Driver of car, Lorenzo Harris, faces exam on multiple felony charges
His parole was for possession of ecstasy, served 7 yrs.
Family members, neighbors say cops should be charged as well
#PoliceBrutality, #StopPoliceChases #JusticeforMakiahMichaelangelo, #policeviolence, #blacklivesmatter, #blacklivesmatterDetroit, #policechase, #pursuit, #saveourchildren, #thisstopstoday , #MMCare, #Beatbackthebullies
By Diane Bukowski
July 12, 2015
DETROIT – The three cops alleged to have bumped the car that hit and killed two young children, Makiah and Michaelangelo Jackson, 3 and 6 respectively, on June 24, are scheduled to testify against the driver of the Camaro, Lorenzo Harris, in court Mon. July 13, 2015, according to an article in the Detroit News.
The cops are Richard Billingslea, Steven Fultz, and Hakeem Patterson. They will appear in the courtroom of Judge Shannon Holmes in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice at 1:30 p.m. to testify at the preliminary examination of the car’s driver, Lorenzo Harris.
“[The police] were right on their rear, the police car bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up in the air,” a direct eyewitness standing with Makiah at the time told VOD during a community vigil June 26. “There was no need for the police to be that close. I yelled ‘WATCH OUT’ but it was too late. When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me. They screamed. It just keeps re-playing in my head.”
The police appeared to have used an official maneuver called a “Precision Immobiliation Technique,” or PIT. Subsequently, Detroit Police Chief James Craig reported that the dashboard camera in the police car was mysteriously not operable, even though the cops were “Special Ops,” and that police were not able to find a gun they claimed they saw in the car being chased.
Several others at the vigil confirmed the original witness’s statement. They added that the car then hit the light pole at the corner of Nottingham and Frankfort and careened down the next block, hitting and seriously injuring Darius Andrews, Jr. 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7. Neighbors said the cops were still in close pursuit.
“I feel that if they had anything to do with it, they should be held just as responsible as the driver,” said Ronald Antczak, fiancé of the children’s grandmother Nicole Jackson.
Denice Hill, a cousin of Zyaire Gardner and relative to the other injured children, said after the Jackson children’s funeral, “The police should have got charged because they could have stopped the chase. There are nothing but a bunch of kids playing during the day all the way down Nottingham.”
She said that Zyaire remained hospitalized in Ann Arbor with collapsed lungs, on a ventilator, and was expected to remain there for at least three months.
“Somebody needs to ask the police why they lied about this and said they called off the chase,” another relative told VOD. “They want us to respect them, but they don’t respect us. They chase everybody.”
Maria Miller, Communications officer for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, told VOD July 1, “We have not received anything from DPD regarding the officers; we are not conducting an investigation at this time. We have no further comments because there is a pending case against the driver of the car.”
Harris faces two counts of second-degree murder, three counts of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon (CCW), two felony firearms charges, three counts of Failure to Stop At Scene of a Serious personal Injury Accident and two counts of failure to stop at the scene when at fault, causing death, three counts of reckless driving causing serious bodily impairment, and two counts of fleeing police officers, first degree.
According to court records, Harris previously served seven years in prison for possession of the drug ecstasy, out of a 6 mo.—10 year sentence imposed in 2006. He was paroled on Aug. 22, 2013, to end March 20, 2016.
In 2011, a federal judge ruled that sentencing for ecstasy-related crimes is based on “selective and incomplete” evidence and “that it punishes Ecstasy-related crimes far more harshly than is scientifically justified,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Police in the June 24 chase, however, are heard on the audiotape published in the Detroit News article referring to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon (CCW), not ecstasy possession. (Hear audio below. Note police sirens are not heard until midway through the audio. Were they on at the beginning of chase to warn residents away?)
Harris completed three probation sentences for a variety of crimes in 2005 and 2006, and was found not guilty by a jury of carrying a concealed weapons and two other firearms charges, in 2008.
During a somber, sorrowful funeral for Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson July 2, a young woman sang “The Rose,” a heart-rending song whose lyrics are in the video at the end of this story, along with copies of the obituary. Bertha Matthews read some of numerous cards sent to the family, including a personal letter from Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware, and a card from DTE workers who evidently worked with one of the family members.
Weeping, a young man said, “Our lives are turned upside down. I was there with the witnesses. I had just had Michael on my lap before it happened, and a part of me got left with him. My little brother cracked up when he saw our babies yesterday. I love these kids, I wish it had been me instead.”
BELOW, JOAN BAEZ SINGS “THE ROSE.” A BEAUTIFUL RENDITION OF THE SONG WAS GIVEN BY A YOUNG WOMAN DURING THE FUNERAL.
REMAINDER OF OBITUARY PAGES (COVER AT TOP)
(Click on Jackson children obituary.compressed for full PDF copy.)