Lewis filed motion to dismiss his case due to loss of court files, based on USSC decision in Chessman v. Teets re: case of altered transcripts

“You have nothing to hold him on and you can’t substantiate what you say”—Rosie Lewis, mother; Lewis has always maintained innocence

“We want all these brothers that have been locked up for 30 to 40 years for crimes they may have committed as children to come home”–DocX

“We will move to have him serve 40-60 years.”–SADO ‘defense’ attorney Valerie Newman, contradicting Lewis’ position

Judge Qiana Lillard postpones decision, sets next hearing for Oct. 28

By Diane Bukowski 

Oct0ber 12, 2016

DETROIT – “My son’s conviction must be dismissed,” Rosie Lewis said regarding juvenile lifer Charles Lewis. “I would hope they would do what is legitimate, right, and let him go. You have nothing to hold him on and you can’t substantiate what you say you have, and you can’t allow him to speak. And you have no charge, and I would be filing for a wrongful imprisonment.”

Jelekeco DocX Whitaker and other supporters gathered outside prior to a hearing on Lewis’ case, which was supposed to have been a hearing to determine finally whether the files cannot be retrieved.

Doc X and other supporters of Charles Lewis and Michigan juvenile lifers apeak to media before hearing October 11. Photo: Cornell Squires

Doc X and other supporters of Charles Lewis and Michigan juvenile lifers apeak to media before hearing October 11. Photo: Cornell Squires

Supporters outside Frank Murphy Hall in downtown Detroit.

Supporters outside Frank Murphy Hall in downtown Detroit.

“We are looking to have justice done,” Whitaker said. “He has been locked up for 41 years. He is a role model in the prison, working with the youth. He’s teaching young brothers music in there. We want all these brothers that have been in there for 30-40 years for crimes committed when they were children to come home. They are clearly biased against them because most of them are African-American.”

Ninety-eight percent of Wayne County’s 147 juvenile lifers are Black.

Pure Pleasure band Charles with the night of murder; they were not called to testify at his trial.

‘Pure Pleasure’ band Charles was with the night of murder; they were not called to testify at his trial.

Wendy Lewis said her brother was a talented musician during his youth, playing every instrument. She said he was out with a band playing at a UAW Local 212 cabaret during the time he was charged with killing an off-duty police officer in 1976.

“I had to go afterwards and pick up his  guitar, amplifier, cords all the equipment had in his entourage,” Mrs. Lewis said.

Wendy Lewis added, “He was almost like Prince, he played every instrument. He had them down in our basement. I just watched him play and I miss watching him play, I miss my brother. He’s not only a leader for our family, he’s a leader for the community. He took that into consideration, what this sentence means for almost 400 other people.”

Lewis told VOD earlier, “I think that my case is the test case for how missing transcripts and files will be dealt with in the future. I also think that if I can successfully challenge the juvenile statute that it will help other similarly-situated juveniles in the future. Right now I’m 57 years old and the best years of my life are behind me. So, I fight to make things better for those coming behind me. Hopefully, if I play my part they won’t have to go through what I’ve gone through.”

Lewis was finally present in court after appearing only on videotape multiple times. He has filed a motion with Judge Lillard requesting that his case be dismissed, citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Chessman v. Teets (1957), which held that tainted case files are grounds for reversal of convictions. 

In a series of hearings before Judge Lillard this spring, court officials have testified that they cannot find three cartons of records including Lewis’ arrest, charges, trials, conviction, and post-conviction proceedings on a 1976 first-degree murder charge Lewis has always maintained is false. Yet they are maintaining a falsified Register of Actions which states he was convicted on April 3, 2000 in front of Judge Gershwin Drain and lists other undocumented actions since then.

Charles Lewis listens as prosecutor, SADO attorney, judge conspire to get him sentenced to 40-60 yrs. Photo: Sarah Cwiek, Michigan Radio

Charles Lewis listens to court hearing. Neither Valerie Newman nor the judge asked him to speak, as he has done in earlier hearings before Lillard. Photo: Sarah Cwiek, Michigan Radio

Judge Lillard’s courtroom was packed with Lewis’ family and friends, as well as TV news cameras and reporters from much of the mainstream media.

Over 363 juvenile lifers across the state are being re-sentenced after tw0 U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) that juvenile life without parole is unconstitutional on a retroactive basis, “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.

However, Michigan is conducting the hearings under draconic state statutes passed in 2014 that have sabotaged the high court’s intent.

Mainstream media has been hungry for information on these hearings. Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy filed motions on the county’s 147 juvenile lifers June 22, asking that 63 of them, including Lewis, be re-sentenced to JLWOP. The motions are being kept from the public record. They are not filed in individual case files. Neither VOD nor Michigan Radio have been able to get access to them, despite a Freedom of Information Act request by VOD. No notice is sent to the public when a hearing is scheduled.

During the Oct. 11 hearing,  Lewis at one point turned and asked Assistant Prosecutor Jason Williams how he plans to proceed with re-sentencing despite the lack of files on his case.

APA Williams, SADO attorney Valerie Newman hold secret meeting with Judge Lillard for 15 minutes before hearing; Lewis was not present in the courtroom.

APA Williams, SADO attorney Valerie Newman hold secret meeting with Judge Lillard for 15 minutes before hearing; Lewis was not present in the courtroom. Lillard did not put substance of discussion on the record.

Lillard cut Williams off before he could respond. She then asked “defense attorney” Valerie Newman to file her own brief. Newman has not actually even filed an appearance in Lewis’ case.

Lillard did not ask for a prosecutor’s brief in response to Lewis’ motion.

Despite broad state judicial opposition to Michigan’s juvenile lifer resentencing process, particularly its statutory maximum of 60 years, and ban on use of prisoners’ earned “good time,” Newman said she would file a brief calling for Lewis to be re-sentenced to 40-6o years whether or not the files are found.

Former Wayne County Prosecutor and Judge John O’Hair has called for the federal government to intervene in what he, the Michigan Retired Judges’ Association, and numerous other organizations term a process deliberately designed to circumvent the USSC decisions on juvenile life without parole.

Former Wayne Co. Prosecutor and Circuit Court Judge John O'Hair.

Former Wayne Co. Prosecutor and Circuit Court Judge John O’Hair.

“With the average life expectancy of a juvenile serving life without parole at 50.6 years, 40 and 60-yr. sentences are virtual life sentences,” Hon. O’Hair wrote in a broadly published column. (See link below.)

Lillard said she would hear both Lewis’ and Newman’s contradictory motions Fri. Oct. 28 at 1:30 p.m., and rule on them. She did not say she would allow Lewis to argue his own motion.

As Judge Lillard did Sept. 6, she held a secret 15-minute conference with Newman and Williams prior to Lewis’ entrance into the courtroom, and once again made no official record with the court stenographer summarizing its substance.

Lewis told VOD in a call from the Wayne County Jail that another prisoner there with him, Robert Trombley, 70, has been incarcerated for 53 years since 1963. He said Trombley told him he was just sentenced to 40-60 years, meaning he is at the mercy of the parole board for seven more years.

Robert Trombley, 70, has been re-sentenced to 40-60 yrs. after serving 53 yrs. in prison.

SADO has featured six other juvenile lifers on its website, boasting that they got them re-sentenced to the same term. The Michigan Legislature has provided millions in funding for SADO to handle the juvenile lifer re-sentencings. SADO then said they would not challenge the state re-sentencing statutes.

But after the Miller ruling in 2012, Attorney Deborah LaBelle and the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union recruited pro bono attorneys for all of the state’s juvenile lifers. In a class action lawsuit brought by LaBelle and the ACLU, Hill v. Snyder, U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara ruled in 2013 that all Michigan juvenile lifers are subject to parole consideration after 10 years.

His ruling was upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and remanded for further adjustment. LaBelle told VOD the next hearing in his court in Ann Arbor will take place Nov. 3.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny rules Monday, Oct. 20, 2008 in Detroit, that he will release some sealed text messages by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty unless an appeals court intervenes by Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Judge Timothy Kenny

Lewis said that SADO has filed no motions for the juvenile lifers housed with him at Lakeland Correctional Facility to hire neuropsychiatrists, psychologists, crime scene re-constructionists,  and other specialists that would be needed to conduct legitimate Miller re-sentencings. It appears to be the case that SADO is taking state tax dollars to get prisoners to take plea deals. Those deals involve giving up any right to appeal, an admission of guilt even though the juvenile lifer may have a claim of innocence, and giving up all right to the use of “good time” credits.

Lewis’ previous attorneys, employed by Foley & Lardner, had actually begun interviewing his alibi witnesses from the band, who had never testified at his trials. LaBelle had retained Foley & Lardner for Lewis on a pro bono basis. But a new Foley & Lardner attorney, Felicia O’Connor, announced their withdrawal from the case later on. Assistant Prosecutor Jason Williams told the court at the time that Chief Criminal Judge Timothy Kenny was appointing attorneys from SADO to handle juvenile lifer cases in Wayne County.


Related documents:

Complete list of Wayne County Juvenile Lifers:

Charles Lewis’ motion for dismissal:

Chessman v. Teets, USSC 1957:

Hon. John O’Hair’s article:

Former Gov. William Milliken:

SADO’s list of re-sentenced juvenile lifers:

Related stories from mainstream media:

Recent stories from Voice of Detroit:

#FreeCharlesLewisNOW, #FreeMichiganJuvenileLifers, #SaveOurYouth, #FreeMichiganParolableLifers, #StopCourtCorruption, #PrisonNation, #PoliceState, #Beatbackthebullies, #Breakdownthewalls, #BlackLivesMatter

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Prison Tactical Team

Prison Tactical Team like this stormed into yard at Kinross after peaceful protest.

OCTOBER 9, 2016

Contact: Duncan Tarr, 313-409-8615,

KINCHELOE, MI – More than two weeks after prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility participated in a nationwide prison workers’ strike, the prisoners’ own accounts of what happened are beginning to emerge. Prisoners report that the facility was on lockdown from September 10 to the morning of September 22, preventing communication with their outside supporters.

Most prisoners, including kitchen staff, did not report for work on September 9 in conjunction with the nationwide work stoppage [in remembrance of the historic Attica rebellion in 1971.] The following morning, between 400 and 500 prisoners marched peacefully in the yard.

Slop for dinner at Kinross Prison

Slop for dinner at Kinross Prison

The deputy wardens came to the prisoners, who communicated their grievances, including low wages, the commutation process , restrictive visitation room seating in violation of MDOC policy, high phone rates, poor quality and quantity of food provided by private contractor Trinity Services Group, the way the yard is run, living conditions that squeeze eight men into a room intended for four, no re-entry programs, no bleach for clothes, MP3 players that break easily and cannot be fixed or replaced, not enough room in the law library, not enough room in the visiting room and so some visitors are turned away, and not being allowed to transfer to other facilities.

Prisoners also demanded no retaliation for their peaceful protest, and according to prisoners, the deputy wardens agreed to address the grievances or communicate them to the legislature if necessary. The prisoners thought they had come to a common agreement and began to disperse.

To their surprise, as soon as the deputy warden left, a tactical team stormed into the yard with guns, rifles, tear gas, and shields. The armed officers then started grabbing the men alleged to be instigators, handcuffed their arms behind their backs with zip ties, and threw the men to the ground in the yard. They were left for five to six hours in the rain, and were not permitted to use restrooms during that time, forcing some to soil themselves.

Kinross prisoners teargassed.

Kinross prisoners teargassed.

The violent assault of the armed officers triggered panic among the prisoners, who feared for their lives. Some reported being shot at directly with tear gas canisters. Others attempted to barricade their unit doors. Reportedly, fires were set in several units, at least one window was broken, and sinks and surveillance cameras were damaged after the officers began their assault. Media reports have focused on who was to blame for the damage to physical property, not the violence done to prisoners in violation of their human rights.

Evelyn Williams, a family member of a prisoner, said, “It’s a very racist facility, where they intimidate and harass prisoners on a daily basis. The men just wanted the broken policies to be fixed. They’re treated like animals, with no respect and no justice. They can’t even afford to buy soap on their wages.”

About 150 prisoners accused of being instigators were transferred to other facilities, where an unknown number were charged with inciting a riot and punished with isolation. Prisoners report that some punished had nothing to do with the protest. In violation of MDOC policy, guards destroyed the property of the accused prisoners and encouraged other prisoners to steal their personal food.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Prisoners, family members, former prisoners, and local organizers are available for interviews with local and national media.’



Some of more recent VOD stories related to prisoners’ struggles:


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“With the average life expectancy of a juvenile serving life without parole at 50.6 years, 40 and 60-yr. sentences are virtual life sentences”–John O’Hair

State statutes bar use of “good time” credits when re-sentencing juvenile lifers; many would be released immediately otherwise

SADO ignores Retired Judges Assn.,  former Wayne Co. Prosecutor O’Hair, others condemning state statutes; forges ahead with plea bargaining, not Miller mitigation hearings

Charles Lewis’ motion: “The defendant asks this court to be guided by the U.S. Supreme Court, because the proponent before this Court is not the defendant but the U.S. Constitution,” citing USSC Chessman v. Teets ruling on death penalty case where trial transcripts were corrupted

Lewis expected to be present in person at Oct. 11 hearing in front of Judge Lillard

By Diane Bukowski

October 7, 2016

Charles Lewis at 17, after unjust conviction

Lewis now: at 58: "I have grown old in prison."

Lewis now: at 58: “I have grown old in prison.”

DETROIT – As an October 11 hearing date for Charles Lewis approaches, it is becoming clear that the state of Michigan, county prosecutors, and many defense attorneys are conspiring to keep most of the state’s juvenile lifers locked up until they die.

This is despite two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Miller v. Alabama (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016), which declared juvenile life without parole unconstitutional, “cruel and unusual punishment,” to be applied only to the “rarest” of children.

Lewis, now 58, is one of 63 juvenile lifers that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy still wants to die in prison, the highest actual number of any county in the state. He has already served 41 years, on murder charges he has always maintained are false.

ohairboxLewis filed a motion with Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard to dismiss his case, due to multiple constitutional violations including the complete loss of any record of his conviction. He wants it to be heard at his Oct. 11 hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. in courtroom #502 of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

Judge Lillard said on the record at his last hearing Sept. 6 that she would “writ him out” to be present and to spend one hour meeting with attorney Valerie Newman prior to the hearing.

In Lewis’ motion, he says in part, “The United States Supreme Court said in Chessman that the proponent before the Court was the Constitution of the United States, not the petitioner. The defendant asks this court to be guided by the United States Supreme Court, because the proponent before this Court is not the defendant but the United States Constitution.”

In Chessman, the USSC vacated the conviction of a prisoner facing a death sentence because of the loss of the original transcripts of much of his trial. The stenographer died leaving hundreds of pages untranscribed. Chessman contended the transcripts produced by another stenographer were corrupted.(See link to ruling at end of story.)

Lewis says he is being held unlawfully without any sentence in violation of due process of law under the Sixth and Fourteen Amendments.

The U.S. Supreme Court specifically vacated his conviction and sentence after its Montgomery decision this year, which declared juvenile life without parole unconstitutional on a retroactive basis. It then remanded Lewis’ case, along with others, to the Michigan Supreme Court, which again vacated his sentence pending a hearing under the Miller decision.

However, Lewis says, such a hearing cannot be held without his case file. He cites part of the Miller decision as follows:

“Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark features–among them, immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences. . . .It neglects the circumstances of the homicide offense and the extent of his participation in the conduct . . . .Indeed, it ignores that he might have been charged convicted of a lesser offense if not for the incompetencies associated with youth.”

Even Michigan’s 2014 state statute regarding re-sentencing hearings, MCL 725.6, says that evidence from an individual’s trial may be produced on his behalf.


Witness Dennis Van Fleteren currently lives in outstate Michigan.

In Lewis’ case, six witnesses at the scene of the 1975 killing of off-duty police officer Gerald Swypitowski, including SwAypitowski’s partner Dennis Van Fleteren, testified for the prosecutor that the shots that killed Swypitowski came from a white Lincoln Mark IV.

Van Fleteren copied its license plate number and the driver, Leslie Nathanial, was arrested, but inexplicably later released after denying his involvement. A co-worker told VOD that Nathanial was  a bookie at the plant where they worked.

The witnesses also said they saw no other vehicles or individuals in the area at the time of the killing, despite contradictory testimony from three minors police had evidently recruited, who claimed they and Lewis drove a yellow Ford Gran Torino to rob Swypitowski.

On cross-exam, Lewis’ defense attorney was able to pin down the first group of witnesses’ testimony more firmly by quoting from reports that they gave police after the killing, which indicated they did indeed hear a gunshot and saw a shotgun blast coming out of the Mark IV.

The defense attorney also got the medical examiner to refute police claims that Swypitowski was shot from a distance of two feet, instead indicating that he could have been shot from as far away as seven feet, consistent with the first witnesses’ testimony that it was a drive-by shooting.  (VOD has reviewed a copy of the first transcript of this trial that was retained by a Lewis relative.)

Chuck Morgan told VOD earlier that Charles Lewis was with him and his band "Pure Pleasure" at the UAW Local 212 hall at the time of the alleged crime.

Alibi witness Chuck Morgan told VOD  that Charles Lewis was with him and his band “Pure Pleasure” at the UAW Local 212 hall at the time of the alleged crime.

In violation of state law, the only record of Lewis’ case is a file folder kept by Judge Lillard with scattered documents inside.  VOD obtained a copy of the motion from Lillard’s office and unsuccessfully attempted to get it properly recorded with the County Clerk’s Criminal Division.

Lewis says he cannot file his motions with that Clerk’s office because they have no file on him, despite the fact that they maintain a falsified Register of Actions on his case, listing only events from his alleged conviction in 2000 to the present. Lewis was actually convicted in 1977 and had multiple post-conviction and appeal hearings after that, none of which are in his record. See a full copy of his motion at

VOD has contacted Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett and scheduled a meeting with her regarding such gross abuse of criminal court records in this and other cases. It is the County Clerk’s responsibility to oversee and ensure the safety and veracity of court files, not the individual judge’s.

Judge Qiana Lillard was removed from trial by Chief Criminal Judge Timothy Kenny due to alleged bias.

Judge Qiana Lillard was removed from trial by Chief Criminal Judge Timothy Kenny due to alleged bias.

In Judge Lillard’s case, her objectivity has been questioned before. Wayne County Criminal Court Chief Judge Timothy Kenny removed her earlier from the Theodore Wafer case after defense attorneys contended she had been a prosecutor and maintained close ties with Prosecutor Kym Worthy and others in her office through Facebook contacts and other means.

Wafer was later convicted by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway of second-degree murder in the case of Detroiter Renisha McBride, 19, who he shot to death on his front porch without cause after unlocking and opening a solid door.

Lillard’s staff denied she is a niece of Kym Worthy, as several individuals have alleged, but she would not come to the phone to deny it herself.

SADO attorney Valerie Newman is in charge of its juvenile lifer re-sentencing unit.

SADO attorney Valerie Newman is in charge of its juvenile lifer re-sentencing unit.

Valerie Newman of the State Appellate Defenders’ Office (SADO) earlier refused to file a motion to dismiss Lewis’ case, instead plea bargaining for a 40-60 year sentence, as SADO appears to be doing for the majority of its juvenile lifer clients. This is despite the fact that state statutes regarding juvenile lifer re-sentencing specifically exclude the use of a prisoner’s “good time” credits, which could let many go free immediately.

Dawn Van Hoek, SADO’s director, has once again not responded to VOD’s phone call and email regarding SADO’s stance in handling juvenile lifer re-sentencings.

Newman has also not addressed Lewis’ innocence claim, refusing to call “alibi witnesses” who never testified at his trial, a factor cited in a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals remand of his case. Such innocence claims are a prime issue in juvenile lifer cases, because many such individuals had no access to paid attorneys and were not familiar with legal processes.

Re-sentenced juvenile lifer John Hall

Re-sentenced juvenile lifer John Hall, 67

John Hall, 67, the juvenile lifer featured in a Detroit Free Press article on his re-sentencing (see link below), was forced to admit his guilt although it was questionable, forego all right to appeal, and apologize to the alleged victims, according to an informed source, in order to be re-sentenced to 40-60 years after already serving 50 years. Michigan’s Parole Board generally requires an admission of guilt before paroling prisoners as well.

“With the average life expectancy of a juvenile serving life without parole at 50.6 years, 40 and 60-year sentences are virtual life sentences,” former Wayne County Prosecutor and circuit judge John O’Hair said in an article published Sept. 22. (See box above).

O’Hair called for the federal government to step in to remedy Michigan’s position, which distinguishes it as a rogue state.  He noted that many county prosecutors have re-recommended life without parole for 100 percent of their juvenile lifers, relying heavily on statutes passed by the state legislature in 2014, unlike 38 other states which have banned JLWOP completely.

Former Wayne Co. Prosecutor and judge John O’Hair

“Our Legislature amended the juvenile sentencing statute to ostensibly follow Miller,” O’Hair wrote. “The statute retained the ability to impose a life without parole sentence and allowed the courts to impose a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years, and a maximum sentence of 60 years. With the average life expectancy of a juvenile serving life without parole at 50.6 years, 40 and 60-year sentences are virtual life sentences.”

Attorney Deborah LaBelle told VOD, “It is a terrible mistake for Michigan to keep going down this path, when that sentence is on its way out. Thirty-nine states have now abolished it for all youth or haven’t used it for anyone under 18.”

LaBelle’s federal case, Hill v. Snyder, is still being argued before U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara, who ruled in 2013 that all Michigan’s juvenile lifers are eligible for parole. The state appealed, but lost at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded the case to O’Meara. Human Rights Watch cited this case in an amicus brief filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2014.

“The United States is alone in the world in its widespread use of life-without-parole sentences for children, and these sentences are a direct consequence of its practice of prosecuting children as adults,” said Alba Morales, US criminal justice researcher at Human Rights Watch,” a release from Human Rights Watch said.

LaBelle said the next hearing on Hill v. Snyder will take place in O’Meara’s court in Ann Arbor on Nov. 3, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Retired Judge Peter E. Deegan/Photo Port Huron TimesHerald

Retired Judge Peter E. Deegan/Photo Port Huron TimesHerald

VOD spoke with Retired Judge Peter E. Deegan, Vice-President of the Michigan Retired Judges Association, who said O’Hair proposed the resolution they passed Sept. 22 at the State Bar Association of Michigan’s Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.

“Several of us felt very passionately about this issue,” Judge Deegan said.”As retired judges with the wisdom gained from years of experience, we are very careful to pick out issues that are relevant and will be beneficial to criminal justice in our courts. This was a desperately needed conversation with Miller when it first came down. We felt that our voices needed to be heard. The conversation is developing. Hopefully it will get to reflect where we should be now in America and how we should treat our youth.”

Judge Deegan read the resolution to VOD over the phone.

It says in part, “. . . . for almost a year the state of Michigan has employed a failed re-sentencing process, placing a heavy burden on the funds and human resources of state and local units of governments and often requiring victims’ families to revisit [painful past memories.]” It calls on Michigan to forego the resentencing process and replace it with a declaration of parole eligibility for all juvenile lifers, as 38 other states have done.

Former Michigan Gov. William Milliken, now 90.

Former Michigan Gov. William Milliken, now 90.

The full resolution is linked below this story. Judge Deegan has himself written passionate articles for the Port Huron Times-Herald on this matter, also linked below.

Former Michigan Gov. William Milliken also wrote an article denouncing juvenile life without parole sentences, linked below. He said in part that the following organizations have also passed anti-JLWOP resolutions: the American Probation and Parole Association, American Correctional Association, National Association of Counties, National PTA, American Bar Association, American Psychological Association, Boys Scouts of America, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, General Synod of the United Church in Christ, Jesuit Conference, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Union for Reform Judaism, United Methodist Church General Board

Michigan Parole Board chair Michael C. Eagen

Michigan Parole Board chair Michael C. Eagen

VOD asked Holly Kramer, the press representative for Michigan’s Parole Board,  about the board’s stance regarding re-sentenced juvenile lifers.

VOD asked in part whether the board has received training in the Miller and Montgomery cases, met to establish specialized procedures for these individuals, or plans to expedite their hearings.

VOD also asked, “Is anything being done to speed up programming for release of these offenders while in prison so their parole is not delayed, considering they have been serving sentences that have been declared unconstitutional on a retroactive basis? Some of these juvenile lifers are in fact innocent, due to their financial inability to retain their own attorneys, their lack of knowledge of the judicial system, and to other factors. Will declarations of innocence be held against them by the parole board?”

Although these questions were emailed two days ago, Kramer stated there were technical difficulties in received repeated copies. She gave the following statement on behalf of the parole board, which skirts the issues involved entirely.

“The Parole Board has significant experience in reviewing a wide variety of cases, including those of youthful offenders that were sentenced to long indeterminate sentences.  While some of these juvenile lifer offenders might be newly eligible for parole, the types of cases are not new to the board in terms of handling them.”

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler

Apparently the real answer to VOD’s questions is that newly sentenced juvenile lifers would not be treated differently than anyone else.

That is not good news for them, since many prisoners experience repeated “flops” from the parole board. Since its conversion from a civil service entity to a board appointed by the governor under former Michigan Governor John Engler, the parole board has released fewer and fewer prisoners every year. Many are serving time far beyond their earliest release date.

S0-called “parolable lifers,” such as John Alexander used to be paroled beginning after 10-15 years, but Engler’s appointed parole board head Stephen Marschke declared, “Life means life.” Alexander has now spent 35 years in prison and is awaiting his next parole hearing. A class action lawsuit filed for the parolable lifers earlier eventually petered out. A few such as Kenneth Foster-Bey have finally been released far beyond the times their judges expected them to serve, indicating the continuing recalcitrance of Michigan’s parole board.

plifers2In Alexander’s case, his sentencing Judge, Michael Sapala, said he expected Alexander to be released with evidence of rehabilitation after 10 years. But Alexander has been behind bars for 36 years, despite obtaining a doctoral degree in theology, teaching ant-recidivism classes to prisoners, accumulating numerous work-related certificates, and maintaining his long-time marriage, among other accomplishments.

FREE JUVENILE AND PAROLABLE LIFERS; FUND SCHOOLS NOT PRISONS!The Michigan Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending reported in 2013, “The proportion of paroles granted declined from 68% in 1990 to 48% in 2002. In 2010, it was 56%. At the end of 2010, a total of 9,322 prisoners were past their earliest release date. Nearly 1,200 people were required to “max out.”

Michigan’s current budget calls for over $2 billion to be spent on prisons. A report from the U.S. Department of Education said that from 1979 to 2013, Michigan increased spending on schools by 18%. During that same time period, the state increased spending on corrections by 219%.

Related:  (SADO report)  (Story on John Hall)

#FreeCharlesLewisNOW, #FreeMichiganJuvenileLifers, #SaveOurYouth, #FreeMichiganParolableLifers, #StopCourtCorruption, #PrisonNation, #PoliceState, #Beatbackthebullies,#Breakdownthewalls,#BlackLivesMatter

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Protesters against murders by cops block traffic on Woodward Avenue at Clairmount Sept. 24, 2016. They later released their balloons into the sky to remember their loved ones. Among others, they included Arnetta Grable, Mertilla Jones, and Kimberly Davis.

Rev. Jerome McCorry, who led the protest, halts cars. Many drivers honked their horns in support.

Rev. Jerome McCorry of Dayton, Ohio, who led the street protest, shouts encouragement. Many drivers honked their horns in support, even getting out of their cars to see what was happening.

Action marks revival of Detroit movement triggered by Lamar Grable’s 1996 murder by Eugene Brown, Vicki Yost

This is a fight we all better fight”–Pastor McCorry, Dayton, Ohio

By Diane Bukowski

October 2, 2016

VOD: before and since this Sept. 24 action, held in Detroit, cops have continued their deadly rampage across the U.S. Three brutal executions of Black men happened in California alone within two days during the past week. A man and two teens died in Taylor and Livonia, Michigan after police chases. Videos and links to those stories are below this one.

Group gathers after blocking traffic.

Group gathers after blocking traffic.

DETROIT – As the U.S. rises up against the genocidal slaughter of Blacks by police from Charlotte, S.C. to Columbus, Ohio, to Tulsa, Arizona, family members from Detroit, New York City, Dayton, Ohio, Kenosha, Illinois and elsewhere blocked Woodward Avenue for an hour Sept. 24 to demand justice for their loved ones’ deaths.

Drivers honked their horns in solidarity as the families chanted and released white balloons heavenward, with the names of Adaisha Miller, Terrance Kellom, Aiyana Jones, Lamar Grable, Kimoni “Kodak” Davis, Justus Howell, Malcolm Ferguson, John Collado and Emmet Till printed across them or displayed on t-shirts and signs.

Balloons fly skyward in memory of those murdered by police.

Balloons fly skyward in memory of those murdered by police.

“Only in policing can you kill a person one day, take a vacation, come back on restricted duty, get a raise and retire with a large pension,” Pastor Jerome McCorry of the Faith and Justice Social Alliance of Dayton, Ohio said. “All you did was kill somebody who didn’t look like you. The same madness is going on with mass incarceration.”

Pastor McCorry and P.O.S.T (Protect Our Stolen Treasures), headed by Yolanda McNair, based in Detroit, and members of the Original Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality led the militant action. They sponsored held a day-long conference at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Church on Woodward and Clairmount to solidify their ties with each other and reach out to others.

At an afternoon panel, family members told heart-wrenching stories.

Kevin Kellom, Pastor Jerome McCorry, and Yolanda McNair, leader of P.O.S.T., holding poster with her daughter Adaisha Miller's photo.

Kevin Kellom, Pastor Jerome McCorry, and Yolanda McNair, leader of P.O.S.T., holding poster with her daughter Adaisha Miller’s photo.

“Adaisha was my jewel,” said her mother Yolanda McNair. “She left a little six-year-old daughter. She loved kids, she loved life, and became a massage therapist. She was killed one day before her 25th birthday by Detroit cop Isaac Parrish III.”

Parrish claimed his gun, which he was carrying in a side holster while he danced with Adaisha during a party involving drinking went off accidentally July 8, 2012. The Detroit police covered up for him, smearing Adaisha’s name. He was never charged, not even with reckless endangerment. He was not tested for alcohol or drugs.

“I have a tattoo to remember Adaisha, and my grandkids come up and kiss it,” McNair said. “Her death did not just affect me, it affected everyone who loved her. She deserved to get old, fall in love, and have kids. Now, I’m proud to be the leader of this group. I’m going to fight not just for Adaisha but for everybody. If it happened to us, it can happen to you.”

Arnetta Grable comforts Kevin Kellom as he speaks during panel.

Arnetta Grable comforts Kevin Kellom as he speaks during panel.

Kevin Kellom, who attended the event with his wife Yvette Johnson, remembered the Detroit and federal police execution of his son Kevin Kellom, 18, on April 27, 2015.

“I called him Tee-Tee,” Kellom said. “I always told him, when you bring kids into the world, you have to take care of them. He had a warrant out, but I told the police,‘ I will bring him in the day after his daughter is born.’ ”

Terrance Kellom

Terrance Kellom, Facebook

Kevin Kellom with grandbabies Terranae Kellom, Terrance Kellom.

The day they killed him, four I.C.E. agents, two DEA agents, and three Detroit police came to my door. I wouldn’t let them in without a warrant, but they snatched the door out of my hand. I heard them upstairs telling Tee-Tee, ‘Freeze or I’ll blow your brains out.’

“Then they brought him downstairs, two cops in front and two in back. His hands were in his pockets, but then he put his arms out to me, calling ‘Dad.’ They shot him eight times, then one put his foot on his shoulder and one kicked him, and another turned him over, and shot him again.”

Police claimed Kellom threatened them with a hammer, but Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said during a press conference announcing that no charges against the cops would be brought, that no fingerprints were found on the hammer.

Kimberly Davis with son Kimoni "Kodak" Davis. FB page.

Kimberly Davis with son Kimoni “Kodak” Davis. FB page.

Kellom broke down, blaming himself for not raising his son better, but Aaron Grable, brother of Lamar Grable, told him, “It ain’t about what you didn’t do, it’s about what they did. I was the bad kid in my family, and Lamar was the good kid, but they killed him anyway.”

Kimberly Davis, mother of Kimoni “Kodak” Davis, said he was killed during a car chase in a speed trap set up by Hanging Rock, Ohio police, who said he was going 11 miles over the speed limit as he was coming back home on an Ohio highway. His 17-year-old friend Airshawn Warren of W. Virginia also died. White Hanging Rock cop David Caruso, who had participated in four such other chases, drove the lead car.

State Highway Patrol photographs of the freeway embankment Davis drove up on before flying over three lanes and crashing in a gulley show tracks from two sets of cars, indicating that police may have followed and pushed his car over the road.

Two sets of tire tracks going up embankment where Davis car went airborne.

Two sets of tire tracks going up embankment where Davis car went airborne. The one on the left appears to be veering toward one on the right. OHP photo.

“He made me a grandmother at the age of 14,” Davis said. “Now his baby is the only part of him I have left. He had just called me to say, ‘Ma, I’m on my way home, don’t worry about me.’ Instead he went home to Our Lord because he was a brown face in southern Ohio. My son lived one day, and he died in my arms in a hospital in West Virginia. He was not even recognizable. His grandson tells me how much he misses his father. It’s not a good feeling to know they are killing us. Many cops are half-crazy. They don’t tell on each other, but then they get mad because we don’t snitch in the hood.”

Aaron Grable, brother of Lamar Grable, speaks at conference Sept. 24, 2016.

Aaron Grable, brother of Lamar Grable, speaks at conference Sept. 24, 2016.

Arnetta Grable, Sr. recalled, “I remember like yesterday the first time I set eyes on my first baby Lamar, and I remember like yesterday the last time I saw him, dead in the hospital with 50 police cars outside. Cop Eugene Brown claimed Lamar shot him, and they told me Brown was ‘clinging to life’ at the same hospital. It was all lies. Brown and Vicki Yost were chasing a stocky, dark-skinned man who was 5’6.” My son was 6’3,” light-skinned with red hair, and he only weighed 120 lbs. Brown just decided to execute him after he turned him over and realized his mistake.”

As explained in the previous story on the 20th anniversary commemoration of Lamar’s death, the truth came out during a civil trial, “Lamar’s day in court,” that his mother fought seven years to bring about. It resulted in the U.S. Department of Justice intervention into the Detroit Police Department on consent decrees lasting over 10 years.

“They tried to get my mother to settle for $1 million,” Aaron Grable said. “But I told her, ‘You can’t miss what you never had.’”

Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, killer cop Joseph Weekley, Aiyana Jones

Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, killer cop Joseph Weekley, Aiyana Jones

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, 7 when she was viciously shot to death in the head with an AK-47 by Detroit cop Joseph Weekley, leading a military-style assault team on May 16, 2010, also spoke. Her family has gone through unspeakable harassment, frame-ups, and torture since they lost their beautiful little girl.

Jones was sleeping on a living-room couch with her favorite grandchild when police broke in. They had no search warrant for the family’s home, only for an upper flat above their address. Detroit cop Joseph Weekley went free after several mistrials deliberately caused by Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway in league with the prosecution and defense. He is now back on the force. His brother Nate Weekley was recently disciplined for posting on Facebook that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group.

Mertilla Jones speaks Sept. 24, 2016 about DPD murder of her granddaughter Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010.

Mertilla Jones speaks Sept. 24, 2016 about DPD murder of her granddaughter Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010.

“I saw the light go out of her eyes,” Jones said. “Aiyana was born July 20, 2002 and put in my arms by her maternal grandmother July 21, 2002. I speak for Mertilla Jones, and I speak for Aiyana Jones. They said my family were gang members, but we are survivors of police murder and torture. They locked up Aiyana’s father, my son Charles, for 40-60 years, and every man in my family with the name Jones. I raised six Black men, and have over 30 grandbabies, most of them boys. I am fighting for all of us. I am here to support all these families.”

Latoya Howell, mother of Justus Howell, 17.

LaToya Howell of Kenosha, Illinois, said that when she was told her 17-year-old son Justus Howell had been shot to death by police, “I left this planet. My soul left out of my body. We are the ones that go to the ends of the earth for our children, we teach them everything. You are not going to lie on my baby, he didn’t have a gun. They showed the world the tape. You thought you could take my baby’s life, but it will not be without a fight. If just a fraction of people that have the ears and soul that you all have would join forces, we can stop these killings.”

News reports said Howell had been shot twice in the back by Kenosha police as he ran from them, in early April 2015. Protests followed. At one held in Zion, Ill. People carried signs declaring “Blood on their badges,” “Stand up 4 Justus,” “Black Power: Our children are the power,” “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “Black Lives Matter,” according to the Kenosha News.

March in Zion, Illinois to demand justice for Justus Howell

March in Zion, Illinois to demand justice for Justus Howell; Photo Kenosha News

Ericka Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Emmett Till, lynched in the South in 1955, attended the conference with her mother, both wearing T-Shirts commemorating the 14-year-old child and his mother Mamie Mobley, who insisted on an open casket funeral to show the world how vicious racists had savaged her child’s face and body.

Ericka Gordon-Taylor remembers Emmett Till.

Ericka Gordon-Taylor remembers Emmett Till.

They had just returned from the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History, which featured the first display of that casket. Till was exhumed in 2005, and could not be re-buried in the same casket.

“That casket symbolizes that all of our families and loved ones are still being slaughtered, 61 years later,” Gordon-Taylor said. “We still see the stain of Emmett Till’s blood on the fabric of America.”

Also in attendance were Joshua Lopez of New York City, whose uncle John Collado was murdered by an undercover cop in 2011 as he sought to break up what he thought was a neighborhood fight, but instead was the cop beating another man. Lopez has been very active since, traveling across the country to numerous rallies.

Joshua Lopez center during march for his uncle John Collado in New York City.

Joshua Lopez (center in red cap) during march for his uncle John Collado in NYC.

He was joined by Juanita Young of New York City, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was shot and killed March 1, 2000 in the Bronx, by plainclothes officer Louis Rivera. Like the family of Lamar Grable, she fought in court for years and in June 2007 a jury awarded her $10.5 million for the killing of her son, which was later reduced on appeal.  She and her family have been subjected to constant police raids and brutality since that time, like the family of Mertilla Jones. Young leads the organizing of national events like the one in Detroit Sept. 24.

Members of Dayton, Ohio BLM group at conference.

Members of Dayton, Ohio BLM group at conference.

Pastor McCorry summed up the conference in tears, saying, “This is my family. 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.”

Family members gather at end of conference.

Family members gather at end of conference. They had just been awarded posters declaring solidarity between African-Americans and the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Videos and stories on recent killings by police across the U.S. and Michigan.







Suspect Fatally Shot By State Police Following High-Speed Chase In Wayne County


BELOW: VOD stories related to families at Sept. 24 conference (many had multiple stories, but only one is cited for sake of space. To see others, put the victim’s name in the VOD search engine at upper right.) (to this day, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has not named or charged the white Dearborn cop who killed Kevin Matthews just before last Christmas),

To read listing of Detroiters killed by police since 1992, click on





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Sky banner flown Sept. 21, 2016 in honor of Lamar Grable, 20, allegedly murdered by Detroit cops Eugene Brown and Vicki Yost Sept. 21, 1996 /Photo by Ven

2Oth Anniversary of LAMAR GRABLE

 20th ANNIVERSARY of LAMAR GRABLE’S MURDER on FIELD@KERCHEVAL 9/21/96: Lamar’s father Herman Vallery (r) interviewed by Fox 2 News, with (seated l to r) Keka Harris and daughter, Mertilla Jones (grandmother of Aiyana Jones), Juanita Young (NYC); (standing l to r) Joshua Lopez (NYC), Lamar’s brother Aaron Grable on bullhorn,  mother Arnetta Grable, Cornell Squires, State Rep. Bettie Cook-Scott

Lamar Grable’s family, friends remember 20-year-old man, allegedly executed 20 yrs. ago by Detroit cops Eugene Brown, Vicki Yost, still on the loose 

Brown also killed Rodrick Carrington, Jr., Darren Miller, wounded 9 more; Brown convicted by own testimony at civil trial, Lamar’s “day in court”

Lamar’s legacy: founding of  Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and summer of 2000: uprisings against police killings in Detroit

By Diane Bukowski

September 26, 2016

Lamar Grable at his father's home.

Lamar Grable at his father’s home.

DETROIT– Dozens turned out at a vacant lot on Field on Detroit’s east side Sept. 21, where Lamar Grable, youth entrepreneur, musician and activist, took his last breath at the age of 20, gunned down by three-time killer cop Eugene Brown aided by his partner Vicki Yost in 1996 as he returned home from a church social.

Eugene Brown, a three-time killer cop, was never charged or fired despite recommendations made in an internal Detroit police study known as the “Shoulders Report.” He has since retired.

Vicki Yost was rewarded with a series of DPD promotions, then left to become Inkster’s police chief. She left that department after the near-fatal beating of Detroit autoworker Floyd Dent by Inkster cop William “Robocop” Melendez, a long-time DPD veteran who committed murder and mayhem throughout southwest Detroit. The vicious beating of Dent, caught on police dashcam video, created a national scandal. Melendez was sentenced to 1-10 years, but the Michigan Department of Corrections independently commuted that to a short stay in boot camp.

Arnetta Grable is interviewed by Detroit’s Channel 7 News Sept. 21, 2016.

“There were tons of witnesses to how they killed my son,” Arnetta Grable, who had rushed to the scene immediately, said. “Youths in the neighborhood said Vicki Yost ran up on him first from behind and fired multiple shots. Lamar said, ‘I’ve been shot, don’t shoot me anymore,’ but then Brown came up on him from the front, knelt over him and flipped him over and said ‘Oh, shit’ because he realized Lamar was not the guy they were chasing. People watching from their windows in the apartment building next to the field said Brown than shot him three times in the chest. Dr. Werner Spitz called it an ‘execution’ during the civil trial.”

Grable said Lamar was a talented, activist young man with no criminal involvement. He spent the last seven years of his life living with his father Herman Vallery at a house close to where he was killed.

Grable cousin Ven.

Grable cousin Ven.

“He was very artistic, he would draw cartoons and portraits,” Grable said. “He played the violin, keyboards and flute. He went to Cass Technical High School. He was the kind of kid that liked to help people. He started Y.E.S., the Young Entrepreneur System, to teach youth how to start their own businesses. He opened up a photography studio, and he was a youth recruiter for the NAACP.”

Throughout the memorial, Grable cousin Ven barbecued free refreshments for everyone at the event and for the community at large. He also took long-range photographs featured in this story with his camera.

Vicki Yost

Vicki Yost

Eugene Brown

Eugene Brown

Brown and Yost claimed Grable had a gun and struggled with Brown, shooting him twice in his bullet-proof vest. Yost, who testified at the civil trial of Brown, admitted to taking the gun HOME with her overnight before turning it in. At that trial, experts testified that bullet-holes in Brown’s vest did not confirm any such struggle, instead that Brown had fired them himself.

World renowned forensic pathologist Werner Spitz testified that Brown “executed” Grable as he lay on the ground, shooting him in the chest.

A jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million seven years after the suit was filed due to constant court delays. It was upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court later, largely because Brown admitted, “I MAY have shot him three times in the chest while he was on the ground.”

Lamar Grable’s family and supporters gather after jury verdict against Brown. Included to right are attorneys David Robinson, Melissa El, and Rosie and Wendy Lewis, mother and sister of juvenile lifer Charles Lewis.

During the intervening years, Arnetta Grable and her family spearheaded the founding of “Parents Against Police Brutality,” later re-named the “Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality,” on Sept. 22, 1997. she said. The Coalition grew at a rapid pace after a public hearing on police killings in Detroit in front of Detroit City Council in 1998, where dozens more stepped forward to talk about killings, brutality and frame-ups by Detroit police. In 2000, this reporter broke the Brown killings story, headlined “Serial Killer Kops” in the Michigan Citizen.

UAW members turned out for massive rally against Detroit police killings, along with DCAPB, motorcycle clubs supporting Darren "Krunch" Miller, and deaf community supporting Errol Shaw, Sr.

UAW members turned out for massive rally against Detroit police killings, along with DCAPB, motorcycle clubs supporting Darren “Krunch” Miller, and deaf community supporting Errol Shaw, Sr.

David Ashenfelter, Suzette Hackney and Joe Swickard of the Detroit Free Press followed up, eventually revealing that Detroit had the highest rate of police killings in the country as of 2000. (See link below story.)

Massive protests followed as cops continued to kill that year, including cop David Krupinski’s killing of a deaf man with a rake, Errol Shaw, and the police slaughter of autoworker Dwight Turner as he stood on his porch shooting at a dangerous dog. The community demanded that Police Chief Benny Napoleon and then Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer resign. Napoleon was ousted from office later, and Archer declined to run again in 2001, after the massive Cincinnati rebellion against the police murder of Timothy Thomas, 19, and dozens of other Black men.

Deaf community joined with DCAPB to protest David Krupinski's killing of Errol Shaw, Sr. in 2000.

Deaf community joined with DCAPB to protest David Krupinski’s killing of Errol Shaw, Sr. in 2000.

Arnetta Grable said she went to meet then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in Washington, D.C., camping out in her office lobby overnight, pajamas and all, until she agreed to see her. The U.S. Justice Department finally came to Detroit and imposed two “consent agreements” on the Detroit Police Department to address use of force and deaths in prison jails. They also required the DPD to install dashcam videos on police cars. Later, it was revealed that only 15 percent of the videocameras were operational, as police went on killing.

With Cornell Squires (center) leading, the DCAPB protested his beating and the frame-ups of his son and cousins, along with other brutality on the southwest side,

With Cornell Squires (center) leading, the DCAPB protested his beating and the frame-ups of his son and cousins, along with other brutality on the southwest side.

The Grables and the DCAPB continued mobilizing, holding weekly meetings and frequent protests.

But the broad publicity about police killings ceased, as the mainstream media assumed the DOJ would bring about a change. It did not happen.

The DPD kept on killing and brutalizing residents. One of the cases involved was that of Cornell Squires, brutally beaten by Detroit cop Robert Feld. When he protested to the Police Commission, Squires’ son and cousins were framed up, and his son was falsely convicted and imprisoned. The children of Arnetta Grable were also targeted by police, with her other son facing constant harassment and eventual false imprisonment.

Protester Harris points to lengthy list of police killings of Detroiters displayed at Lamar's memorial Sept. 21, 2016.

Protester Keka Harris points to lengthy list of police killings of Detroiters displayed at Lamar’s memorial Sept. 21, 2016. After Aiyana Jones’ death in 2010, she organized a broad neighborhood march of mothers against violence on the east side.

A partial listing of police killings of Detroiters from 1992 to 2016 was displayed on a poster at the memorial, compiled from stories collected from the Michigan Citizen and the Voice of Detroit. NO DETROIT COP HAS EVER BEEN CHARGED OR JAILED BY WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY FOR MURDER. 

Even Joseph Weekley, who killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones in a vicious made-for-TV military-style raid of her home May 16, 2010, was indicted on involuntary manslaughter and firearms charges by a “grand jury” composed of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny, chief of the court’s criminal division.

To read seven-page list of killings of Detroiters by police, go to

Protesters released balloons in memory of Lamar and others killed by police.

Protesters released balloons in memory of Lamar and others killed by police. Photo by Ven

At the conclusion of the memorial, protesters gathered in prayer, then released white, red and black balloons into the skies to remember Lamar and condemn officer Eugene Brown and other killer cops.

The idea for the sky banner for Lamar Grable was inspired by that flown by the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee on the first-year anniversary of her death, on May 16, 2011. The company Traffic Displays (contact #616-225-8865 and ask for Cynthia or Jason) made and flew both banners.

Group remembers Lamar Grable and all victims of police violence in prayer Sept. 21, 2016. Photo by Ven

Group remembers Lamar Grable and all victims of police violence in prayer Sept. 21, 2016. Photo by Ven

The Grable banner was flown over the site of his murder, then over Eugene Brown’s house near Mack and Burns, then to downtown Detroit over the Frank Murphy Hall. Aiyana’s banner was flown over the house where she was killed on Lillibridge near Mack, then downtown over police headquarters.

Justice for Aiyana Jones banner flies over her east-side Detroit neighborhood May 16, 2011.

Justice for Aiyana Jones banner flies over her east-side Detroit neighborhood May 16, 2011.

Michigan Citizen stories by Diane Bukowski on Eugene Brown:

Detroit Free Press articles on Detroit police in 2000:

Related from VOD: stories cited below on cases listed in “Detroiters killed by police from 1992-2016” are only a sampling of VOD’s coverage. To see more, put the names of those killed or framed by police into our search engine.

#JailKillerCops, #JusticeforLamarGrableRodrickCarringtonDarrenMiller, #Justice4AiyanaJones, #Justice4TerranceKellom, #Justice4KevinMatthews, #Justice4JanetWilson, #FreeCharlesLewis#ExonerateDavontaeSanford, BringDownPrisonNationPoliceState, #DownwithKymWorthy

Family members of people murdered by Eugene Brown, as well as his injured victims, gathered outside Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office to demand that Brown be charged after his civil trial and release of the "Shoulders Report." Worthy refused.

Family members of people murdered by Eugene Brown, as well as his injured victims, gathered outside Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office to demand that Brown be charged after his civil trial and release of the “Shoulders Report.” Worthy refused.

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Some of Michigan’s juvenile lifers: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis, Raymond Carp, Dakotah Eliason, Henry Hill, Keith Maxey, Dontez Tillman, Charles Lewis, Jemal Tipton, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley, 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).

Some of Michigan’s juvenile lifers: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis EL* *Raymond Carp, Dakotah Eliason, Henry Hill, Keith Maxey,* Dontez Tillman,* Charles Lewis, Jemal Tipton, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley, 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). Note: the prisoners with * by their names are members of the Thumb Correctional Facility G.O.A.L.S. program.

The U.S. is the ONLY country in the world that sentences children to die in prison

Michigan has the second highest number of juvenile lifers per capita among states in U.S.

Michigan one of only 4 states to oppose retroactivity of Miller until 2016

Cortez Davis-EL

Cortez Davis-EL

By Cortez Davis-EL

September 26, 2016

When the U.S. Supreme Court made its 2012 decision banning mandatory life without parole for juvenile offenders (Miller v. Alabama), more than 300 Michigan prisoners began to feel as if they were getting a second chance to right their wrongs. Four years later, they are still clinging to the hope of being free to repair that which they have broken, the trust of society.

Throughout the country, prosecutors were fighting tooth and nail trying to prevent the highest court in the land’s decision from applying to those whose cases were already finalized. When that fight proved to be unsuccessful, they began to regurgitate the false political talking points from the mid-1980’s. They tried to re-ignite the fears of those that were victims of crime- infested communities, induced when the alarm was falsely sounded about an infestation of juvenile “super-predators,” leading to the harsh treatment of children.

Superscapegoated: "Teen predator" hysteria set stage for draconian legislation.

Superscapegoated: “Teen predator” hysteria set stage for racially-targeted draconian legislation.

Now that it has been shown that there were no super-predator children, the citizens demand to repeal the way children are treated and punished, starting with those that have been locked away for decades. The citizens, families of victims, and former state officials are on record saying they want to see this change occur. They want the men and women that fell short as children to show their redemption as adults. Society is ready and willing to give these people a second chance, so why hasn’t it been given? Those who were elected by the people have chosen not to hear the people.

They are still full of fear. Their fear comes in two stages. The first stage of fear is caused by uncertainty. They look at recidivism statistics for those that go to prison with 15 years and less and equate that to those who were told they would die in prison. While some sentenced to 15 years or less may leave prison the same way they arrived, the recidivism rate for those who have spent decades in prison, particularly for assaultive crimes, is very low.

For those prosecutors that have a real concern about the rehabilitation of a juvenile lifer that has been locked away twenty plus years, we commend you for protecting society. We watch the news and we are horrified at what we see. We don’t want just anybody living next to the people that we love and all we ask is that you look at who we are today and not what we were twenty years ago.

Juveniles sentenced to death are not the same people they were as children.

Juveniles sentenced to death in prison are not the same people they were as children.

Understand that the changes we’ve made didn’t start once the U.S. Supreme Court made the 2012 decision (Miller v. Alabama) nor once they made the 2016 decision (Montgomery v. Louisiana). We saw the need for change long before the possiblity of freedom existed for us. We want to contribute to society’s growth, not its destruction. We don’t want just anyone living next to our loved ones and we know society feels the same way about all that they love and vowed to protect. We no longer threaten the community. So instead of fearing our release, help us become successful upon release by advocating for the tools that are needed.

To the citizens of Michigan, we understand that we violated your trust. We understand that there is still pain and sorrow in your families and communities due to our actions. On behalf of myself and all the juvenile offenders that I have walked and talked with over the past twenty-two years, I am truly sorry for all of the pain and unrest that our actions caused. We truly ask for your forgiveness and blessings. We ask that you release your fears and welcome us back into your communities and allow us to help repair what we tore down and truly give.

There are many juvenile lifers that have already started trying to contribute to society while still incarcerated. A few of them are housed at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, where Cortez Davis EL, Jose Burgos, Keith Maxey of Wayne County and Dontez Tillman of Oakland County are members of the G.O.A.L.S. Program, where we share our stories with at risk youth that are brought in by various agencies.

Jose Burgos

Jose Burgos

We are no longer mindless juveniles. The same people that are let out of prison and are successful are the same people that we grew up learning from, who give us a chance to succeed. Currently, Cortez Davis volunteers as a mentor with the G.O.A.L.S. Program at the Thumb Correctional Facility, and speaks to at risk youths brought into the facility by various agencies from various counties. With all that has been said about Mr. Davis, is there any penological justification for not releasing him and accepting him back into society? Would you give him a chance?

What does rehabilitation look like? Does it resemble Jose Burgos, a juvenile lifer whose time in prison expands over two and a half decades? Like Cortez, Mr. Burgos has also undergone rehabilitative transformation and no longer has a child-like mentality. Jose Burgos has obtained his GED and is educated in various fields that would be a benefit to the community that he calls home.

Mr. Burgos is also a mentor with the G.O.A.L.S. Program at the Thumb Correctional Facility, deterring other juveniles from becoming him by making the same choices that he made at their age. Jose Burgos is also a healer in his own right. He works as a prisoner observation aid (POA) talking to and preventing mentally disturbed prisoners from committing suicide that are placed on suicide watch. Is Jose Burgos someone that you would oppose giving a second chance to? Does rehabilitation look like Jose Burgos?

Ryan Kendrick

Ryan Kendrick

Terrance Thomas

T. Thomas

Paul Young

Paul Young

Jeremy Youngerbeam

J. Youngerbeam



What about Paul Young, Terrance Thomas, Jeremy Longerbeam, and Ryan Kendrick? All juvenile lifers housed at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer.

These four individuals have been incarcerated for decades and continue to prove their readiness to rejoin society. These men have all obtained their GED’s and strive for other academic opportunities that do not come easy for lifers of any age. They collectively sought out ways to give back to society, and gain knowledge that will guide us to live successfully. Michigan does not treat lifers and non- lifers alike when it comes to education. Lifers have to create avenues to take classes and participate in educational programs. We have to strive hard for every inch that is obtained.

“Our day-to-day role at Stiggy’s Dogs is often that of teacher. We teach our inmate handlers how to train our dogs, our dogs how to assist our handlers, and our veterans how to work with their new partner. However, every day spent instructing others has handed us our own lessons in return. If there’s anything that we’ve learned from our STaR Cadet program at Thumb Correctional Facility, it’s how incredible things can happen when a dedicated group of people work together for a common cause.”–Stiggy’s Dogs

One chance came when they successfully persuaded the prison administration to allow Stiggy’s Dogs, a non-profit dog rescue organization, to establish a behavior training and rehabilitation site at the Thumb Correctional Facility. This organization, with the help of these individuals, transforms battered, abandoned, and abused dogs into service dogs and pets for veterans living with PTSD and other traumatic brain injuries and elders that need companionship.

Are the men in this article a reflection of what rehabilitation looks like? Do you still fear these men and others like them, or are you simply still mad at them? If you believe in the rehabilitation system and that people are sent to prison for rehabilitation, when will you accept that the system works?

Families of juvenile lifers as well as some victims, known as "Second Chance," joined together at Michigan State Legislature to demand an end to JLWOP.

Families of juvenile lifers as well as some victims, known as “Second Chance,” joined together at Michigan State Legislature to demand an end to JLWOP.

VOD: Cortez Davis-EL is now 33, and was sentenced to juvenile life without parole in 1994, only after a Michigan Appeals Court overturned the original sentence of 10-14 years handed out by Judge Vera Massey-Jones. He has now served 22 years.

Judge Vera Massey-Jones in 1990.

Judge Vera Massey-Jones

Pros. Kym Worthy

Prosecutor  Kym Worthy

After the Miller decision, Judge Massey-Jones set a date to re-sentence him according to the Miller rules, but Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed her action. Mr. Davis-El has now served far longer than the time intended by his original judge, who called JLWOP “unconstitutional” long before the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on JLWOP. Judge Massey-Jones, who is now retired after a long, illustrious career, said in 2012:

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

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#FreeMichiganJuvenileLifersNOW,  #FreeCortezDavisNOW, #FreeCharlesLewisNOW, #SaveOurChildren, #PrisonNation, #MassIncarceration, #SchooltoPrisonPipeline, #Breakdownthewalls, #Beatbackthebullies, #Blacklivesmatter, #BlacklivesmatterDetroit, #Blackkidslivesmatter,  #StopWaronourYouth, #Michissippigoddam


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Mourners at Tyre King funeral Sept. 24, 2016

Mourners at Tyre King funeral Sept. 24, 2016

the-rootTyre a “small-framed adolescent boy, standing 5’0” and weighing less than 100 lbs.,” who suffered gunshot wounds to his left temple, one to his left collarbone and one to his left flank.

kirsten-west-savaliBy: Kirsten West Savali  

September 21, 2016

Tyre King, the 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by Columbus, Ohio, police last week, was “more likely than not” running away at the time he was killed.

According to an autopsy performed by Dr. Francisco Diaz, an independent medical examiner retained by Tyre’s family, “Based on the location and the direction of the wound paths, it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds.”

Tyre King, 13

Tyre King, 13

Diaz described Tyre as a “small-framed adolescent boy, standing 5’0” and weighing less than 100 lbs.,” who suffered gunshot wounds to his left temple, one to his left collarbone and one to his left flank.

The results from the local coroner’s office won’t be available for at least six weeks.

As previously reported by The Root, Tyre was shot and killed by Police Officer Bryan Mason on Sept. 14.

Mason, a nine-year veteran on the force, was responding to reports of an armed robbery—in the amount of $10—and a group of teenagers were the alleged suspects. Mason claimed that as he approached, Tyre pulled a BB gun from his waistband that looked like a real firearm, so he opened fire.

Columbus cop Brian Mason had killed before in 2012.

Columbus cop Brian Mason had killed before in 2012.

Attorneys for Tyre’s family released the following statement:

“Dr. Diaz determined that Tyre King suffered three gunshot wounds with entrance paths on the left side of his body, any of which could be determined to have been the cause of death. Tyre suffered a gunshot wound of entrance on the left temple that passed left to right and slightly downward and exited through the right temple. The entrance wound was above the left ear and the exit wound was in front of the right ear. Tyre also suffered a gunshot wound to the left collarbone area. Lastly, he suffered a gunshot wound to the left flank. There is an exit wound on the right flank.

Dr. Diaz notes: “Based on the location and the direction of the wound paths it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds.” Dr. Diaz describes Tyre as a “small-framed adolescent boy, standing 5’0” and weighing less than 100 lbs.”

Based on this new information and as more facts emerge, the family asks for the public to continue to withhold final judgment until all the facts are known and vetted. The Columbus Police Department, the City of Columbus and most importantly Tyre King and his family deserve the benefit of an investigation from a law enforcement agency that has no direct impact from the outcome of that investigation.

The family continues to request a full, thorough and independent investigation by an outside law enforcement agency and are requesting that the Columbus Police Department and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office remove themselves from any involvement in the investigation.

Memorial for Tyre King, 13

Memorial for Tyre King, 13

Tyre’s autopsy results were released as news about the police shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla., and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., is still developing.

Kirsten West Savali is a cultural critic and an associate editor at The Root. She was named to Ebony magazine’s 2015 “Power 100” list and awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship. Her provocative commentary explores the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter.

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Charlotte protests continue, with plans to blockade Sunday's Panthers game.

Charlotte protests continue, with plans to blockade Sunday’s Panthers game.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Keith Lamont Scott with mother Vernita Walker.

VOD UPDATE 3: Charlotte police have released partial videos of the killing of Keith Lamont Scott, (see below) which raise more questions, particularly since they are clearly edited. 

Why does the cop in the first segment ask someone to go to his car trunk to get his “bag,” then clarify that saying, his “gun,” after Scott is already dead on the ground and handcuffed? The video then clearly shows a cop handing an object to another and something being tossed on the ground.

Charlotte police reported that a “forensic examination shows Scott’s DNA and fingerprints on the loaded gun retrieved from the scene and that Scott was wearing an ankle holster” according to the AP.  It is clear from Mrs. Rakeyiah Scott’s cell phone video below this one that the cops spent a long time maneuvering over Scott’s handcuffed body, giving them plenty of time to put the gun in his hand.

Regarding that cell phone video, the following comment was made on the VOD Facebook page:

Patty Rowell Does anyone else besides me see the officer standing closest to the right of Scott drop something on the ground next to Scott after he is shot during the video? Watch closely. The officer on left is kneeling over victim. The video moves to left and no view of victim. As soon as it goes back with victim and officers in view, the officer standing immediately right of victim drops what appears to be a dark object on the ground.

Rakeyia Scott with her husband of 20 years, Keith Lamont Scott.

Rakeyia Scott with her husband of 20 years, Keith Lamont Scott.

UPDATE SEPT. 23, 2016–Rakeyia Scott, wife of Keith Lamont Scott, has released her heart-rending cell phone video of the moments before police shot and killed her husband, the father of seven, in which she tells them, “He has a TMI (Traumatic Brain Injury).” She talks to him, telling him to get out of his car, but the police do not ask her to intercede in whatever situation was happening. Instead they shoot her husband of 20 years to death in front of her eyes. She tells them, “He better not be dead.”

Protests continue for two days after Charlotte police kill Black father Keith Lamont Scott

Justin Carr shot to death, protesters say by police rubber bullet, nine injured, 44 arrested during uprisings

Eyewitness disputes police report that Scott had a gun; family says he was waiting for his son’s school bus while reading a book.

Police let family see video, will not release it to public 

 Scott the sixth man killed by police in Charlotte-Mecklenberg area this year; Justin Carr makes it the seventh

(VOD: Updated Sept. 23 with inserts from other sources, photos, videos)reuters-logo

September 22, 2016

By Daniel Wallis, Scott Malone

CHARLOTTE, N.C. [One Black protester, Justin Carr, was shot to death in the head,] at least nine people were injured and 44 people were arrested during a second night of violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, the city’s police chief said on Thursday, following the fatal police shooting of a [Black father of seven, Keith Lamont Scott.]

[During Wednesday night’s demonstrations, a protester was shot in the head in what the police described as a “civilian on civilian” episode. But some protesters accused the police of opening fire. Early Thursday evening, just about the time a crowd was gathering, the police announced that the man had died earlier in the day and that the department had begun a homicide investigation.

Keith Lamont Scott at right, from family's GoFundMe page

Keith Lamont Scott at right, from family’s GoFundMe page

The police identified the victim as Justin Carr, 26, without elaborating further on his death.–New York Times]

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang grenades to disperse demonstrators who looted stores and threw rocks, bottles and fireworks.


(GoFundMe Page for Keith L. Scott at,)

Officials initially said Carr was shot by a civilian, but on Thursday Putney acknowledged some claims he was shot by a law enforcement officer.

“We’re here to seek the truth, so we’re investigating that to find the truth, the absolute truth as best as the evidence can show us,” Putney said.

Four police officers suffered non-life threatening injuries, city officials said.

Justin Carr being carried to the hospital, where he later died. Getty Images

Justin Carr being carried to the hospital, where he later died. Getty Images

The latest trouble erupted after a peaceful rally earlier in the evening by protesters who reject the official account of how Keith Scott, 43, was gunned down by a black police officer in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon.

Justin Carr, killed during protests against police murder of Keith Lamont Scott

Justin Carr, killed during protests against police murder of Keith Lamont Scott

The killing was the latest in a long series of controversial fatal police shootings of black men across the United States, sparking more than two years of protests asserting racial bias and excessive force by police and giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Scott’s killing marked the 214th incident of a black person by police this year, according to Mapping Police Violence, an anti-police violence group created out of the protest movement. There is no national-level government data on police shootings.

(VOD: Go to, which lists 844 killings nationally this year as of Sept. 21  with the killings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Scott and Carr in Charlotte making it 847.)

Authorities say Scott was wielding a handgun and was shot after refusing commands to drop it. His family and a witness say he was holding a book, not a firearm, when he was killed.

[Scott’s grieving relatives watched videos on Thursday of the fatal shooting, a wrenching experience that they said revealed no hint of aggression in him and left the family members convinced that the videos should be made public. But the city’s police chief, who had arranged for the private viewing, held fast to his decision not to release the recordings.

Scott’s wife Rakeyia Scott and other relatives of the dead man, Keith L. Scott, watched his killing from two angles, recorded Tuesday by police dashboard and body cameras, and “it was incredibly difficult,” a family lawyer, Justin Bamberg, said in a statement.

Family members of Keith Lamont Scott gather outside the Mecklenberg courthouse. Photo: The Independent.

Family members of Keith Lamont Scott gather outside the Mecklenberg courthouse. Photo: The Independent.

When told by police to exit his vehicle, Mr. Scott did so in a very calm, nonaggressive manner,” Mr. Bamberg said. “While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time.” When an officer opened fire, he added, “Mr. Scott’s hands were by his side, and he was slowly walking backwards.”

On Thursday night, hundreds of people gathered at an intersection in central Charlotte, holding signs and chanting, “We want the tapes!” in a peaceful demonstration. New York Times]

Related Coverage

A spokesman for the Charlotte Fraternal Order of Police told CNN on Thursday he had seen video from the scene showing Scott holding a gun.

“It is important that we have a full and transparent investigation of the original incident,” Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told a press conference.

The pleas appeared to go largely unheeded. Overnight, protesters smashed windows and glass doors at a downtown Hyatt hotel and punched two employees, the hotel’s manager told Reuters. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on windows.

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Looters were seen smashing windows and grabbing items from a convenience store as well as a shop that sells athletic wear for the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets. Protesters also set fire to trash cans.

“We had a lot of looting at a lot of businesses,” Putney said, adding that state police and National Guard troops would help to secure the area on Thursday.

The people arrested faced such charges as assault, breaking and entering and failure to disperse, he said.

It was the second night of unrest in North Carolina’s largest city, one of the biggest U.S. financial centers. Sixteen police officers and several protesters had been injured on Tuesday night and in the early hours of Wednesday.

Related Coverage

Bank of America headquarters, Charlotte, N.C.

Bank of America headquarters, Charlotte, N.C.

Bank of America Corp, which is headquartered in Charlotte, and Wells Fargo & Co, which has a large office there, told employees not to report to work at uptown offices.

The American Civil Liberties Union has called on the police in Charlotte to release camera footage of the incident. Authorities have said the officer who shot Scott, Brentley Vinson, was in plainclothes and not wearing a body camera. But according to officials, video was recorded by other officers and by cameras mounted on patrol cars.

Todd Walther, the Charlotte Fraternal Order of Police official, said the plainclothes officers were wearing vests marked “police” and that he saw them do nothing wrong. Releasing the video would satisfy some people, but not everyone, he added, and people will have to wait for the investigation to conclude.

“The clear facts will come out and the truth will come out. It’s unfortunate to say that we have to be patient, but that’s the way it’s going to have to be,” Walter said.Mayor Roberts said she planned to view the footage on Thursday, but did not indicate if or when it would be made public.

Rage in Charlotte.

Rage in Charlotte.

The killing of Scott came just days after a fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was recorded on video. Protesters have held peaceful rallies demanding the arrest of the female officer involved [who has since turned herself in to face manslaughter charges.]

William Barber, president of North Carolina’s chapter of the NAACP, called for the “full release of all facts available,” and said NAACP officials planned to meet with city officials and members of Scott’s family on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Dan Freed in New York and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Daniel Wallis and Scott Malone; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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Video shows Tulsa man had hands up before police shooting

Helicopter cops called him a “big, bad dude” from above

Police chief: “There was no gun”

Twin sister demands charges

September 20, 2016

Terence Crutcher and family/Family photo

Terence Crutcher (center) and family/Family photo

TULSA, Okla. — An unarmed black man killed by a white Oklahoma officer who was responding to a stalled vehicle can be seen in police video walking away from officers and toward his SUV with his hands up before he approaches the driver’s side door, where he drops to the ground after being shocked with a stun gun then fatally shot.

In Tulsa police helicopter footage that was among several clips released Monday showing the shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher and its aftermath, a man in the helicopter that arrives above the scene as Crutcher walks to the vehicle can be heard saying “time for a Taser.” He then says: “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.”

Cop Betty Shelby (l) shot Crutcher to death; Cop Tyler Turnbough tasered him first.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan announced before the video and audio recordings’ release that Crutcher had no weapon on him or in his SUV when he was shot Friday. It’s not clear from the footage what led Betty Shelby, the officer who fired the fatal shot, to draw her gun or what orders officers might have given Crutcher. Local and federal investigations are underway to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in the shooting or if Crutcher’s civil rights were violated.

Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, called for charges Monday.

“The big bad dude was my twin brother. That big bad dude was a father,” she said. “That big bad dude was a son. That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College, just wanting to make us proud. That big bad dude loved God. That big bad dude was at church singing with all of his flaws, every week. That big bad dude, that’s who he was.”

Police video shows Crutcher walking toward his SUV that is stopped in the middle of the road. His hands are up and a female officer is following him. As Crutcher approaches the driver’s side of the SUV, three male officers walk up and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle. The officers surround him, making it harder to see his actions from the dashboard camera’s angle.

Terence Crutcher walks toward his car with his hands up, followed by cops.

Terence Crutcher walks toward his car with his hands up, followed by cops.

Crutcher can be seen dropping to the ground. Someone on the police radio says, “I think he may have just been tasered.” One of the officers near Crutcher backs up slightly.

Then almost immediately, someone can be heard yelling, “Shots fired!” Crutcher’s head then drops, leaving him completely lying out in the street.

After that, someone on the police radio can be heard saying, “Shots fired. We have one suspect down.”

Officer Tyler Turnbough, who’s also white, used a stun gun on Crutcher, police said.

The shooting comes just four months after former Tulsa County volunteer deputy Robert Bates was sentenced to four years in prison on a second-degree manslaughter conviction in the 2015 death of an unarmed black man. Shelby worked as a Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy for four years before joining the Tulsa Police Department in December 2011, officials said. She has been placed on paid leave.

Shot from police helicopter video shows Crutcher at door of his car just before being killed.

Shot from police helicopter video shows Crutcher at door of his car just before being killed.

The initial moments of Crutcher’s encounter with police are not shown in the footage. Shelby did not activate her patrol car’s dashcam, said police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie, and the ground-level video released Monday came from the car of a second officer who arrived at the scene.

© The Associated Press In this image made from a Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 police video, Terence Crutcher, top, is pursued by police officers as he walk to an SUV in Tulsa, Okla. Crutcher was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead after… Initial police briefings indicated Crutcher was not obeying officers’ commands, but MacKenzie said Monday she didn’t know what Crutcher was doing that prompted police to shoot. Two 911 calls described an SUV that had been abandoned in the middle of the road. One unidentified caller said the driver was acting strangely, adding, “I think he’s smoking something.”

After the shooting, Crutcher could be seen lying on the side of the road, blood pooling around his body, for nearly two minutes before anyone checked on him. When asked why police did not provide immediate assistance once Crutcher was down, MacKenzie said, “I don’t know that we have protocol on how to render aid to people.”

Protesters gather in Tulsa.

Protesters gather in Tulsa.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which also called for charges, said Crutcher was left to bleed while officers stood by. The group’s executive director, Ryan Kiesel, said Crutcher’s death shows “how little regard” Tulsa police have for the community’s minorities.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the county courthouse Monday evening holding signs that read, “Justice 4 Crutch” and “Don’t Shoot.”

With relations between police and blacks in Tulsa already uneasy, the community needs to be the place where change happens, Tiffany Crutcher said.

“This is bigger than us right here. We’re going to stop it right here,” she said.

U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said the Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the shooting will be separate from a local one into whether criminal charges should be filed.

“The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of force by law enforcement officers and will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated,” he said.

Speaking Monday in Tulsa, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Crutcher committed no crime and gave officers no reason to shoot him.

“When unarmed people of color break down on the side of the road, we’re not treated as citizens needing help. We’re treated as, I guess, criminals — suspects that they fear,” said Crump, who is representing Crutcher’s family just as he did relatives of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, black Florida teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012.

He said Tulsa police drew their own conclusions about Crutcher.

“So I guess it’s a crime now to be a big black man,” Crump said. “My God, help us.”

Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.


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