Former Detroit Police Sgt. James Harris, left, is shown taking $50,000 from undercover FBI agent Mike Castro, in exchange for protecting an international shipment of  100 kg. of cocaine. Castro was was posing as a drug dealer  Harris was later convicted and spent 20 years in federal prison. (FBI photo)

Rimmer-Bey: I refused to sell drugs for Harris, knew that he would set me up or kill me 

Account confirmed by many from his east-side neighborhood in the 1970’s, including man who refused Harris’ demand to testify against Rimmer-Bey 

Michigan Supreme Court overturned co-defendant Timothy Jordan’s conviction in 1982; Timothy Kenny, WCC Court Chief Judge, was trial AP

 Harris convicted in 1992 for using Detroit cops to protect wholesale cocaine suppliers, given 30 yrs.; Pres. G.W. Bush commuted sentence after 20 yrs.

 While part of S.T.R.E.S.S., Harris participated in “Rochester Street Massacre” where Deputy Sheriff killed; charged with murder, other counts 

Why is Harris not on Wayne Co. Prosecutor’s Brady list?

By Diane Bukowski 

Aug. 3, 2020 

Ricky Rimmer as youth, with nephew./Family photo

DETROIT—“[James] Harris was a dirty cop. He wanted me to sell drugs in the neighborhood for him and I refused . . . I knew that he would set me up or kill me. He did both when he put me in here for the rest of my life!”

Ricky Rimmer-Bey, now 66, used these words in a letter to his attorney, dated Feb. 12, 2020, to explain why he is claiming actual innocence and seeking his freedom after 44 years of incarceration.

He was convicted of first-degree felony murder in 1976, when he was 22, for the death of a car salesman on Detroit’s east side.

The officer-in-charge of his case was DPD Sgt. James Harris (shown above) who was himself convicted in 1992 for using police officers and cars to protect drug dealers bringing international shipments of cocaine to Detroit.

His mother Mrs. Lovie Rimmer told VOD July 30 that Harris took advantage of her hospitality before arresting her son in their home at 9170 Holcomb in 1975, dining on steak dinners she cooked for nine days straight. She said he told her he was trying to protect her son, not get him sentenced to prison for life.  She said Harris arrested Rimmer-Bey without explanation after the dinners, threatening to kill him, as she watched.

Ricky Rimmer-Bey in cover photo from “My Measure.”

Mrs. Rimmer said she had seven children, with Ricky being the youngest of her sons. Rimmer-Bey recounted the days of his childhood in a short autobiography, “My Measure,” published in pamphlet form.

He said the family first lived on Meldrum Street, in the Black Bottom community, then moved to a two-family flat at Montclair at East Jefferson in the 1960’s, with both parents working to support the household.

He recounted traumatic incidents that happened in those years, including watching a man commit suicide by lying down on railroad tracks, and later watching a drug dealer severely beat a man with a baseball bat.

He said neighborhood children never received counseling from Detroit Public Schools social workers for those and other traumatic incidents they experienced.


William H. Messenger, Sr. lived in Rimmer-Bey’s neighborhood on Knodell in the 1970’s. In a sworn affidavit, he said Harris tried to get him to testify falsely against Rimmer-Bey during his preliminary exam, but he refused.

“Ricky was arrested on an armed robbery murder charge that no one in our neighborhood believed he did,” he said in a sworn affidavit, adding that another man was likely guilty of the crime.

DPD Sgt. James Harris at HQ,

“In 1975, Detective Harris, who was the head of Squad Seven homicide division, was routinely assigned to patrol our community,” Messenger continued. “It was known to everyone that he was a corrupt dirty cop. He had a reputation for getting street guys to say they saw or heard about someone committing a murder or robbery—people who had nothing to do with the crime. . .

“I personally told Detective Harris when he stopped me on the streets, and again in the witness room at the Frank Murphy Hall, that Ricky had nothing to do with this crime. His response was, ‘I want Rimmer.’”

Messenger called Harris a “corrupt, dangerous criminal,” and a “destroyer of life of those he was sworn to protect and serve.”

He said that even though Harris later ended up in prison himself, “he still left many victims in his wake, like Mr. Ricky Rimmer.”

Rimmer-Bey’s story is being brought to light now after Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s release of a “Giglio-Brady” list on July 16. It named 35 law enforcement officers who had been convicted “for offenses involving theft, dishonesty, fraud, false statement, bias and bribery . . .crimes that can be considered by fact finders in a trial when credibility is being assessed,” according to a release.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Rimmer-Bey’s story is being brought to light now after Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s release of a “Giglio-Brady” list on July 16. It named 35 law enforcement officers who had been convicted “for offenses involving theft, dishonesty, fraud, false statement, bias and bribery . . .crimes that can be considered by fact finders in a trial when credibility is being assessed,” according to a release.

In her release, Worthy said she would publish an updated list this September, and quarterly thereafter.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has begun asking judges to throw out nearly 800 convictions that she said were tainted by officers linked to a corruption scandal, according to an AP report Oct. 5, 2019.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s review found 790 criminal cases handled by 25 city officers whom she says she has reason to distrust,” says the article.

“Mosby updated the number of officers being scrutinized on Friday, saying it could fluctuate as her office investigates.

“Eight members of the Gun Trace Task Force were convicted of racketeering crimes and sentenced to prison. Many of the other 17 officers cited by Mosby’s office were named in testimony during the federal trial, though not necessarily charged with crimes. Mosby’s office hasn’t disclosed all of their names because of ongoing federal investigations.”


The New York City Citizen Complaint Review Board compiled a list of 3,996 officers with 12,056 complaints, at least one of which had been substantiated for each officer. Although the list, released to the American Civil Liberties Union, is currently under court review pending a hearing Aug. 18, ProPublica has published it.

The record of  former DPD Sgt. James Harris, the chief investigating officer in Rimmer-Bey’s case includes convictions for a number of the offenses outlined by Worthy. It was noted in VOD’s earlier story,  “Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy Must Go; Vote for Victoria Burton-Harris.”

VOD emailed Worthy’s office Aug. 3 asking whether Harris’ name would be included in its updated list in September, but has not received a response to date.




DPD Sgt. James Harris

In a broadly publicized FBI sting in 1992, known as “Operation Backbone,” Harris was arrested at Detroit City Airport for conspiracy to protect a shipment of 100 kg. of cocaine coming in from Miami. Ten other officers and civilians including Willie Volsan were arrested and charged as well.

Harris, Volsan and three others were convicted. Harris was sentenced to 30 years in prison, 20 of which he served before former U.S. President George W. Bush commuted his sentence.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn the convictions in 1994 (45 F.3d 431 (6th Cir. 1994) Dec. 29, 1994).

Willie Volsan sentenced to 15 years.

The court said there was sufficient proof that Volsan and Harris “supplied [FBI agent Mike] Castro with police escorts in at least five instances. On each occasion, Agent Castro and another agent, purporting to carry “drug money” to banks in the Detroit area for laundering purposes, would be accompanied by Detroit police officers. On each occasion, Agent Castro arranged to pay each police officer $3,000. . .

“Eventually, defendants Volsan and Harris also arranged to provide police escorts for Castro’s drug shipments. In exchange for protecting each 100 kg. cocaine shipment, the participants would split $50,000 among themselves.”

Volsan got 15 years in prison as a result of the sting, and the others got lesser sentences. U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Hackett, who sentenced them, said “The only thing James Harris regretted was getting caught.’

See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/James-Harris-Ex-Cop-Gets-30-Year-Term-Freep.pdf.



In 1972, Harris was a member of DPD’s notorious S.T.R.E.S.S. (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) unit, which killed 22 unarmed civilians, most of them Black, during its existence. Detroiters rose up in a massive movement that eventually got Detroit’s first Black Mayor Coleman Young elected on promises to disband S.T.R.E.S.S.

Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan charged Harris and  two other S.T.R.E.S.S. cops with assault with with murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, and felony firearm with intent to commit murder, during what came to be known as the “Rochester Street Massacre.”

Martin, Harris led raid. 

Wayne Co. Dep. Sheriff Henry Henderson, killed in Rochester St. Massacre.

Harris and four other DPD S.T.R.E.S.S. officers conducted a midnight raid on a Rochester Street  apartment on March 9, 1972, after seeing a sheriff’s deputy enter the building with his weapon. (Deputies are required to carry their weapons while off-duty.)

They  shot and killed Wayne County deputy sheriff Henry Henderson,  shot and permanently injured deputy sheriff James Jankins, and shot and beat Deputy Henry Duvall.

Duvall was working undercover for an FBI narcotics unit at the time, according to an account given by Robert Ankeny, a retired FBI agent. See Ankony’s detailed account at:


The surviving individuals said the S.T.R.E.S.S. cops began firing without warning, and even continued after the sheriffs showed their badges and identified themselves as law enforcement officers. One DPD officer who arrived on the scene as back-up tried to stop the S.T.R.E.S.S. cops after recognizing Duvall, who was being held by Martin with a semi-automatic at his head. Even then, the sheriffs said, the beatings continued.

Although the S.T.R.E.S.S. cops were later found not guilty, the incident should have been revealed to Harris’ defense attorneys during his trial, particularly because of Duvall’s affiliation with the FBI narcotics unit.

Rochester Street Massacre


Recorders’ Court Judge Henry Heading.

AP Timothy Kenny later became Chief Judge of Wayne Co. Circuit Court.

Ricky Rimmer-Bey and his co-defendant Timothy Jordan were charged, tried and convicted on Feb. 11, 1976 for the robbery/ murder of Delta Motor Sales car lot dealer Joseph Kratz on Aug. 7, 1975. The car lot was located at 17711 Van Dyke between East Davison and E. Nevada in Detroit.

The Assistant Prosecutor assigned to the case was Timothy Kenny, now Chief Judge for the Wayne Co. Third Judicial Circuit Court. Kenny worked as an AP for 20 years prior to becoming a Recorder’s Court Judge in 1996, and later was elected to the Wayne County Third Judicial Circuit Court.

AP account of murder of Joseph Kratz.

He became the chief trial attorney for the Prosecutor’s Office during his tenure there, working side by with current Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who joined the prosecutor’s office in 1984. He became a Recorder’s Court judge in 1996, and later a Wayne County Third Judicial Circuit Judge.

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Rimmer-Bey’s felony murder conviction, but vacated the armed robbery conviction on June 21, 1978. The Michigan Supreme Court denied appeal on January 30, 1985. Rimmer-Bey subsequently filed a habeas appeal which was heard in the U.S. District Court.

“The district court initially granted the petition, finding that Rimmer-Bey’s constitutional rights were violated by the state trial court’s erroneous evidentiary ruling,” the Sixth Circuit Court said in its later ruling.

“Subsequently, Dale Foltz, the respondent in this case [Warden of the prison where Rimmer-Bey was being held], filed a motion to alter or amend the order granting habeas relief. The district court granted the motion and vacated the prior grant of tentative habeas relief. The court held that the Michigan trial court’s evidentiary ruling, although a violation of Rimmer-Bey’s due process rights, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A Sixth Circuit Court opinion on Rimmer-Bey’s federal habeas corpus appeal likewise denied relief, but did rule that Rimmer-Bey had been denied his constitutional right to confront an alleged accomplice witness, one of two named in the Court’s opinion. Neither was ever charged for the crime. A third alleged accomplice named in the opinion was killed a short time later, some claimed by police. A fourth alleged accomplice was also dead by the time of the trial.

“Rimmer-Bey claims that the trial court erroneously excluded from the jury’s consideration evidence that an accomplice witness had recanted his preliminary examination testimony which implicated Rimmer-Bey,” said the Sixth Circuit. It noted that the witness had indeed signed a sworn statement during the trial, recanting his previous testimony implicating Rimmer-Bey at the exam.

Trial transcripts show that the witness, called by co-defendant Jordan’s attorney, then told Judge Heading, outside the presence of the jury, that he was willing to testify truthfully at trial. He was sworn in and told Judge Heading that officers had told him falsely that the defendants killed his brother. He said, “Well at the time I had lost my brother and I was thinking revenge.” He told Heading that the first statement he gave to the police was false.

At that point, AP Kenny intervened and pointed out that the witness could face charges for giving false statements to the police and at the preliminary exam. The witness however persisted in declaring that he still wished to testify in open court. Judge Heading then asked the witness if he wanted an attorney to advise him of his rights.

The witness agreed, and Heading appointed defense Attorney Gerald Lorence to do so. After meeting with Lawrence, the witness told the Judge he wished to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify because it might incriminate him.

Atty. Warfield Moore Jr. later became Judge of Recorder’s and 3rd Judicial Circuit Courts.

At AP Kenny’s request and over the objection of both Rimmer-Bey’s defense attorney Warfield Moore, Jr., as well as the attorney for Jordan, Heading held that the witness not available, although he remained present in the witness room.

Heading then admitted the witness’ recanted testimony from the preliminary exam, which was read into the record in the presence of the jury. Despite the insistence of the defense attorneys that the jury had a right to hear that the witness had recanted his earlier testimony during his meeting with the judge, Judge Heading refused to allow the jury to hear about the recantation.

The Sixth Circuit ruling continued, “The basic right of confrontation, including the opportunity to test credibility of witnesses through cross-examination is what a fair trial is all about. Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308, 315-16 (1974). A trial court may not deny a defendant’s exploration of a witness’ bias, prejudice or motive for testifying. Id. See also, Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 681 (1986).

“We find here after a review of the record that the trial court’s evidentiary ruling constituted a deprivation of Rimmer-Bey’s constitutional rights. Rimmer-Bey was denied his right of confrontation, including the opportunity to evaluate Smith’s credibility.”

However, the 6th Circuit found that the denial was “reversible error,” stating that the testimony of another alleged accomplice witness along with that of a bystander witness was substantive enough to sustain the conviction.

But the trial transcripts show that the testimony of the second witness consisted mainly of denials that he had seen anything to implicate Rimmer-Bey or Jordan. Throughout his direct exam he denied that he had done or seen what AP Kenny told him was in his statement.

He failed to testify first of all that he saw the defendants with weapons on the days of the murder. AP Kenny told the Judge out of the presence of the jury that he was “taken by surprise” at the testimony, and wanted to show him his previous statements to impeach him as a hostile witness. Judge Heard then agreed to read an instruction to the jury that this was not to be termed “substantive evidence,” but only to allow them to assess the defendant’s credibility.

Kenny read the young man, who was 16 at the time of the murder, a statement he said the witness had given to Sgt. Harris, indicating that he saw the defendants shoot at the victim with their guns. The witness denied saying that he saw them shoot at or chase the victim.  He denied seeing Rimmer-Bey go out into the street to get money, allegedly from the robbery, and denied seeing the victim run out into the street.

“I didn’t see him shoot or chase him with a gun,” the witness said about Rimmer-Bey. He said he had told Harris that he did, but it was not true. He named another individual he said brought the guns to their car and took them afterwards. AP Kenny went round and round with him until he finally said he saw Rimmer-Bey with “some” money.

Later, the issue of who killed the third accomplice came up, and the witness said, “I heard the police killed him.” The deceased third accomplice was a brother to the first witness and a good friend of the 16-year-old. The 16-year-old testified on the record that police had told him the two defendants killed the third accomplice.

The witness testified that he had been charged in the case in juvenile court. Moore asked him, “You didn’t want to stand trial in this matter, so that’s part of the reason that you’re here to testify, is that right?” The witness responded “Yeah.”

The Sixth Circuit decided against Rimmer-Bey’s claim regarding the right to confront his witnesses, but under a new Michigan court rule, he still has the right to raise new evidence as well as the issue of his innocence in a motion for relief from judgment.

In September, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court revised Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D) to allow for the trial court to consider claims that have been decided against the defendant if s/he has some form of new evidence which could cause a different opinion. It also allows the court to waive “good cause” requirements for raising new evidence if “it concludes that there is a significant possibility that the defendant is innocent of the crime.”


The Michigan Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Rimmer-Bey’s co-defendant Timothy Jordan in tje case on June 30, 1982 and remanded it for a new trial.

“The trial court’s instruction that it had determined as a matter of law that the defendant’s confession was voluntarily given was reversible error,” the high court ruled.  “The question of the voluntariness of a confession is solely a matter for determination by the trial judge, not the jury. However, by informing the jury that he had found the confession to be voluntary, the trial judge deprived the defendant of his right to have the existence and credibility of the confession determined by the jury.”


This Free Press article, dated April 14, 1986,  describes songs done by Ricky Rimmer-Bey and others a cappella, as part of a banquet given by the newly-formed prison chapter of the NAACP.

Despite what he says is the theft of his whole life by James Harris, Rimmer-Bey has survived and fought back against the brutal conditions he has experienced, writing of them in his pamphlet autobiography, “The Measure.”

Rimmer-Bey joined the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1983 and was later elected Acting Assistant Grand Sheik under Bomecca Bey, then Acting Grand Sheik. This has given him a religious and political context for his many years of incarceration, he says.

As described in the article at left, he became part of the newly-formed prison chapter of the NAACP, singing spirituals affiliated with his new religious beliefs.

He also joined the National Lifers of America, which has thousands of chapters throughout the U.S. The NLA provides an opportunity for its members to organize together for better conditions, and to influence criminal justice policies, including death by incarceration, in mainstream forums.

In “My Measure,” his autobiography, Rimmer-Bey recounts his first meeting with the woman who became the love of his life, Torchisa Marchett Hall, while he was in Jackson Prison in 1986. A woman friend of a fellow prisoner gave Ms. Hall his information, and she came to visit him.

Ricky Rimmer-Bey and Torchisa Marchett Hall.

“She was stunning,” recalls Rimmer-Bey. “When she came through the gates, I gently took her hand and stated, ‘Are you my blessing from Allah’ and tried to kiss her on the cheek. She immediately pulled back, saying ‘NO, I’m your visitor.” I smiled and we went to our assigned seats. . . She stayed in my life on and off for 34 years, traveling from prison to prison to see about me. I will always love her for she is a beautiful spirit.”

He recounts how while he was enrolled in Jackson Community College in 1986-87, 23 credits short of obtaining his associate’s degree, he was criminally charged with the attempted murder of a corrections officer and transferred to the Ionia SuperMax prison at Level VI, reserved for the most dangerous prisoners in the MDOC. He was acquitted in Jackson County Circuit Court in 1988, but kept confined in “administrative segregation” (the hole) from 1987 to 1993.

In 1994, he says he was again falsely charged, this time in the death of another prisoner. He was transferred to various Level 5 prisons subsequently, despite the fact that an internal investigation had cleared him. He ended up back in the hole for another five years until 2010, when he was finally transferred to a level four facility.

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The video above was compiled by the International Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) in California. The international group gave Maryanne Godboldo its annual human rights award in 2012.


Global hero #MaryanneGodboldo held off tanks, police helicopters, and cops with assault guns to stop 13-yr-old daughter’s state kidnapping in 2011 

CPS sought to re-medicate child with dangerous drug Risperdal 

Two judges repeatedly dismissed all criminal charges v. mother, but Worthy appealed for 5 yrs. until mother suffered aneurysm, died 

Worthy opposed “Second Chance” changes in state juvenile sentencing laws shortly after she took office in 2004

Later opposed SCOTUS rulings banning mandatory juvenile LWOP, asked for renewed life terms for 60 defendants, continues to stall re-sentencings

By Diane Bukowski

 July 29, 2020

MARYANNE GODBOLDO  Jul 25, 1954 – Oct 11, 2017 Warrior Mother, global hero

The late Maryanne Godboldo posed with this photo of her daughter for the Michigan Chronicle.

 DETROIT – On May 24, 2011, Detroit mother Maryanne Godboldo barricaded herself and her daughter Ariana Godboldo-Hakim, 13, inside her home on Detroit’s impoverished west side, then held off tanks, police helicopters and cops with assault weapons for 10 hours.

Godboldo’s heroic stand against the illegal state seizure and forcible psychotropic medication of her child resonated around the world, making her a global leader in the battle for parental rights for five years.

But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has  a daughter about Ariana’s age, charged Godboldo with eight felonies for the stand-off.

She pursued the charges for five years, appealing five times despite the fact that Judges Ronald Giles of the 36th District Court, and Gregory Bill of the Wayne County Circuit Court each twice dismissed the charges. They said the seizure of Ariana was unconstitutional, and that the court order a Child Protective Services worker obtained to get police to take Ariana was illegal, because it was not signed by a judge. A probation officer working at Juvenile Court stamped Chief Judge Leslie Kim Smith’s name on it.

Worthy won an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court on her fifth try and reinstated the charges. On the eve of the court hearing on those charges, the warrior mother suffered a massive brain aneurysm and died six months later.

“Her blood pressure had been rising and this caused a brain vessel to burst, Godboldo’s attorney Allison Folmar-Givens said. “Five years of court hearings took their toll.”

Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim, aunt Penny Godboldo-Brooks, and Maryanne Godboldo are embraced by children who supported them and Ariana during rally outside Lincoln Juvenile Hall in Detroit.

The Voice of Detroit published multiple stories on the battle by Maryanne Godboldo and her family, which is broadly known in the community, for her freedom and for Ariana, who now lives with Godboldo’s sister Penny Godboldo-Brooks. (Stories are linked at the conclusion of this article.)

In the process, VOD broke two stories, about the lack of a judge’s signature on the petition to seize Ariana, and the ties that Hawthorne Hospital in Northville has with the pharmaceutical industry. Ariana was kept without her parents’ consent at Hawthorne Hospital for six weeks, during which she was forcibly medicated with multiple drugs including Risperdal, and otherwise severely abused and traumatized.

During the battle, the Godboldos’ 91-year-old mother Lovey Godboldo and Godboldo-Brooks’ husband of 37 years, Stephen Brooks, passed away.

The family sponsored dozens of rallies and forums through those years, at their home church Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, and in other venues.

Maryanne Godboldo speaks at 2011 rally shortly after her release from jail,  preparing to fight to release her daughter from state control.

Hundreds came out to the first rally at Hartford while Godboldo was still in the Wayne County Jail. They continued to pour out through the long years of the ordeal, rallying outside 36th District, Wayne County Circuit, and Juvenile Courts as Godboldo, Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim and sister battled CPS for custody of the child and the right to determine her medical care. They won stays in Juvenile Court of any further administration of Risperdal and other drugs, and finally overcame CPS in the custody battle, with the assistance of a dedicated team of lawyers that included Allison Folmar, Byron Pitts, and Roger Farinha.

Despite Godboldo’s broad support, Prosecutor Kym Worthy continued her relentless persecution of Godboldo and her daughter in the courts, even after Godboldo’s aneurysm in June, 2016. Worthy did not drop criminal charges against Godboldo until a court hearing in front of Giles in January, 2017. Giles dismissed the charges for a third time, ruling against the prosecution, after Godboldo’s attorneys said she could not defend herself.

“The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges today because it has been determined that Ms. Godboldo is not expected to gain competency to stand trial,” Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, said in a statement.

She later told VOD that if Godboldo did regain her mental competence, a determination would be made then whether to reinstate the charges, which were dismissed “without prejudice.”

Anastasia Worthy with mother as Kym Worthy is sworn in as Wayne County Prosecutor in 2004.

She said Worthy had no comment on whether her continued prosecution of Godboldo contributed to her brain injury. Worthy frequently employs “dismissal without prejudice” tactics, meaning she can bring the charges back later. She did so in the case of Davontae Sanford, and nearly all the  20 “exonerees” her office has taken credit for had their charges dismissed in similar fashion.

They frequently had to wait months before their actual release until Worthy determined whether she would ask for re-trials. They still live with the possibility that Worthy can re-instate the charges against them.

Godboldo and her family assisted many families in Michigan, the U.S., and globally in similar fights against. state-sponsored child kidnapping and the forced administration of psychotropic drugs.

Her family still holds an annual  Maryanne Godboldo Forum for Parental Rights. Godboldo received numerous awards, including one from the International Citizens Commission on Human Rights in 2012.

Maryanne Godboldo (center) greeted dancers who performed “Testify” at 2011 rally for her at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church; sister Penny Godboldo, at the time head of Marygrove College’s Dance Department, who choreographed the dance, at left. Both sisters, as well as Maryanne’s child Ariana, are trained dancers.

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Maryanne-Godboldo/178678602179610
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jstice4maryanne 



Bekeiba Holland: 150 Mich. Juvenile Lifers still not re-sentenced 8 yrs. after Miller v. Alabama (2012); time to remove Kym Worthy

Darrell Ewing with mother LaSonya Dodson.

Bekieba Holland spoke at a rally outside Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall July 2, called to support Darrell Ewing. Ewing has been in prison since 2010 for a murder that he and his family say he did not commit. Two judges at the state and federal levels have ordered a new trial in his case, because his trial jury was tainted by social media “research” about gangs. Another man has repeatedly confessed to the crime for which Ewing is doing time.

But Worthy continues to waste taxpayers’ money appealing,  just as she kept appealing the rulings of the two judges who dismissed charges against Maryanne Godboldo, leading eventually to Godboldo’s stress-related death.

Holland was convicted and sentenced as a juvenile lifer in 1991, and served more than two decades in prison before he was re-sentenced.

“We have over 150 juvenile lifers in Michigan who haven’t gone back for re-sentencing yet,” Holland told VOD. “What is the hold-up?  I had to wait three years before I could get resentenced.  Worthy tried to re-instate life on me, but since it wouldn’t stand, she came with a cop, 30 to 60, so I took the deal and I’m out. The high court said it’s unconstitutional to give a juvenile a mandatory life sentence, but she doesn’t want to abide by their ruling.”

Kym Worthy testifies against ending JLWOP at  2006 Michigan legislative hearing, with AP Robert Moran at her side. Photo: Diane Bukowski

In 2006, Worthy virulently opposed Michigan state legislation that would have ended  juvenile life without parole sentences, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Miller and Montgomery.

Flanked by top staff members (white males), she testified before the Michigan legislature against changes supported by hundreds of Second Chance families and even victims of juvenile lifers. A broad coalition of organizations brought together by the Michigan ACLU also supported the changes, which were eventually defeated.

Worthy went so far as to show legislators a security video of several Black youths beating a man to death in a Coney Island in Detroit, as if that typified the youth of Detroit.

See:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/JLWOP-HR-Second-Chances.pdf.

“Second Chance” families and supporters of juvenile lifers, even including victims, lobbied the Michigan legislature against JLWOP in 2006. Photo by Diane Bukowski

After the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory juvenile life without parole in Miller v. Alabama (2012), Worthy allied herself with former Atty. General Bill Schuette and insisted that Miller was not retroactive, but SCOTUS ruled in Montgomery that it was.

After that ruling, she filed motions to re-instate life with parole sentences for 41 percent of the County’s 144 juvenile lifers: 60 plus three on “conditional” terms. She said she would recommend terms of years for the remainder, but added that many would have recommendations higher than the minimum 25 years allowed under state statutes.

Wayne County has the highest number of children sent to die in the state, and second highest in the U.S., 93 PERCENT of juvenile lifers in Wayne County are Black.

William Garrison, shown in 2009 photo taken during prison visit.

Worthy continues to demonstrate complete callousness regarding juvenile lifers and others in the MDOC as the COVID-19 virus runs rampant through prison systems in Michigan and nationally.

On April 18, 2020, juvenile lifer William Garrison, who earlier was resentenced to a term of years and should have been released forthwith, died of COVID-19 in the Macomb Correctional Facility as he waited for Worthy’s office to register its formal approval of his release. A judge had ordered his release in March.

Garrison went to prison at the age of 16 in 1976, convicted of a murder during a robbery that went awry. He subsequently taught himself to read and write, studied the law, and became an advocate for other incarcerated persons.

See: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/04/18/, amichigan-prisons-coronavirus-infections-deaths-william-garrison/5156073002/,


(VOD was not able to reach Victoria Burton-Harris for comment on this article before press time, so it is publishing the following excerpts from the national The Appeal.)

In Detroit Prosecutor Race, a Stark Contrast on Whether Children Should Serve Life in Prison

“Victoria Burton-Harris . . . is campaigning on a promise to end juvenile life in prison. She told [The Appeal’s] Political Report that she views Worthy’s handling of juvenile lifers, and her repeated claims that she is reviewing the cases, as “cruel and callous.”

In a statement, Worthy told the Political Report that her office has held 95 resentencing hearings for juvenile lifers, and 64 of them have been released.

“My office has been working diligently to ensure that each and every juvenile murderer convicted in Wayne County receives an individualized sentencing hearing,” she said. “We can only go as quickly as the defense and the courts will allow.”

(VOD editor: Worthy’s characterization of all juvenile lifers as “murderers” is false. Charges that put them in prison range from first-degree murder to others including felony murder, which is  commission of crimes such as robbery that result in a death, not directly at the hands of the defendant. A 1980 Michigan Supreme Court ruling invalidated such sentences, but not retroactively — People v. Aaron 409 Mich. 672 (1980) 299 N.W.2d 304.   Many MDOC prisoners including juvenile lifers are still behind bars for felony murder.)

Attorney Victoria Burton-Harris with husband Atty. Robert Burton-Harris and son Langston. She says that she will end the school-to-prison pipeline in Wayne Co. if elected.

Worthy’s challenger, Burton-Harris, told the Political Report that, if she were elected prosecutor this year, she would upend the incumbent’s approach. “It is not acceptable, no longer an option, that we resentence to life,” she said.

She said she would make it a priority to bring relief to juvenile lifers and recommend that they be granted a new sentence that would allow for a release. “I’m committed to not just reviewing them but bringing them home,” she said. The only instance in which she would consider resentencing to life in prison is if a person has committed new murders in prison while an adult.

Moreover, she said she would also revisit old resentencing cases and in instances where Worthy’s office objected or opposed, she would instruct her prosecutors to change the office’s position.

“It would be a written policy,” she said. “All cases that have been previously decided need to be reopened and reviewed.”

If she were at the helm of the DA’s office, her prosecutors would never seek life without the possibility of parole sentences against minors in future cases.

“THERE IS NOTHING A CHILD CAN DO TO JUSTIFY DEATH BY INCARCERATION!” she told the Political Report in an email. “We are not the worst thing we’ve ever done, and people age out of crime. Prosecutors have a responsibility to protect our children, ALL children. All people have value.”

She says she looks forward to advocating for a state law that rules out life without the possibility of parole sentences for children, as 23 states and the District of Columbia have already done.

Explore our coverage of 2020 prosecutorial elections throughout the country

(VOD: The Appeal has covered prosecutorial elections nationwide, as many young candidates emerge, committed to goals that would end mass incarceration.)


From Victoria Burton-Harris for Prosecutor campaign literature:

We will treat kids like kids and work to address the school-to-prison pipeline. People grow and change- especially our children. Children’s brains continue developing until around the age of 25 and research supports that they change in dramatic ways– even those convicted of the worst crimes. Children should not be prosecuted in adult court unless there is a specific threat to public safety, nor should they be given punishments that preclude the opportunity for redemption like life in prison. In our office, it will be the exception not the rule to prosecute a child in adult court.

End juvenile life in prison. Across the country, even the most conservative states have stopped sentencing children to life in prison. The Supreme Court ruled sentencing minors to life without parole was unconstitutional. Yet in Wayne County, we have continued to sentence children to die, and we’ve adhered to these sentences.  We will no longer sentence children to life without parole, and we will insist that children who previously received these sentences get new ones.


https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/07/21/wayne-co-prosecutor-kym-worthy-must-go-vote-for-victoria-burton-harris-aug-4-in-dem-primary/ Continue reading

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This is part one of a series on Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s history since she took office in 2004. Upcoming stories will focus on her prosecution of Maryanne Godboldo, failure to re-sentence juvenile lifers, and other issues. They will be published this week.

A printed copy of this article is now available. Download at:



By Diane Bukowski

July 22, 2020, updated July 23, 24, and 27, 2020

For description of the cases above, read:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DETROITERS-KILLED-BY-POLICE-SINCE-1992-1-merged.pdf.

(L to r) Kym Worthy, cops Mitchell Quinn (killer of Terrance Kellom); Joseph Weekley (killer of Aiyana Jones);  Olie McMillion (hid DPD files in his home), William Melendez (killed 2 in Detroit and Inkster, framed hundreds more, Eugene Brown (killer of Rodrick Carrington, Jr., Lamar Grable and Darren Miller), DPD Chief James Craig.

Eugene Brown after promotion to sergeant, which fellow DPD cops cheered.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has published the following on the WCPO website in response to the question:  “I DON’T TRUST MY LOCAL POLICE, HOW CAN I COMPLAIN TO THEM?”

Her answer: “Most departments have experienced officers specifically assigned to handle internal investigations. In our experience, they conduct thorough, unbiased investigations. If you are not satisfied with their processing of your complaint you may make a complaint to the Michigan State Police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Serial Killer Kop” Eugene Brown

This author has covered dozens of killings by police in Detroit and elsewhere during the last 20 years, breaking the story of “Serial Killer Kop” Eugene Brown in the Michigan Citizen in March, 2000. Brown killed three men in separate incidents from 1995 to 1999. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Serial-Killer-Kop-stories-by-Diane-Bukowski-in-The-Michigan-Citizen-3.pdf./

Defense attorney and current candidate for prosecutor Victoria Burton-Harris won a ‘not guilty’ verdict for Scrill of New Era Detroit on Jan. 27, 2017 on DPD charges related to a peaceful march.

The photos at top show a fraction of those killed by police since then, with dozens more still unnamed because there was never an announcement or investigation by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in their cases. That office is tasked with reviewing all police shooting incidents, including killings.

Candidate Victoria Burton-Harris told the Michigan ACLU in a poll published online that she would refer all police-involved shootings to an independent special prosecutor. A new wave of young prosecutors and prosecutor candidates across the U.S. is taking on their offices’ records of collusion with lying police officers by initiating similar actions.

Kym Worthy said she would maintain the status quo, keeping the power with her office, which has meant no justice for victims or their families since 2004, continuing a pattern set by Worthy’s predecessors.


Families of Eugene Brown’s victims including Lamar Grable’s father Herman Vallery (2nd from l) and Arnetta Grable (6th from l) outside Kym Worthy’s office in 2005. Worthy refused to charge Brown despite release of secret “Shoulders Report.” Sign at Vallery’s left displays his photo of the Michigan Citizen article: ‘Serial Killer Kops.’  Cornell Squires (center) fought the frame-up of his son after by killer cop William Melendez in 2000. Photo: Diane Bukowski

In 2005, Worthy refused to charge “Serial Killer Kop” Eugene Brown, despite the Michigan Citizen’s exposure of the sealed DPD “Shoulders Report,” which  recommended charges against him.  Lamar Grable’s mother Arnetta Grable and father Herman Vallery, with the Detroit Coalition vs. Police Brutality and other family members, went to Worthy’s office and demanded charges but were rebuffed. The families of Lamar Grable and Darren Miller got multi-million dollar lawsuit verdicts/settlements. But killer cop Brown remained free to get a promotion, retire from the DPD, and attend college on taxpayers’ money.

Joseph Weekley, killer of Aiyana Jones.

William Melendez, known as “Robocop.”

Worthy was the Wayne County Circuit Court Judge at the trial of DCAPB member Cornell Squires’ son in 2000, after he was framed up by infamous Detroit cop William Melendez. She refused to grant a motion for reconsideration by the defense, which cited the fact that Melendez had been convicted of “filing a false report” earlier, a conviction not revealed by the prosecution in violation of Brady v. Maryland.

Worthy refused charges in other cases which generated mass protests and publicity, and/ or resulted in large civil payouts in court: Imam Luqman Abdullah, Aiyana Jones, Tommie Staples Sr., Kevin Kellom, Anthony Clark-Reed, Kevin Matthews, and Janet Wilson, to name a few.

Aiyana Jones, 7, was killed by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley during a “SWAT” style raid on her home May 16, 2010.

Charles Jones with his oldest child and only daughter Aiyana Jones.

Weekley went to trial after he was indicted on involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a firearm charges by a grand jury consisting of Presiding Criminal Court Judge Timothy Kenny. But he walked free after several mistrials, with the collusion of Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran, working under Kym Worthy.

Worthy instead charged Aiyana’s father Charles Jones and uncle Chauncey Owens with second-degree and first-degree murder, respectively, for the killing of Je’Rean Blake two days earlier, the pretext DPD used to storm Aiyana’s home without a warrant. During their trial, two notorious jail-house snitches were used against Jones and Owens, although Worthy has said that she stopped using such sources when she took office, after earlier exposures of wrongful convictions. Prosecutors recently agreed to reduce Jones’ charges and sentence of 40 to 60 years, making him eligible for parole in 2021. See: https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/07/12/charles-jones-dad-of-aiyana-7-killed-by-dpd-pleads-to-lesser-charge-may-be-home-soon/

Hakim Littleton

Nakia Wallace in police chokehold during Hakim Littleton protest July 20, 2020


In the most ecent killing, of Hakim Littleton, 20, by  a “Gang Intel” unit July 10, there has been no release of the names of the four officers involved in his killing, no release of ALL bodycam, dashcam and other videos of the killing, and no further known investigation.

Instead Worthy has colluded with Police Chief James Craig, who called the killing “justified” and ordered attacks on hundreds protesting it.

Riot police deployed tear gas, and arrested eight protesters, seriously injuring many more, sending some to the hospital.  Among those arrested and injured was Nakia Wallace, co-director of DetroitWillBreathe, who was placed in a chokehold, documented in photos and videos.

Worthy has not made any announcement regarding results of the Prosecutor’s office investigation of these incidents, if it even conducted any.

Miracle Boyd of #GoodKidsBadCity in Chicago after police knocked out her teeth as they attacked a BLM protest.

Craig has blasted the #DetroitWillBreathe protesters for their militant actions since the killing of #GeorgeFloyd in Minneapolis May 25.

But on a national and global level, their protests have mirrored many others, which are becoming more militant each day. The increase in militancy has been in response to escalating police brutality at the events.

In Chicago, police knocked out the front teeth of Miracle Boyd, 18, of #Good KidsBad City, as protesters tried to take down a Christopher Columbus monument. Boyd was not involved in any direct action. Her group recently sponsored a protest against gun violence in Chicago, which has been on the rise as the COVID-19 epidemic, unemployment and other ills increase.

Craig published an edited video of the Hakim Littleton killing, containing snippets from police body cameras cobbled together into one, which whipped up a pro-police media storm.

The published video focused on a single frame showing Littleton aiming a gun at the officers. But other frames in the video show that the youth was surrounded by at least four cops brandishing drawn guns before he was killed. Some members of Littleton’s family contended he had the right to defend himself from this onslaught of cops who were mysteriously already on the scene to back up the arrest of Darnell Sylvester.

One Detroiter said, “The video shows why people are terrified of the police. The guy was too young to have experience in such situations.” See analysis of police dashcam/ bodycam video done by the Coalition for Police Accountability below:



To much fanfare, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on July 16 released what she termed a “Giglio-Brady list” of 35 police officers from agencies in Wayne County, most of them from the Detroit Police Department. The list purports to show officers who have been convicted of filing false statements and other crimes involving corruption. It also includes those who have been convicted of federal offenses.

See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wayne-County-Prosecutor-Brady-list-issued-7-16-20.pdf

Detroit Police Chief James Craig (r) with Mayor Mike Duggan (l) at earlier press conferenc.e,

Worthy said in a release, “Last October we contacted all local Police Chiefs, representatives from the Wayne County Sheriff’s, Michigan State Police and Federal agencies.  We asked for a list of their current and former officers that have committed offenses spelled out in the Giglio case for offenses involving theft, dishonesty, fraud, false statement, bias and bribery . . .crimes that can be considered by fact finders in a trial when credibility is being assessed.  In addition, our assistant prosecutors are charged with letting defense attorneys know when an officer on their witness list for a case had Giglio issues or concerns.”

“Because trials will begin again mid-August and September, we thought it was important to send this out to our prosecutors and defense attorneys.  There are currently 35 officers on the list. We are taking the additional step of releasing the list to the public, because in an era of criminal justice reform, it just makes sense. We will repeat this process quarterly and expect to release an updated list in September.”

As judge, Worthy refused to consider Detroit cop William Melendez’ conviction for filing false report, sentenced defendant to 2 to 10 years.

Cornell Squires (r) and supporters of his son and young cousins who had been framed up by “Robocop” William Melendez march on Detroit’s old 4th Precinct in 2000. Three years later, the USDOJ charged Melendez and 17 other cops with running a Ramparts-style ring that terrorized the southwest side.  In a nullification verdict, they were acquitted. In 2015, Melendez, then an Inkster cop, was finally charged in the near fatal-beating of motorist Floyd Dent

Worthy’s release of the list is ironic. It includes the name of former Detroit police officer William Melendez, who most recently made world-wide news as the Inkster cop who nearly beat Black motorist Floyd Dent to death in 2015.

In the year 2000, Worthy, then a Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge, heard the case of Cornell E. Squires, then 18. He was  charged with the attempted armed carjacking of Melendez and his fellow plainclothes officer.

Melendez, testifying for the prosecution, accused Squires of an armed carjacking attempt on him and another plainclothes cop. Worthy denied a defense motion for reconsideration after the defense discovered that Melendez had been convicted of “filing a false report.”

Feld in photo with Freep sassault charge stpry 2002.

During the trial, Worthy refused to allow Squires’ father, Cornell Squires, an activist with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality (DCAPB), to introduce the audio portion of his videotape of the arrest. That audiotape included comments from officers called to the scene that they could not find the gun Melendez contended Squires carried.

Squires was charged shortly after his father had lodged a complaint against Melendez’ fellow 4th Precinct officer Robert Feld, for severely beating  him after he asked Feld why he had stopped his son outside their home. The beating was witnessed by the younger Squires and stopped by the senior Squires’ father, who lived across the street. The grandfather died of a heart attack a short time later.

Feld made headlines in 2002 after he was shown assaulting motorist Victor Gonzalez on his police car’s dashcam. He was forced to retire after the prosecutor’s office belatedly noted he had a history of brutal behavior. The Michigan Citizen later published a story on five such brutality lawsuits found in court records.

The senior Cornell Squires passed in 2018 after spending a lifetime fighting cases of wrongful convictions, mortgage and tax foreclosures, and other ills. Doesn’t his son deserve a review of HIS wrongful conviction, the record of which has followed him throughout his life?

Maryland State’s Atty. Marilyn Mosby says may overturn 800 convictions in Baltimore because of Brady violations; NYC police board has released 3,995 officers’ names with 12,056 complaints–what about Kym Worthy?

Under Brady v. Maryland (U.S. Supreme Court 1963),  prosecutors are obliged to provide all “exculpatory” evidence to the defense, which would tend to show the defendant’s innocence. Part of that obligation means they must disclose to the defense details about police officers who have committed crimes, lied on the job or whose honesty has been called into doubt.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby

New young prosecutors across the country such as Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby have used their Brady lists essentially to wage war on corrupt local police departments.

They are thoroughly investigating all criminal cases involving officers convicted of such crimes. In Mosby’s case, she prioritized cases involving  incarcerated individuals, and later announced that she may have to throw out 800 or more convictions.

Last year, USA Today and the Chicago-based Invisible Institute investigated the compliance of thousands of thousands of prosecutors’ offices across the country. They reported in part, “A USA TODAY Network investigation found that widespread failure by police departments and prosecutors to track problem officers makes it impossible to disclose that information to people whose freedom hinges on the integrity of law enforcement. . . .Thousands of people have faced criminal charges or gone to prison based in part on testimony from law enforcement officers deemed to have credibility problems by their bosses or by prosecutors.

Their report detailed dozens of such individual cases.

See: https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/11/18/hundreds-of-police-officers-are-proven-liars-some-still-help-send-people-to-prison-usa-today/  and   https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/04/us/baltimore-police-corruption-cases/index.html

ProPublica publishes names of 2,995 NYC police officers, 12,056 complaints released by Civilian Citizen Review Board. WHAT ABOUT KYM WORTHY?

Eric Garner murdered by NYPD chokehold: “I can’t breathe.”

In response to the repeal of a state law that kept police disciplinary records secret, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio earlier promised to post  a database of complaints against NYC police officers filed with the Civilian Citizens Review Board. The database was released to the American Civil Liberties Union, but a judge enjoined the ACLU from publishing it until a hearing Aug. 18.

Meanwhile, however, ProPublica obtained the list and has gone forward with its publication.

The result: the release of 3,996 OFFICERS’ NAMES AND and 12,056 COMPLAINTS, involving FORCE 7,636 allegations (An officer used excessive or otherwise unnecessary force); ABUSE OF AUTHORITY 20,292 allegations (An officer used police powers to take unwarranted actions, such as an unlawful search); DISCOURTESY 4,677 allegations (An officer engaged in rude or profane behavior toward a civilian), and OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE 753 allegations (An officer used one or more slurs relating to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability).

ProPublica reported, “The board provided us with the closed cases of every active-duty police officer who has at least one substantiated allegation against them,” ProPublica reported. “The records span decades, from September 1985 to January 2020. We have created a database of complaints that can be searched by name or browsed by precinct or nature of the allegations.”

Read more about this data → | Related: We’re Publishing Thousands of Police Discipline Records That New York Kept Secret for Decades →

“Worthy believes the police can police themselves.”

In a Wayne County For the People/Color of Change online forum June 28, candidate Victoria Burton-Harris said that she and other defense attorneys have been trying for years to get Worthy to publish a Brady list so they could properly vet police officers testifying in their clients’ cases, but to no avail. She said that Worthy would release only a few names at a time.

The website #NotWorthy, at https://www.notkymworthy.com/ says, “Worthy believes the police can police themselves. She allowed the police to choose their own officers to put on the “Untruthful” [Brady] list and then championed herself as a reformer when she made the list public three weeks before the election. The police officers who gave false testimony in Davontae Sanford’s case weren’t on the list. Who else isn’t on it? We’ll never know as long as Worthy is the prosecutor since she won’t do her job and investigate officers who lie.”

The page is sponsored by the Chicago-based Vote Liberation, which says on its website, “Vote Liberation is a political committee for people who are directly impacted by the criminal legal system. We support candidates who will be accountable to ending mass incarceration and defunding the police. We want elected officials who will work with us to build a future where there is no need for prisons and punishment–where we can thrive and be free.” See https://www.voteliberation.org/.

Since Worthy’s release of her purported Brady list, MDOC prisoners are clamoring to get copies to see if police officers involved in their cases are on the list.

Jarrhod Williams’ case led to the shutdown of the Detroit crime lab.

VOD interviewed a Detroit paralegal in contact with many prisoners, who asked not to be identified because he is involved on background work their cases. He questioned why numerous other cops are not on Worthy’s Brady list, particularly detectives who are the DPD’s chief investigators.

“I now see major federal constitutional claims,” he told VOD. “Prosecutor Kym Worthy has publicly stated that she is proud of the fact that her CIU has exonerated 20 defendants who had been wrongfully convicted in Wayne County. But why are the police officers in those 20 exoneration cases not on her Brady list? She also has blocked defendants from proving their innocence in cases involving falsified evidence from the Detroit Police Crime Lab by placing a five year limit on claims involving convictions from 2003 to 2008. when does a prosecutor’s policy outweigh a Federal Constitutional right to due process?”

See: https://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/06/23/families-demand-worthy-must-go-free-prisoners-convicted-on-falsified-crime-lab-evidence/

DESMOND RICKS–DPD investigators David Pauch, Donald Stawiasz falsified crime lab evidence

Desmond Ricks DN Photo

Detroit Crime Lab falsified evidence in 100’s of cases: Desmond Ricks was one

There are over 3,000 cases involving likely falsification of crime lab evidence, many going back decades. Worthy’s office along with the State Appellate Defender’s Office (SADO) conducted a review of the claims from 2003 to 2008 only, and selected four as candidates for retrial, not exoneration. Of the four, three were re-convicted on the same evidence, including Jarrhod Williams, whose case resulted in the closure of the crime lab after it was shown that crime Lab Technician Kevin Reed had falsified evidence.

The paralegal cited the CIU’s exoneration of Desmond Ricks in June 2017. Ricks was wrongly convicted in 1992 of second-degree murder based on reports from Detroit Police Investigators David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz that bullets from the victim’s body came from a gun Ricks possessed.

After the Michigan Innocence Clinic initiated an investigation in 2015, the prosecution sent them photos of  bullets different from the ones used at trial. A state expert said that at least one of the bullets came from another gun. Ricks’ attorney Wolfgang Mueller won a $1 million wrongful conviction claim from the state for his client, and is also pursuing his claim in federal court.

THELONIOUS ‘SHAWN’ SEARCY: AP Patrick Muscat, DPD officers Dale Collins, David Pauch, Kevin Reed

Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy was falsely convicted in 2004 of a murder to which VIncent Smothers confessed.  Many of the same players in Sanford’s case took part in Searcy’s frame-up, including PA Patrick Muscat and DPD Sgt. Dale Collins.

David Pauch and Kevin Reed were still on the job and responsible for evidence that helped convict Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy of murder in 2004.

That evidence was shown to be falsified during an evidentiary hearing on his case in 2018, covered extensively by Voice of Detroit.

Also involved in Searcy’s conviction were Asst. Prosecutor Patrick Muscat and Detroit police officer Dale Collins. The two were key players in the wrongful conviction of Davontae Sanford, aged 14, for four murders in 2007 which Vincent Smothers had repeatedly confessed to.

DPD Detectives David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz are not on Worthy’s list. Neither are Kevin Reed nor DPD Sgt. Dale Collins. After Sanford’s conviction, AP Patrick Muscat went on to become head of Worthy’s first “Conviction Integrity Unit” in 2009. He said in a resume that he  tried over 100 homicide jury trials and countless other capital trials during his tenure. Will Worthy investigate those “countless” cases to see what others are tainted by Muscat’s falsifications?

Wayne County AP Patrick Muscat prosecuted Davontae Sanford, Thelonious Searcy.

Despite the testimony of the confessed actual killer, Vincent Smothers, Judge Timothy Kenny denied Searcy’s motion for a new trial and claim of innocence in December, 2018. The Michigan Supreme Court sent the case back to the Appeals Court, which had summarily denied Searcy’s claim, with orders to review the case again and give a detailed report on the facts involved. Searcy has tested positive for COVID-19 while awaiting the COA hearing.

Kenny was also the trial judge who re-convicted Jarrhod Williams. At Searcy’s hearing, he said in an off-hand remark that he did not think the crime lab should have been shut down.

“Those 20 exonerations Worthy bragged about also constitute newly discovered evidence under the Michigan Supreme Court’s revision of Court Rule 6.508(D)(2),”  the paralegal VOD interviewed said further. “That now allows for the trial court to consider claims that have been decided against the defendant if s/he has some form of new evidence which could cause a different opinion.”

What about the “Ring of Snitches”–hundreds more still in prison due to false testimony at their trials. Will Worthy set them free?

He cited the infamous “Ring of Snitches” which was publicly exposed in news articles beginning in the late ’90’s. The informant ring was operated by DPD officers on the ninth floor of DPD’s old headquarters at 1300 Beaubien at least beginning in the early ’90’s. Police hosted prisoners there for lengthy times, providing perks including food, time out on the streets, and sexual favors, in exchange for their perjured testimony based on information the prosecutors fed them.

RAMON WARD: DPD Officer Monica Childs, “snitches”   Joe Twilley, Oliver Cowen, AP Janet Napp

“What about his ‘ring of snitches’ claim?” he asked. “Where are those police officers on her Brady list?  This case constitutes newly discovered evidence because his case proves that this was taking place, thus, the newly discovered evidence.”

Ramon Ward in court during exoneration proceedings.

Ward spent 26 years in prison based on the perjured testimony of two notorious “jail-house snitches,” Joe Twilley and Oliver Cowen, and a false, unsigned confession presented into evidence by former Detroit police officer Monica Childs, according to court records.

Those snitches and others were responsible for up to 100 convictions during the early ’90’s alone, according to an affidavit from another informant, Edward Allen. Recent estimates show that up to 80 percent of Wayne County prisoners convicted in that era were innocent. Kym Worthy became the Chief Prosecutor in 2004, but she began work with the Prosecutor’s office in 1984 and should have been familiar with the “Ring of Snitches” and other exposes that took place prior to 2004.

Ward told reporters on his release that he knew many other people during his time in prison who are still behind bars.

See: https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/02/28/ramon-ward-family-celebrate-release-after-27-yrs-on-false-conviction-when-will-100s-more-be-freed/

CARL HUBBARD: AP James Gonzalez, DPD Sgts. Joann Kinney, Ronald Gale

Carl Hubbard (MDOC photo)

Carl Hubbard, also incarcerated since 1992, is one. His conviction of murdering Rodnell Penn was based almost solely on a coerced statement by a childhood friend, Curtis Collins, who testified that he saw Hubbard near the scene of the crime in the same time frame. Assistant Prosecutor James Gonzales, who is still on Worhty’s staff, ordered Collins arrest during the trial after he recanted that testimony on the record the following day.

In a sworn affidavit, Collins said, “. . .I did not witness Carl Hubbard fleeing from where Mr. Rodnell Penn was found dead. “Sergeant [Joann] Kinney forced me to falsely testify at the preliminary examination that Carl Hubbard was running from the scene. . .I was threatened by Homicide Officers Sergeant Kinney and Sergeant [Ronald] Gale with being charged with the murder of Mr. Penn if I didn’t say that I saw Carl Hubbard at the murder scene of Mr. Penn.”

Collins reversed his testimony on the third day of trial but said that Asst. Prosecutor Gonzalez , Sergeant Joann Kinney and Sergeant Ronald D. Gale continued to threaten him afterwards.

Kinney was responsible for at least two other frame-ups according to published stories, including that of Thoanchelle Taylor and another of a 12-year-old babysitter, whose coerced confession was thrown out at trial.

Hubbard recently called VOD to say that the Michigan Supreme Court rejected his appeal of Judge Lawrence Talon’s rejection of his motion for relief from judgment. It has since been accepted in the U.S. District Court and District Judge David Lawson asked the prosecutor to respond to the motion.


MUBAREZ AHMED: Why is Sgt. Ernest Wilson, who framed me, still on the force? AP Kenneth King

Below, Mubarez Ahmed, another exoneree, served 16 years in the MDOC for a murder he did not commit. He said “there are hundreds more like me.” (First video). Ahmed has a lawsuit pending in federal court, filed by attorney Wolfgang Mueller in 2018. The complaint names the Detroit Police Sergeant who led the investigation into his case and framed him: Sgt. Ernest Wilson. (Second video).

The complaint says the entire case hinged on a live line-up identification of Ahmed by Izora Clark. It alleges, “Immediately before the live lineup, WILSON showed Ms. Clark a photograph of Plaintiff and told her this was the man they believed committed the murder and was in the lineup. WILSON also [falsely] told Ms. Clark that another witness had identified Plaintiff. See complaint and U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh’s order July 17 denying defendants’ motion for summary judgment  at:   http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ahmed_v_Detroit_Ernest-Wilson_et_al__miedce-18-13849__0001.0.pdf    and   http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ahmed_v_Detroit_Ernest-Wilson-Order-Judge-Steeh-et_al__miedce-18-13849__0042.0.pdf

“WILSON’s statement about another witness identifying Plaintiff as the shooter was completely false; there was no other eyewitness who identified anyone as the shooter, much less Plaintiff . . . Not surprisingly, after the tainted procedure, Ms. Clark identified MUBAREZ AHMED as the shooter. . . .Plaintiff was the only person in the live lineup who wore a beard. , , , ,”Prosecutor (now a 36th District Court judge) Kenneth King relied on the false statements and fabricated evidence contained in the Investigator’s Report and recommended that Plaintiff be charged with the double-murder of Mr. Griffin and Ms. White.”


ALL cases involving the officers below should be re-examined for false reports and other misconduct, as was done in Baltimore.

DAVONTAE SANFORD case: DPD officers Michael Russell, Dale Collins, James Tolbert, AP Patrick Muscat

DPS Sgt. Michael Russell. Photo: ‘First 48’ website.

DPD Sgt. Dale Collins. Photo: ‘First 48’ website.

Detectives Michael Russell, Dale Collins, and James Tolbert were directly involved in the frame-up of Davontae Sanford, 14, and 5’5” tall, for four murders in a Runyon St. alleged drug house in 2007. Worthy claims Sanford’s case is still under investigation, despite his release from prison and the confession of Vincent Smothers to the crime.

Russell and Collins stopped Sanford, in his pajamas, the night of the murders. Tolbert was with the group after the stop and later admitted that he  had drawn a diagram of the crime scene. not Sanford as he earlier testified.

Davontae Sanford (l) and Kym Worthy.

DPD reports from that night, dated Sept. 18, 2007,  showed the perpetrator was NOT Sanford. The reports are in a 118-page investigative report by the Michigan State Police.

Two eyewitnesses, Valerie Glover, who hid under a bed while the killings were taking place, and neighbor Jesse King, who lived across the street from the house where the killings took place and fired his gun at the perpetrators as they were leaving, gave descriptions of a different man who was at least six inches taller than Sanford and much older, in his thirties. King knew Sanford from the neighborhood and knew he was not the killer.

The Michigan State Police also noted glaring discrepancies in forensic evidence, including the bullets found at the scene. They cited the Smothers confession. Worthy charged Smothers on eight of the murders but never did so in the Runyon St. case. The State Police called for charges to be brought against Russell and Tolbert, but Worthy never did so.

Collins was also involved in the alleged frame-up of Thelonious Searcy. Wayne County Asst. Prosecutor Patrick Muscat prosecuted both Sanford and Searcy at trial.



‘OPERATION BACKBONE:’ Detroit Sgts. James Harris, Willie Volsan, Angela Canoy-Simmons, HPark PSO Julandra Young.

DPD Sgt. James Harris

The four were  convicted in 1993 in Federal Court of charges involving running a national  protection racket for wholesale narcotics suppliers, doing business in the Detroit area. They even used Detroit police cars. The charges came after an infamous FBI sting at City Airport, known as “Operation Backbone.”

Involved in the sting was “White Boy Rick” Wershe, an FBI informant recently released from prison in Florida after serving 32 years in the MDOC. Harris was sentenced to 30 yrs. in federal prison, as the chief perpetrator, but was his sentence was commuted after 20 years by former U.S. President George Bush.

In 1972, he and  two other STRESS cops carried out the 1972 Rochester St. Massacre, killing Wayne Co. Deputy Sheriff Henry Henderson, wounding 3 other deputies, and 3 citizens during a poker game in a home. Harris contended he had reason to believe Henderson was a criminal trying to attack him, and later cleared.

Before 1990, Harris was the lead investigator in numerous other cases, including those involving drug charges. How many people are in prison because of his complicity with drug dealers?

EDDIE JO LLOYD, exonerated after 18 yrs

DPD cops Thomas DeGalan, Sylvia Milliner, William Rice, Kenneth Day, D.C. Richard Dungy, Gilbert Hill (Head of Homicide), Lt. Robert Deane.

Eddie Joe Lloyd in court. 

They framed mental hospital patient Eddie Joe Lloyd in 1984 for the vicious murder/rape of a 16-year-old girl. They elicited a false confession from Dean, who had frequent contact with the DPD giving his ideas on how they should solve cases,and falsified evidence, including an autopsy report.

Lloyd was released in 2002 after Barry Scheck’s  Innocence Clinic got him exonerated on DNA evidence. He died two years later. His family later filed suit to recover damages from their loved one’s wrongful conviction.

MICHAEL MOSLEY, others not yet named by DPD Chief James Craig.

Mosley was indicted in federal court Aug. 2019 for taking A $15,000 bribe from a drug dealer not to pursue criminal charges. Mosley is on the Wayne Co. Prosecutor’s Giglio-Brady list, but DPD Chief James Craig said there are at least 8 others involved. A coalition is monitoring Craig and Worthy’s office for updates.

Michael Mosley, DPD Officer indicted in 2019

The Associated Press reported that DPD Chief James Craig boasted that the department was conducting a thorough investigation into internal narcotics trafficking.

“But charges have yet been brought related to the police department’s investigation. The narcotics unit was raided Aug. 22 and files going back a decade were seized along with computers. Members of the unit with five or more years of experience were reassigned.

“The focus of our probe is roughly 10 years,” Craig said. “However, since the raid, we’ve only looked at the past year and a half. So, there’s a lot more material to go through. Sadly, as we continue our probe, we think it’s going to grow in terms of magnitude.”

So far, the investigation has found a half-dozen instances of officers allegedly stealing money from drug dealers and two in which drugs were planted on suspects, the newspaper reported. It also found that money meant to pay informants was stolen and affidavits were allegedly falsified to get search warrants from prosecutors.

Malachi Robinson

The Detroit Free Press reported in February, “On Jan. 30, seven grassroots groups — Color Of Change, Michigan Liberation, The Advancement Project, The Mass Liberation Project, BYP100 Detroit, We the People – MI, and Detroit Action — announced the creation of a joint coalition to demand transparency from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and the Detroit Police Department.

“Detroit law enforcement, as it stands, is failing the people it claims to serve,” Malachi Robinson, criminal justice campaign director at Color Of Change, told the Free Press.

“Racist policing tactics, a lack of accountability, and rampant corruption are not just tearing our communities apart; they’re fueling a national mass incarceration crisis. Today, we are forming this coalition to take Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Chief of Police James Craig to task and to demand fairness, honesty, and transparency in our justice system.”






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Chief Craig during Operation Mistletoe in 2013, one of massive police sweeps he ordered allegedly to find people with outstanding warrants. Hundreds were arrested, but few were charged.

Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy: End the Corruption: Hold the Detroit Police Narcotics Unit Accountable!

PETITION: End the Corruption: Hold the Detroit Police Narcotics Unit Accountable!


On December 11, 2019, news broke of a corruption scandal within the Detroit Police Department Narcotics Unit. Upon this startling revelation, local and national groups created a list of demands to ensure the integrity of the investigation and highlight the broader impact of the accusations.

Decades of corruption, abuse of power, falsifying evidence and embezzlement. This is only a fraction of what the public has recently learned about the Detroit Police Narcotics Unit. The Detroit Police Internal Affairs unit began investigating this unit about four months ago and has recently released a portion of what they’ve found. They found that cops planted drugs on innocent citizens, robbed people, embezzled funds meant for informants, stole from arrestees, falsified evidence, and made faulty search warrants.

We demand that every single one of the prosecutions brought against people from the narcotics unit are dropped immediately. There is no proof that the narcotics unit ever operated legitimately. This revelation means that hundreds of innocent people could be sitting behind bars for crimes they did not commit, and countless others serving disproportionate or enhanced sentences based on lies and deceit at the hands of law enforcement.

Will you stand with us in calling on the Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy to take the necessary steps to ensure no innocent person sits behind bars?


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Prisoners Doing the Right Thing on Facebook: 


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Canadian nurses help lead massive march against Detroit water shutoffs in the city’s downtown in 2012.


Lawsuit condemns racial disparities in water shutoffs and asks court for permanent solution in Detroit 

Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who exposed high lead levels in Flint children, supports lawsuit and declares water critical to preventative healthcare 

July 9, 2020

DETROIT, Mich. — Today, a coalition of civil rights organizations filed a class action lawsuit in federal court to make water affordable and permanently end water shutoffs for Detroit residents. The city’s water rates are among the highest in the nation. Combined with a high poverty rate, especially among Black Detroiters, many families are unable to pay their water bills, leaving them at risk of losing service due to non-payment. Some families live for years without water service, while others are trapped in a cycle of water insecurity with repeated disconnections and reconnections.

A longstanding water shutoff policy exposes thousands of Black Detroit residents to disease and racial discrimination that renders affected households defenseless against infection, especially during a pandemic. For years, Detroit residents, health experts, and advocates have been calling on city officials, state legislators, and governors to develop a plan or pass legislation for water affordability. These plans have failed to materialize, and legislative leadership has prevented passage of the bills.

ACLU Atty. Mark Fancher in a 2011 photo by VOD.

In addition, the Governor’s executive order signed yesterday to expand the moratorium on water shutoffs will eventually end, and there is no plan to ensure Detroiters will have access to water once it does, despite all the evidence that water is an essential source of preventative health care at all times.

And while the order provides relief for overages and past due bills for some customers, it doesn’t address the high-water rates that cause residents to fall behind on their water bills.  In fact, the order makes clear that it does not relieve customers of the obligation to pay their water bills or prevent municipalities from charging customers for water during the pandemic. 

Also, Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan has stated that water service shutoffs will resume as a collection method against families who cannot afford to pay when the immediate threat of the pandemic is over.

“For 15 years our civil rights coalition has been fighting at every level of government to permanently put an end to water shutoffs, a policy that harms the health and wellbeing of impoverished Black Detroiters,” said Mark Fancher, ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project attorney. “While the Governor’s temporary moratorium on water shutoffs during the pandemic is a step forward, the moratorium will expire and Detroiters will once again be left without solutions and with huge bills they cannot possibly afford, forcing residents back into the cycle of water shutoffs. It is time to throw shutoffs on the dust heap of deeply disturbing practices that contribute to the structural racism our nation is finally attempting to dismantle.”

Protesters at Duggan’s State of the City address on Feb. 11, 2015.

The lawsuit describes the bleak conditions Detroiters have experienced because of the water shutoff policy. A few of the plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit include:

Jacqueline Taylor, a Black Detroit resident, who owns

her home. Ms. Taylor’s monthly average income from Social Security benefits is $860. In 2016, Ms. Taylor was hospitalized and in a rehabilitation center for a hip replacement. At that time, no one was living in her home or using her water. After returning home from her surgery, Ms. Taylor received a bill from DWSD for water usage totaling about 75,000 gallons during that period. The bill was between $1,500 and $2,000. Believing she was overbilled, Ms. Taylor contacted DWSD, but the department refused to adjust it and eventually disconnected her water in mid-2018. By that time, DWSD claimed that she owed nearly $6,000 in arrearages. Ms. Taylor lived without water service from mid-2018 until March 2020, when DWSD reconnected it during the pandemic. Her current monthly bill is $25, but she still owes back payments. Ms. Taylor will be at immediate risk of losing water service when Detroit resumes water shutoffs.

Neighbor brings water to a family victimized by water shut-off in Detroit in 2002. Then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had just reinstituted mass city water shut-offs as suburbs campaigned to regionalize the DWSD, which they did during the city’s bankruptcy in 2014. Michigan Citizen photo by Diane Bukowski

Lisa Brooks, a Black Detroit resident, has rented her home for 10 years. She lives in the home with her two children, ages 14 and 16. Ms. Brooks’s monthly income is approximately $1,200 from Social Security disability. She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other breathing issues. She must use a portable oxygen tank to assist her breathing. Ms. Brooks’s 16-year-old son has asthma and uses a nebulizer, which requires the use of water. Under the terms of her lease, Ms. Brooks is required to pay her water bill, which is in her name.

DWSD first disconnected Ms. Brooks’s water service in 2018. She and her children lived without water for about a year. In 2019, Ms. Brooks was able to have her water reconnected as she had entered into a payment plan with DWSD, which required her to pay her current monthly bill (typically around $100 a month) plus $98 per month. This was approximately 17% of Ms. Brooks’s total monthly income. When Ms. Brooks was unable to keep up with the payment plan, DWSD disconnected her water service again in the winter of 2019. Ms. Brooks and her children lived without water until March 2020. Ms. Brooks currently owes DWSD around $2,000 in arrearages and will be at immediate risk of having her water shut off when Detroit resumes water shutoffs.

Michele Cowan is a Black resident of Detroit and owns her home with her 23-year-old daughter. Ms. Cowan lives with two of her adult daughters and her two grandchildren, ages two and six. Her family’s income is approximately $1,300 per month. DWSD disconnected Ms. Cowan’s water service in August 2019 for approximately $700 in arrearages, which she still owes. Ms. Cowan and her family lived without water from August 2019 until March 2020. During this time, We the People of Detroit provided Ms. Cowan and her family with bottled water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and sanitation. She would receive eight to 10 cases of water every two weeks from the organization. DWSD reconnected Ms. Cowan’s water service in March 2020, after the announcement of the Water Restart Plan, and will be at immediate risk of having her water shut off when Detroit resumes water shutoffs.

Detroit’s water shutoff policy violates the civil rights of thousands of the city’s residents by forcing them to live without a service essential to their health. Water shutoffs disproportionately affect Black Detroiters in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the lawsuit alleges, and pose a severe threat to public health by making hand washing and other cleaning practices an impossibility. The lawsuit seeks to permanently end the water shutoff policy and asks for a court order immediately preventing shutoffs from resuming.

 Atty. Alice Jennings announces filing of lawsuit vs. water shut-offs during Detroit bankruptcy proceedings in 2012.

“People cannot live without water, families can’t function without it, and communities cannot be safe if they don’t have water before, during and when the pandemic ends,” said Alice B. Jennings, founding partner of Edwards & Jennings, PC. “Every leader in Michigan has a moral responsibility to make sure families have access to water. Solutions have been implemented in other cities across the country, and Detroit families deserve a solution too. We urge state and city officials to come together immediately to create a water affordability plan. It is the fair and humane thing to do.”

The same population hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affected by the city’s water shutoff policy. From January 2017 to July 2018, 95% of water shutoffs occurred in Census tracts with a majority-Black population, and only 5% occurred in tracts that had a population that was less than 50% Black. Detroit Census tracts with a less than 50% Black population had, on average, 64% fewer shutoffs per 1,000 people than tracts with a majority-Black population. These disparities are statistically significant and persist even when controlling for differences in income and the number of unoccupied homes in Detroit. These disparities also persist when comparing majority-Black tracts to majority-white tracts. Water shutoff data reviewed for the period between January 2019 and January 2020 had the same level of disparities.

“People should not be punished for being poor and Black,” said Coty Montag, Senior Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. “If state and city officials are serious about ending structural racism, as they claim to be, they can start by putting an end to Detroit’s water shutoff policy today and instituting an effective water affordability plan. This case reaffirms LDF’s commitment to combating discrimination in municipal water practices.”

The civil rights coalition is calling for Detroit to adopt a water affordability plan, similar to plans adopted long before the current pandemic by the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia that were put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

“Water is a medical and public health necessity,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Hurley Medical Center pediatrician. “Depriving people of water is anti-prevention, anti-science and anti-common sense. If the Flint water crisis taught us anything, it’s the need to focus on prevention and not wait until we can prove harm.”

Other attorneys on the case include Lorray Brown of the Michigan Poverty Law Program, Monique Lin-Luse and Jason Bailey of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Dan Korobkin and Bonsitu Kitaba- Gaviglio of the ACLU of Michigan, and Detroit attorneys Melissa El Johnson and Kurt Thornbladh.





Related from VOD:








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July 24, 2020

#DETROITWILLBREATHE has now posted the Coalition for Police Accountability’s analysis of police bodycam and dashcam videos showing Hakim Littleton, 20, being shot to death by Detroit police on July 10, 2020 on their Facebook page (see video above).   It  replaces an earlier frame-by-frame analysis posted July 13, 2020 on YouTube published here for investigative purposes. That video analysis, allegedly by a former police Gang Squad member, was highly racist and offensive. It strongly resembled the rush to judgment of Littleton by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Mayor Mike Duggan and many others who attempted to have their comments published here in response to this story. (Comments on Voice of Detroit are subject to prior approval by the editor.)

Hakim Littleton/Facebook

The narrator celebrated the killing of Littleton, making derogatory, racist comments about the neighborhood and the people who live there (“shit neighborhoods” and “shit guys”), implying that they are all criminals who need to be “taken down.” He repeatedly referred to the “Black Lives Matter” movement and issues like “community policing” in derogatory terms.

Still needed is the release of the names of all the officers involved in Hakim Littleton’s killing, and a COMPLETE RELEASE of each individual police dashcam and bodycam video of the shooting as demanded by “Detroit Will Breathe.” The original video is clearly cobbled together from those individual videos which leaves questions about whether it has been doctored.

Judge Dalton A. Roberson

Judge Ulysses W. Boykin

False claims have been made that Littleton was on probation for a charge of armed robbery. Third Judicial Circuit Court records shows that he actually pled guilty to “unarmed robbery,” and “felony firearm.” He was charged Aug. 13, 2017 and sentenced Jan. 6, 2018 to three years of probation including boot camp on both charges by Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Dalton A. Roberson.

A separate Register of Actions shows he was also charged with “Interfering With Crime Report-committing a Crime/threatening to kill or injure,” and “Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault) on Aug. 18, 2017. Those charges, however, were dismissed by Judge Ulysses Boykin March 16, 2018.
See “http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Hakim-Littleton-Register-of-Actions-MI-Third-Judicial-Circuit-Court-.pdf” 

Below is an excerpt from commentary on Detroit Will Breathe’s Facebook page on DPD arrests of eight people and attacks on others among the hundreds of people who turned out to protest Hakim Littleton’s killing.


Friday afternoon, Detroit Will Breathe and other organizations joined community members at San Juan and McNichols, the site of the shooting [of Hakim Littleton], to demand an investigation into Littleton’s death, the release of the names of the officers who fired their weapons, and the release of videos recording Littleton’s murder. Police refused to communicate with the crowd and removed Littleton’s body without conducting a thorough investigation. As the crowd chanted, riot police began to line up in the middle of the residential block on San Juan just north of McNichols.

Police banging batons on shields advanced on the line of protestors, hitting some protestors with batons and ramming others with shields. Several protestors were hospitalized due to their encounters with police. Detroit Will Breathe has documented injuries to members of the crowd including: a head laceration, a fractured pelvis, other lacerations that required medical attention, concussions, bruised ribs, head injuries from shields, burns from tear gas canisters thrown at close range, and a pregnant woman bludgeoned in the abdomen with a baton. Several protestors reported having the wind knocked out of them and not being able to breathe for several minutes. Protestors trying to protect other protestors who had been pushed to the ground from getting trampled were targeted for beatings. Photo evidence shows officers holding Nakia Wallace in a chokehold, several officers pinning down and putting knees on multiple necks and backs of protestors, and Tristan Taylor with an officer’s knee on his neck.

Protestors who were arrested were kept in close quarters with other prisoners, despite social distancing laws due to the global pandemic. “It looked like a slave ship,” Lloyd Simpson of Detroit Will Breathe said “Bodies piled on each other, no space. It was terrible. And there were empty cells, too.” Arrestees indicated similar conditions of caged prisoners in both the women’s and men’s sections.

When the movement calls for defunding the police, it means that the conditions that led to Littleton’s death should never have been possible. We see time and time again the interactions between police and Black and Brown people ending in violence and death. The brutal force protestors were met with by DPD instead of care and explanation is a clear example of the treatment dispensed in our communities every single day by police. Their response to us is in fact what made us come to the streets in the first place.

Police violence against protesters should never have been a response. The continued detaining of Meeko Williams is a further attempt to harm and harass Black people and suppress the movement. We will not stand for this continued harassment of protestors. We demand Williams’ immediate release and all charges against protestors dropped immediately. Additionally, we call for the naming and firing of all officers involved in the brutal assault of protestors.


VOD has added photos and videos to the article below, from The PuLSE Institute.

July 11, 2020 thepulseinstitute 

Tina Patterson, President,Director ,of Research The PuLSE Institute

Editor’s Note: Tina M. Patterson, a Detroit native and attorney is the president and director of research at The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s independent anti-poverty think tank. She was previously a federal government attorney with the Social Security Administration. During her stint at the Social Security Administration, she wrote legally binding decisions for administrative law judges throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. This column, part of The Douglass Project, the Institute’s research vessel addressing issues of race, equity, democracy and poverty, is an ongoing series that explores the role of race and policing in Detroit. For submission inquiries contact Bankole Thompson, the editor-in-chief of The PuLSE Institute at info@thepulseinstitute.org.

“There is a depth of hatred in the bone marrow of this country that supports the killing of the Black body.” -Arica L. Coleman, Ph.D.,Historian, Author, Lecturer

By Tina M. Patterson, Esq.

No crime in the state of Michigan is punishable by death. In fact, Michigan became the first government in the English-speaking world to outlaw capital punishment for murder and lesser crimes just 10 years after its statehood in 1847, and it is the only state in the Union whose constitution bans the death penalty.

Hakim Littleton/Facebook

Another well-established principle of constitutional law and criminal justice is the universal fundamental right that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. In fact, the entire American criminal procedure begins with this sacred presumption. If every suspect was guilty upon first encounter with police, there would be no need for prosecutors, judges, juries, or anyone else employed by our publicly-funded court systems.

The notion that innocence must be protected at all costs is a centuries old axiom. In 1769, preeminent English jurist William Blackstone noted that “the law holds that it is better that 10 guilty persons escape, than that 1 innocent suffer.” Likewise, this fundamental principle has been recognized by the 1895 U.S. Supreme Court case of Coffin et al. v United States, which stated, “it is better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn the innocent.”

These same constitutional provisions extend to newly freed Black people in the aftermath of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery with the passage of the 14th amendment, which guarantees no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Yet the shooting death of the 19-year old young Black man, Hakim Littleton, in Detroit on July 10, 2020, and the justification for his death at the hands of the Detroit Police Department, seem to nullify these well-established constitutional liberties, that harken to the days of slavery and Jim Crow policy: “No crime in the state of Michigan is punishable by death… unless you’re Black.” “Innocent until proven guilty… unless you’re Black.” “Due process of law… unless you’re Black.”

Cover of the 2015 e-book edition of Robert Williams book, in which he discusses the right to armed self-defense.

This is particularly troubling considering the interaction between white suspects and police response to their violent behavior, which is often noticeably less apprehensive than that of black suspects. Most egregiously, mass murderer and white supremacist, Dylann Roof, was taken into custody without incident by authorities after he murdered 9 Black members of a historically black church, “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, including its senior pastor Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, who was also a sitting state senator at the time of his murder. Infamously, the police purchased Burger King for Roof, who was allegedly hungry after committing such heinous crimes, an act that validated his humanity despite his cold-blooded and intentional execution of Black life.

Data proves that blacks are disproportionately more likely to be killed by law enforcement than whites. Additionally, reports have shown that whites who commit violent action against police officers can still be taken in peacefully, which further calls into question the so-called justification for the police shooting that occurred in Detroit on Friday.

Take for instance, the case of Benjamin Murdy in Harford County, Maryland, in January 2020. The Harford County Sheriff, Jeffrey Gahler, stated that during an hour-and-a-half long standoff, Murdy fired almost 200 rounds from a rifle and handgun, while “police never fired a single shot.” The suspect then arranged for his own surrender, and was taken into custody… alive, and guaranteed his day in court. Guaranteed his right to due process and equal protection under the law. How can this extremely and knowingly violent white man fire 200 rounds at police, with multiple weapons, and still be taken into custody alive, without the police firing even one single shot?

In contrast, Hakim Littleton was killed on the spot, while police were praised for their actions in taking his life. He was robbed of his right to due process, robbed of his day in court, robbed of any other days on Earth, and it was immediately and resoundingly deemed justified.

With the climate of protest against police violence permeating the globe since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, Detroit Police Chief James Craig took quick and decisive action to release police video of the encounter with Mr. Littleton. Whether done for transparency or reprieve from culpability, the video showed that Mr. Littleton had a gun and fired at least one shot, close range, at an officer first, before officers returned fire, killing him.

Mr. Littleton’s actions were inexcusable, and police most certainly had probable cause to detain him. In fact, he could have been taken into custody after video showed him restrained on the ground. He could have faced a myriad of charges, including serious felonies such as assault with intent to murder, assault against an officer, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and felony firearm, just to name a few.

But in this country, Blackness is a nonexistent crime which renders you immediately guilty of any actions, whether legal or illegal. There is no presumption of innocence that carries through until conviction. Guaranteed constitutional rights are null and void, and imminent and violent death by police becomes a proper and acceptable punishment, regardless of the actions that lead to the encounter.

If Littleton was white, the burning question is would he be dead? Given the contrasting case of Murdy and the fact that blacks are more often killed by police than whites, there is a strong possibility that if Hakim Littleton was white, he would still be alive. In fact, there are other cases of white violent suspects who were peacefully taken away unharmed in their dealings with police officers.

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

This is the analysis mainstream media will ignore in Detroit. They reported on the Friday shooting without any context into the documented racial disparities of law enforcement shootings between white suspects and Black suspects. Instead, the media immediately reported information released by police and validated the shooting with headline titles such as “Detroit police chief: Video shows killing of man by officers was justified shooting.

However, every police encounter with Black people in America deserves intense scrutiny beyond the headlines due to the relentless, historical pursuit of state-sanctioned and state-sponsored violence against Blacks in this country.

In a National Geographic article summarizing the history of lynching in America, Arica Coleman, Ph.D., pointed out the dehumanization of Blacks is the link that justifies death in such violent manners. “It doesn’t make a difference what you do… your very presence signifies a threat because of the meanings associated with Blackness- dangerous, impurity, inhumanity, criminal.”

There is a sinister, underlying belief that Black people are always in the wrong, no matter how innocent or culpable their actions, and their behavior necessitates swift and immediate punitive action, while the police can be excused from liability with murder. Gun or no gun, this is why police can justify the killing of Littleton in Detroit, while Murdy, who posed an arguably more significant threat, can be taken into custody unharmed. This is why Ahmaud Arbery’s killers can walk freely for two months without controversy. It’s why Breonna Taylor’s killers have not been charged, with some still on the force. This is why grand juries declined to indict the killers of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. And, it’s why defenders of George Floyd’s murderers try to use his past criminal record as a justification for his inhumane death.

This belief in inherent Black criminality is what spawned the lynch mob mentality that allowed angry crowds of white citizens to storm county jails detaining Black suspects, drag those suspects from their jail cells, and institute vigilante justice through violent lynchings, often preceded by beating, mutilation, and other heinous torture tactics inflicted upon the victim while still alive.

Memorial to three Black men, in town working for a circus, lynched in Duluth, MN Jan. 15, 1920

The National Geographic article documents a lynching that occurred in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920, 100 years before the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, in which police were “ordered not to use their guns” to deter a white mob of up to 10,000, who came to enforce vigilante justice on six Black men.

As the article noted, these Black men, along with numerous other Black victims, whether suspected of a crime or innocuously passing by, were “killed without due process, never charged with a crime, never offered an opportunity to mount a defense against allegations.” Like George Floyd. Like Breonna Taylor. Like Ahmaud Arbery. Like Rayshard Brooks. And now, like Hakim Littleton.

There are no “perfect” victims. All of these individuals shared the same attributes of being Black, the common denominator that subjected them to extrajudicial killing by police and vigilante citizens alike.

As Dr. Coleman stated, “There is a depth of hatred in the bone marrow of this country that supports the killing of the black body.”

The rush to condemn Mr. Littleton as a menace to society backed by a dehumanizing narrative being weaponized by the media, betrays the inherent natural respect for humanity and fundamental rights that are accorded to white men, who may have a similar or worse background than him.

Until we tackle this highly uncomfortable but very existent dichotomy in this country, the killing of Hakim Littleton cannot be accepted as justified.

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As Wayne County Prosecutor election primary nears Aug. 4, family and supporters of wrongfully convicted Darrell Ewing rally July 2, 2020

Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy won new trial Oct. 24, 2017 due to jury contamination, lack of “overwhelming evidence of guilt” (judge ruling)

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood earlier threw out convictions, ordered new trial

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed, Sixth Circuit ordered evidentiary hearing which resulted in order for new trial

Worthy STILL appealing through state courts, keeping Ewing, Searcy locked up as COVID-19 endangers lives of the incarcerated across U.S.

By Diane Bukowski

July 9, 2020

DETROIT —  Supporters of Darrell Ewing, including a large contingent of family members who came from as far away as Atlanta, rallied outside the Frank Murphy Hall in downtown Detroit for six hours July 2. They said that he was wrongfully convicted in 2010, but has been kept in prison, his life endangered by the COVID-19  pandemic, ever since. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway ordered a new trial for Ewing and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy Oct. 24, 2019, but Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed that ruling as she has stonewalled all Ewing’s appeals since the beginning.

Cieddah Ewing, Darrell Ewing’s sister, and her daughter Anilya Dodson drove all the way from Atlanta for the July 2, 2020 protest.

Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson told VOD that her son’s supporters want to see Worthy removed due to her refusal to grant justice in Ewing’s case, as well as the cases of many others.

“We have been going through this process in the court system for 10 years now,” Dodson said. “U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ordered a new trial earlier, but that ended up at the Appeals Court in Cincinnati, where we won again. Judge Hathaway ordered a new trial, but prosecutors chose to appeal knowing that he is innocent. The young man who did this has confessed; we have got written affidavits.

“We also had a juror that came forward and said there wouldn’t have been a guilty verdict if she hadn’t been forced to change her vote. We do appreciate her for coming forth. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed more court hearings. You can’t social distance in prison—if somebody wins a new trial,  it seems like they should be released.”

Worthy is opposed by progressive defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris, part of a national coalition of newly elected prosecutors and candidates confronting the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration head-on.

Burton-Harris says those living in Wayne County and especially Detroit have been targeted disproportionately since Prosecutor Worthy took office in 2004, victimized by wrongful convictions and Worthy’s insistence that all court appeals be opposed, many times on technical grounds.

Defense Atty. Victoria Burton Harris, candidate for Wayne County Prosecutor in Aug. 4 primary.

Ewing and and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy were convicted of murdering J.B. Watson Dec. 29, 2009, in an allegedly gang-related shooting at Harper and Van Dyke. They have been in prison serving life sentences since 2010 despite the subsequent confession of Tyree Washington to the murder. Washington came forward repeatedly to declare under oath that he, not Ewing and Searcy, carried out the killing.

Many Michigan Department of Corrections prisoners are in similar circumstances. The Michigan Supreme Court sent the conviction of Thelonious Searcy, whose case VOD has covered extensively, back to the state Court of Appeals March 18, 2o20, ordering that they grant his leave to appeal and issue a substantive ruling. The Appeals Court has yet to do so, and meanwhile Searcy has tested positive for COVID-19.

Searcy was convicted of the 2004 murder of Jamal Segars, who was shot to death while stuck in traffic during a Labor Day weekend “Black Party” on Gratiot at Conner outside City Airport. Filing pro se, he won an evidentiary hearing that was held from January through June of 2018.

Thelonious Searcy, still in prison due to frame-up by police, prosecutors.

Davontae Sanford embraced by  mother Taminko Sanford-Tilmon on his release from prison.

During that hearing, he and attorney Michael Dezsi exposed the truth, that Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny, in league with Asst. Prosecutor Patrick Muscat, lied to the trial jury about the type of bullets found in Segars’ body.

The .40 caliber bullets that were actually found comported with the gun hit man Vincent Smothers said he used, in a detailed confession given during two days of testimony in open court.

Smothers was more broadly known as the hit man who confessed to killing four people on Runyon Street in 2007, a crime for which Davontae Sanford, then 14, was falsely convicted and spent nine years in prison. A Michigan State Police investigation, using the Detroit Police Department’s own reports, uncovered the clear collusion of Prosecutor Worthy and her subordinates with the DPD in Sanford’s frame-up. Patrick Muscat was the AP in that case as well as Searcy’s. Worthy contends to this day that Sanford was not innocent, earning her the title of “Innocence Denier” in a national article.

See https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/innocence-deniers-prosecutors-who-have-refused-to-admit-wrongful-convictions.html,

Bekeiba Holland: 150 Mich. Juvenile Lifers still not re-sentenced 8 yrs. after SCOTUS ruling, time to remove Kym Worthy

Bekieba Holland attended the protest, representing Prisoners Doing the Right Thing, whose office is at 15535 Mack on Detroit’s east side. The group, founded by the late Timothy Kincaid, a juvenile lifer released in 2016 who was well-known throughout the MDOC, has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PDTRT100.

Holland was convicted and sentenced as a juvenile lifer in 1991, and served more than two decades in prison before he was re-sentenced.

The late Timothy Kincaid, who founded Prisoners Doing the Right Thing after his release as a juvenile lifer Nov. 2016, after spending 36 years in prison.

“We’re down here to show the community what Kym Worthy is doing and what she has been doing throughout the years,” Holland told VOD. “We need to remove her. She’s not doing a service, she’s doing a disservice. Our taxpayer dollars are going to pay her salary. We have over 150 juvenile lifers in Michigan who haven’t gone back for re-sentencing yet.  What is the hold-up?  I had to wait three years before I could get resentenced.  She tried to re-instate life on me, but since it wouldn’t stand, she came with a cop, 30 to 60, so I took the deal and I’m out. The high court said it’s unconstitutional to give a juvenile a mandatory life sentence, but she doesn’t want to abide by their ruling.”

Worthy virulently opposed Michigan state legislation that would have banned juvenile life without parole prior to the SCOTUS rulings. She testified before the Michigan legislature against statutory changes supported by the Second Chance Coalition of families and even victims of juvenile lifers that would have outlawed JLWOP in Michigan.

Wayne County has the highest number of children sent to die in prison in Michigan; Michigan has the second highest number in the nation. 

Worthy allied herself with former Atty. General Bill Schuette in insisting that Miller was not retroactive, but SCOTUS ruled in Montgomery that it was. After that ruling, she filed motions to keep 41 percent of the County’s 144 juvenile lifers in prison until they die; 60 individuals plus three on “conditional” terms, and seek terms of years for 81  others. She added that  many of those with recommendations for terms of years would have recommendations higher than the minimum 25 years allowed under state statutes.

Charles Lewis in 1977 at age 17 with mother Rosie Lewis.

Since 2016, Wayne County juvenile lifers recommended for LWOP have fought a bitter uphill battle for their freedom.

VOD thoroughly covered the case of juvenile lifer Charles Lewis, publishing over 40 stories on nearly four years of re-sentencing hearings conducted by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard. During those years, as Lewis’ health and that of his mother continued to deteriorate, he fought unsuccessfully to have his conviction overturned due to the complete loss of his court file, under state precedential rulings.

Lewis was convicted in 1976 by racist Recorders Court Judge Joseph Maher   of the murder of a white off-duty Detroit police officer, based on the coerced testimony of three younger juveniles.

His frame-up and conviction occurred during a period in Detroit of virulent attacks on Black youth and their families by whites angered because Blacks were moving into their neighborhoods, and white cops angered because Black cops were entering the police force. He always maintained his innocence, but was eventually re-sentenced to 40-60 years after spending 42 years in prison, and released in 2018.

His immediate release after his re-sentencing, and the release of others in similar situations, were due only to a federal court ruling by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith that restored “good time” credits to re-sentenced juvenile lifers. That ruling was won by Atty. Deborah LaBelle and the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the face of inaction by the State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO), which Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny, then presiding judge of the criminal division, had appointed to represent indigent juvenile lifers.

William Garrison, shown in 2009 photo taken during prison visit.

Worthy continues to demonstrate complete callousness regarding juvenile lifers and others in the MDOC as the COVID-19 virus runs rampant through prison systems in Michigan and nationally.

On April 18, 2020, juvenile lifer William Garrison, who earlier was resentenced to a term of years and should have been released forthwith, died of COVID-19 in the Macomb Correctional Facility as he waited for Worthy’s office to register its formal approval of his release. A judge had ordered his release in January.

Garrison went to prison at the age of 16 in 1976, convicted of a murder during a robbery that went awry. He subsequently taught himself to read and write, studied the law, and became an advocate for other incarcerated persons.

See: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/04/18/, amichigan-prisons-coronavirus-infections-deaths-william-garrison/5156073002/,

Dozens of Ewing’s family members attended the protest July 2, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in blazing heat. They included many of his  young nieces and nephews, who chanted “Free Darrell,” “No Justice, No Peace, and “Corrupted Cops Affect Us All.”

Ewing’s fiancee Brentia Hudson (shown in video above), told VOD, “Darrell’s   whole family is here, his mother, his father, sisters and brothers and their kids,” said Hutson. “Darrell is innocent. The real person who committed the murder has come forward.”

Above, Prince Jones, also a member of Prisoners Doing the Right Thing, said, “I came down here in support of the protest, getting rid of Kym Worthy. Prisoners deserve better treatment and Kym Worthy is not the one who’s going to give it to us.”

Worthy’s office was due to submit their appellate brief with reasons why they still oppose a new trial for Ewing and Searcy July 2, after obtaining an extended deadline, but it has still not been filed, adding months to the delay in holding a new trial.
















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Bill would condition federal funding on whether states release eligible prisoners endangered by COVID-19 in U.S. prisons, jails

Introduced by Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Barbara Lee

 The top five clusters of the virus across the U.S. are all in prisons and jails

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) represents 13th District including Detroit.

COVID-19 continues to ravish jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers due to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and a lack of adequate healthcare. In fact, the top five clusters of the virus across the U.S. are all in prisons and jails, and cases keep rising.

Recently, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Barbara Lee have introduced the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act, which would condition federal funding on whether states release eligible incarcerated people, including those who are:

  • Awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime (likely just can’t afford bail)
  • In ICE detention
  • Pregnant or primary caregivers
  • Terminally ill, medically vulnerable to COVID-19 (including ages 55+), or have a disability
  • Nearing the end of their sentences
  • Serving misdemeanor sentences or possession/sale of a controlled substance
  • Incarcerated due to technical violation of parole/probation or a bench warrant for arrest (often due to a missed court appearance)
  • Status offenders (young people charged with an offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult.

This new legislation is in line with Michigan Liberation’s work to end mass incarceration and the unjust practice of cash bail, as well as the work we’ve done throughout the pandemic to bail people out of jail and then provide them ongoing support (in collaboration with other groups).

Let’s demonstrate mass support for this bill.

Become a grassroots co-signer of the

Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act today.



Michigan Liberation website               Email: deb@miliberation.org



Tlaib, Pressley, and Lee Introduce Bill Advancing the Dismantling of Mass Incarceration During COVID-19 Pandemic

June 18, 2020 

Press Release

U.S. Reo, Ayanna Pressley

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Barbara Lee (CA-09) introduced the landmark Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act, which would require the release of eligible individuals who are currently in custody in a jail or prison during the COVID-19 crisis and for one year after. It is the boldest piece of legislation introduced to date addressing the long-standing problem of mass incarceration that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The introduction of the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act comes amid dire warnings from public health experts and law enforcement officials working in state and local corrections facilities that overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, aging facilities and lack of ample medical care in prisons and jails are endangering the lives of incarcerated individuals, prison staff and their families and communities. Indeed, the number of infected incarcerated individuals doubled from May to June for a total of 68,000 known cases and a 73 percent increase in coronavirus-related deaths even as such rates plateau nationwide. The pandemic has also caused delays in trials and hearings, resulting in incarcerated individuals remaining in custody for longer periods of time—and unnecessarily vulnerable to the life-threatening virus.

“This pandemic should not be a death sentence for anyone,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “We already know that Black and Brown folks are disproportionately affected by this virus outside prison walls. We also know that they’ve been disproportionately incarcerated for decades. These factors make for a unique urgency to get this bill passed, so we ensure incarcerated individuals and their loved ones have a fighting chance to see each other again.”

U.S. Representative Barbara Lee

“Every human being, regardless of their involvement with the legal system, has the right to dignity and safety,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “But as we’ve feared since the onset of this public health crisis, our prisons and jails are proving to be major incubators of COVID-19, endangering the lives of millions of incarcerated individuals and corrections staff. We continue to be in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic that is claiming the lives of our most vulnerable. Public health is public safety, and in this moment, we must prioritize decarceration to save lives and protect communities before it is too late. Our bill will call on states across the country to do exactly that by tying eligibility for federal funding to the urgent release of medically vulnerable individuals. Involvement in the legal system should not be a death sentence due to COVID-19, and this bill can save lives.”

“Overcrowding, inadequate health care and unsanitary conditions make jail and prison populations especially vulnerable to this virus – and those conditions make it virtually impossible for jails and prisons to follow CDC guidelines,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Our system of mass incarceration disproportionately targets African Americans and other people of color, further compounding the disparity we are seeing in how the pandemic is affecting Americans. This virus should not be, and doesn’t have to be, a death sentence for incarcerated individuals, for corrections staff or for their families.”

The Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act is co-sponsored by ten of Congresswomen Tlaib, Pressley, and Lee’s colleagues: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Nydia M. Velazquez (NY-7), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Bobby L. Rush (IL-1), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-3). It’s also received the endorsement of such advocacy groups as The Movement for Black Lives, Civil Rights Corps, Lawyers for Civil Rights, Detroit Justice Center, Drug Policy Alliance, Public Citizen, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Michigan Liberation, organizations who have long been at the frontlines of fighting for an end to mass incarceration at the federal and local level.

Thea Sebastian

“Black people sit at the intersection of a pandemic and the public health crisis of incarceration,” said Movement for Black Lives Policy Table Leadership member Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson. “Both are taking our lives at alarming rates. Our communities know that jails and prisons make people sick, make mental health emergencies worse, and produce medical vulnerabilities. An honest public health response to this crisis requires us to challenge this society’s attachment to incarceration.

“Even before COVID-19 upended American life, mass incarceration was devastating communities nationwide,”  said Thea Sebastian, Policy Counsel for Civil Rights Corps. “But with this pandemic, jails and prisons have become even more life-threatening for the 2.3 million people incarcerated – and a key source of virus transmission that leaves all people less safe. The Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act is a crucial first step toward achieving the immediate decarceration that our communities so desperately need.”

The Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act would apply to all states receiving federal funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant Program. Adults and juveniles in jail or prison for the following reasons would be deemed eligible for immediate release under the legislation:

  • Have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial
  • Bench warrant for arrest or technical violation of parole or probation
  • Those with misdemeanors or are status offenders
  • Possession or sale of a controlled substance
  • Those being detained on ICE detainers
  • Those who are pregnant or are primary caregivers
  • Those who are terminally ill, are medically vulnerable to COVID-19, or have a disability
  • Senior (ages 55+)
  • Those nearing the end of their sentences
  • Other low-risk inmates

The full text of the bill can be read here.

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Read VOD”s story on the race at this site July 1.

               Voice of Detroit endorses

VICTORIA BURTON-HARRIS FOR WAYNE                                             COUNTY PROSECUTOR

            WHY?  Full story will be posted here July 3





Banner at #DetroitWillBreathe Tribunal June 20, 2020

Video above courtesy of #DetroitWillBreathe showing events (1) June 2 Gratiot/Conner (2) downtown Detroit (3) photos from various marches 

Public Tribunal, held June 20 by #DetroitWillBreathe, tried DPD Chief James Craig, Mayor Mike Duggan

Protesters say battalions of  Detroit police in riot gear with armored vehicles confronted peaceful demos with brute force May 28 — June 19, 2020

Allege DPD used rubber bullets leading to grave injuries, tear gas, pepper spray, brutal beatings, noise torture, sexual abuse

Detroit City Council to discuss, vote on resolution to drop all charges against protesters Mon. June 28 and Tues. June 29 

During tribunal, DPD  announced suspension of one officer, 11 formal incident investigations for excessive force 

Duggan, Craig previously denied all allegations, blamed outside agitators

By Diane Bukowski

June 26, 2020

Detroit Police Chief James Craig (l) with Mayor Mike Duggan (r) at earlier press conference,

Hundreds massed in downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza June 20 to try Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig for orchestrating the brutal abuse of #BlackLivesMatter protesters over the previous 23 days. The protests, held  in downtown Detroit and throughout its neighborhoods, were part of a global uprising after Minneapolis police murdered #GeorgeFloyd May 25 this year.

The tribunal was called by #DetroitWillBreathe, a coalition led by long-time activists and new arrivals, many of them youthful. #DWB has emerged as the driving force in the local movement against the police state.

“What they did to us was on a perfect example of what we were protesting against,” Dwayne, a daily marcher, said. “They showed up in military gear to stop our voices, but our voices are powerful—power is in the movement. We are family, brothers and sisters.”

Part of the hundreds who attended the #DWB Tribunal June 20, 2020.

Speakers said the DPD attacked their peaceful protests beginning with the first day, on May 28 in downtown Detroit.

Duggan and Craig massed battalions of hundreds of police in riot gear aided by armored vehicles, which deployed tear gas as they approached marchers, then waded into them and carried out arrests without provocation.

Many said they were brutally beaten, pepper sprayed, tortured with loud siren noise and verbal and sexual abuse, and painfully handcuffed with zip ties that cut off their circulation. They were held en masse with no outside contact in the basement of Little Caesar’s Arena on the hot night of June 2, after challenging a curfew imposed by Duggan in Detroit’s east-side Gratiot/Conner neighborhood.

Charges were brought against hundreds of them, with #DWB organizer Tristan Taylor sustaining felony charges of “inciting to riot.” The Detroit City Council is to discuss and vote on a resolution to drop all charges against the protesters Mon. June 29, and Tues. June 30.

Protesters included Ellie, a young mother and well-known hip-hop artist, who said, “It was a war going on in my own city.”

Ellie referred to the reaction of Detroit City Council members, who condemned the protesters for marching at their residences June 15 against the body’s proposed renewal of  a contract with Data Works Plus, which provides facial recognition technology used in DPD’s “Green Light'” program. Farmington Hills resident Robert Williams, represented by the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the DPD June 24 for false arrest illegally using a “Green Light” video capture.

See https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/06/25/detroit-police-challenged-over-face-recognition-flaws-bias-in-case-of-robert-williams/.

Many protesters testified that the DPD  brutally beat them repeatedly, not to arrest them  for violating a temporary curfew imposed by Mayor Duggan, but to punish them and scare them off. But they added  that the attacks only further strengthened their will to fight.

#DWB co-chair Nakia Wallace countered Duggan and Craig’s depiction of protesters as “outside agitators” not residing in Detroit, and mainly white. (In fact, 60 percent of Detroit’s police force lives outside the city.)

Duggan and Craig claimed the protesters were not welcome in Detroit’s neighborhoods, but Metro Times reporter Steve Neavling said earlier in a story that residents in the 12th and Clairmount neighborhood on Detroit’s west side, where the 1967 rebellion against police brutality began, enthusiastically welcomed them on the third day of marches (below).Photos: Steve Neavling

Below, Jae Bass vividly described his awakening during the protests.

“They sent an army of hundreds of officers dressed in riot gear, shields and tanks against non-violent protesters,” Bass said.

Dwayne, a resident of southwest Detroit.  backed up Bass’ description of the events June 2 when protesters marched on Detroit’s eastside in the Gratiot/Conner neighborhood. He said that he was just beginning to come to terms with what had happened to him and others, after marching every day for the last weeks without a break.

Dwayne speaks at DWB tribunal June 20, 2020.

He said the DPD brutally beat him and other protesters without provocation. (See #DWB video at top of article.)

(Quote below is liberally taken from Detroit Free Press live stream video at bottom of story; VOD’s camera had run out of power.)

“They basically cut us off and trapped us in,” Dwayne recalled. “But we weren’t going anywhere, the curfew was simply to target us. They lined up in front of us, looking for a fight.  They had batons, riot gear, armored trucks, they didn’t give us a choice. Hundreds of police officers ran in with batons swinging—not trying to grab nobody—just hitting.  I was slammed on the ground, lost a shoe. One took my mask off and sprayed me again and again, then sprayed water on me for a photo op. We got on the police bus and they turned on the heat with all the windows up, like being in a fire. People in there had tear gas and pepper spray in their eyes. They literally could not breathe at all.

“We were on the bus for about 45 minutes. I demanded that they cut my zip ties off, because I couldn’t feel my fingers, they were discolored, there was blood all over my seat from my hands. They really tried everything in their power to break us, but people on the buses kept up high spirits, kept chanting, we could not stop. When we got to Little Caesars, we saw our brothers laid out there and chanted loudly, ‘No justice, no peace!’ How is that any kind of a justice system at all? They didn’t think we were going to come back harder the next days, but they showed us what we were down there for, and we did. We went from 127 arrested to thousands of us. For all those that said it couldn’t  happen in Detroit, it did.”

Kate, another marcher arrested during the Gratiot/Conner protest June 2, recounted Detroit police officers repeatedly calling her a B—h while beating her to the ground, slamming her head on a curb, before zip-tying her hands behind her and loading her onto the DPD bus.

Stephen, a resident of Detroit’s Woodbridge neigborhood, also observed abuse of women during those arrests. He said he saw a woman protester come off the police bus at Little Caesar’s Arena “with one shoe, and no pants.” recounted the DPD’s use of a siren-like device which they aimed directly at the protesters, reminiscent of tortures used by the CIA during interrogations.

“They started blasting us with this long-range device,” Stephen said. “You worry you’re going to lose your hearing and you’re just  experiencing nothing but pain. It’s a fear tactic and it works. I was terrified. They were standing around ten feet away, banging on their shields looking at us intimidating us.  We were gradually surrounded.  I kept my arms at my side—hopefully to get out of there without being beaten, but an officer grabbed me on my shoulders, and kneed me in the balls. Several more officers began beating me including in my lower back. lower back. We were loaded into a van and taken to Little Caesars. I was among the first at Little Caesar’s, and one of the things that I saw was a young woman being taken off the bus with one shoe and no pants.”

Stephen said he regrets not saying something at the time, but that he and others are hoping to bring her plight forward now.

The DPD used rubber bullets that severely injured at least one protester, fracturing her skull from behind, #DWB leader Tristan Taylor said. He also countered Duggan and Craig’s claims that protesters were not from Detroit, noting that they said one protester had Tennessee license plates.  Taylor said she was Black and living in Detroit at the time, but that many newly-arrived young people have found the need to continue using records that save them from paying Detroit’s exorbitant car insurance rates.

Below is the Free Press’ livestream video of part one of the June 20 tribunal.


DETROIT CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON RESOLUTION TO DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST PROTESTERS: SESSIONS JUNE 28 AND JUNE 29; watch online, send online letters of support to Council members (info below)

  • Over 400 nonviolent protesters were arrested by DPD for exercising their constitutional rights to protest. Many more were subjected to police brutality, torture and excessive use of force.
  • Most protesters were given tickets for “loitering” in violation of Mayor Duggan’s unjust 8PM curfew between May 29th and June 2nd. Mayor Duggan is not our daddy and does not have the right to give us a curfew.
  • Without the curfew DPD would have had no grounds to arrest protesters. There have been almost no incidents of property damage by protesters, in contrast to protests in other cities.
  • The City of Detroit has the power to drop all the charges NOW. City Council must pass this resolution as the first step to making that happen.

Watch online by using https://detroitmi.gov/government/city-council and clicking on Channel 10.

 To attend online: https://cityofdetroit.zoom.us/j/330332554

To send letters to Council members:


March on Livonia Police Department Tues. June 30, 2020


“Marches, Assemblies and a Public Tribunal: How Detroit Activists are building power,” from Left Voice, a national newspaper at  https://www.leftvoice.org/.

Marches, Assemblies, and a Public Tribunal: How Detroit Activists Are Building Power

Free Detroit Activist Tristan Taylor! Drop all Charges!



VOICE OF DETROIT has published countless stories recounting the actions of Detroit’s police state under Chief Craig, which counter the mainstream media’s current love affair with him. Its recent story on DPD’s suffocation death of Anthony Clark-Reed in 2015 lists many cases of apparent DPD murders and other brutality that have occurred since Craig took office in 2013. Below are VOD’s other recent related stories.





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