakes Water Authority.
Since then, massive lay-offs have taken place in DWSD, obliterating at least 41 percent of the workforce in the nation’s third largest public water and sewerage department, and eliminated all but a few positions in the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plan, the largest such plant in the country, and third largest in the world.
WWTP workers attributed Detroit’s huge floods of 2014, along with the contamination of Lake Erie outside Toledo, to the shutdown of three major sewage pumps due to lack of worker oversight. Since then, under the GLWA, large parts of Detroit’s eastern suburbs have experienced repeated floods including a massive main breakdown that has destroyed numerous homes. There are continued reports of contaminated water from Bob-Lo Island south to Toledo.
Massive Detroit area floods in Aug. 2014.
An equally massive program of water shut-offs has gone forth under Duggan, targeting the poorest residents of the city as the GLWA raises water rates. Sewage rates are disproportionately raised for Detroit residents, allegedly because of delinquencies in water bills.
Duggan’s Chief Corporation Counsel Butch Hollowell went to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway in December, 2015, asking him to illegally seize control of the trial of the “Homrich 9” from 36th District Court, which Hathaway happily did.
Agnes Hitchcock of Call ’em Out arrested during first Homrich blockade.
The Homrich 9 were arrested as they blocked the entrance to the Homrich facility Duggan’s administration had contracted to carry out tens of thousands of water shut-offs to Detroit residents, shut-offs that continue to this day largely due to his sale of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Great Lakes Water Authority. Activists twice blockaded the entrance to the Homrich facility in 2014. Below is video of the first blockade in May, 2014, during which Agnes Hitchcock of Call ’em Out, among others, is seen being arrested.
Video above by Demeeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade
Call’em Out’s Sambo Awards Dinner!
Call ’em Out’s “Blackinaw Island” gathering May 31, 2014; Agnes Hitchcock in front, center.
Monday, February 27, 2017 6-10 pm
111 Kirby west of Woodward Detroit (west of DIA)
International Institute on Kirby east of Woodward
Tickets $10: Proceeds to support New Era Detroit’s Mission
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