STATE CONSTITUTION (EXCERPT) CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN OF 1963 § 46 Death penalty.
Sec. 46. No law shall be enacted providing for the penalty of death.
STOP COVID-19 DEATH PENALTY IN MICH. PRISONS!
From Detroit Detention Ctr. to Muskegon CF, coronavirus rates rapidly rising, 68 deaths in state; 608 MCF prisoners test positive, half of population
Wayne County Deputy Sheriff’s death, uprisings at Chippewa, Marquette Correctional Facilities: related to COVID-19 stress?
Families and advocates say Gov. Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, and state task forces have not acted to stem the tide: “Michigan has no death penalty”
Class action lawsuits for MDOC, Oakland and Wayne County Jails stalled by government officials, spending tax $$$ on continuing confinement, not care
DE-CARCERATE NOW! Pandemic safety impossible in prisons, jails
By Diane Bukowski
September 14, 2020
LARKSPUR, CA – MAY 9: A demonstrator waits in her car before a rolling protest caravan departs for the west gate of San Quentin State Prison to demand more protection for prisoners against the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Larkspur, Calif. on Saturday, May 9, 2020. (Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
DETROIT — “We’re really concerned about the quiet within the [prisons] because that is a signal that there’s potential trouble on the rise.”–Troy Rienstra, Nation Outside, Lansing, Michigan April 16, 2020
This month, Wayne Co. Deputy Sheriff Bryant Searcy was killed by a prisoner in the Wayne County Jail Sept. 2, only the second such death in the jail’s history.
Two weeks later, up to 100 prisoners at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula seized control of their unit Sept. 13 for several hours after a fight during which a guard tasered one of them, causing him to lose consciousness. State Department of Corrections officials called in U.S. Customs and the Michigan State Police to quell the uprising.
Earlier on the same day as the Chippewa uprising, a guard at the Marquette Branch Prison, also in the Upper Peninsula, was reportedly treated for a head wound and a concussion after trying to break up a spreading fight there.
Leopold Allen Jr.: “I feel like I’m just waiting to die.” MDOC photo
“I feel as though I’m waiting to die,” Leopold Allen, Jr., a prisoner at Muskegon Correctional Facility who tested positive for COVID-19, said as families of prisoners there rallied outside in August month.
His girlfriend Tangela Dooley of Detroit said that he and 30 other prisoners who tested positive were put in a garage with bunk beds there to isolate them.
Elsewhere, prisoners who test positive or are suspected of being sick are being placed in solitary confinement under punitive conditions, Bridge Magazine reported Aug. 24,
An investigation by Bridge partner Outlier Media said such individuals are also placed in ‘cohorts’ that allow the virus to spread to the healthy, confirming reports by many MDOC prisoners that mass facility-to-facility transfers of sick individuals are taking place.
Edmund Fields/MDOC photo
“Inmates such as Edmund Fields said they were stripped of their property, denied communication with loved ones and moved into rooms with just a toilet and bunk for 24 hours per day,” Bridge reported.
“Fields spent 14 days starting on April 29 in isolation after his roommate at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer tested positive for COVID-19. He was allowed 30 minutes outside his cell every other day.”
Bridge quoted Fields, “Why are we being treated as if we’re deserving of punishment for contracting or being in close contact to this disease? Even guys in [solitary] are typically afforded an opportunity to go outside and get some air.”
On Aug. 28, the union representing guards at the MDOC called for the removal of MDOC Director Heidi Washington over the administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in the prison. The Michigan Corrections Organization said, “Unfortunately, we are at a point where the current work conditions are unacceptable for our members.”
Washington has been director since 2015, one of only a few officials Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kept from former Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration.
On Aug. 13, members of the Detroit People’s Task Force protested outside the Detroit Detention Facility regarding the COVID pandemic in the prisons.
DPTF chair Marilyn Jordan, whose son is serving a life term in the MDOC, said her organization and others have not heard from either Gov. Whitmer or Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II regarding concerns for their loved ones inside the walls. She said she has been unable even to call Gilchrist at his own phone number, instead calls to him are routed through Whitmer’s office. (See video below.)
Whitmer appointed Gilchrist as chair of her Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Coronavirus Pandemic, and as co-chair of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.
Jordan called on Whitmer and Gilchrist to “Fix the COVID-19 in the Prisons,” recalling her campaign slogan “Fix the Damn Roads.”
Whitmer’s most recent order addresses important issues including the provision of personal protective equipment and adequate bathing and laundry rules, but does not address de-carceration.
Whitmer rescinded her first order, which said,
“Anyone authorized to act under section 2 of this order is strongly encouraged to consider early release for all of the following, so long as they do not pose a public safety risk: older people, people who have chronic conditions or are otherwise medically frail, people who are pregnant, and people nearing their release date; anyone who is incarcerated for a traffic violation; anyone who is incarcerated for failure to appear or failure to pay; anyone with behavioral health problems who can safely be diverted for treatment.”
De-carceration is a key demand raised by prisoner advocacy groups nationally, who say that it is not possible to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in overcrowded prisons and jails because measures like social distancing are impossible.
A webinar being held in Michigan Sept. 21 (see photo at right) will feature: Jose Hamza Saldaña, Director of Release Aging People in Prison, survived 38 years of imprisonment; Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy; Sharif A. Hamid, survivor of the ’71 Attica Uprising and Massacre; and Roslyn Smith, survived 39 years of imprisonment.
During a car caravan in Lansing April 15, the Michigan advocacy group Nation Outside raised a list of de-carceration demands, including:
Suspension of Michigan’s Truth in Sentencing Law, which could allow the release of 3,000 to 5,000 prisoners with good behavior. The law requires prisoners to serve their entire minimum sentence before parole consideration.
Grant emergency special commutations.
Waive the two-year requirement between filings for commutation.
Expedite the parole process.
Convene a task force to evaluate other emergency measures.
Nation Outside organizer Troy Rienstra, who served 22 years in the MDOC, told MLive reporter Malachi Barrett at the time, “We’re really concerned about the quiet within the population because that is a signal that there’s potential trouble on the rise.” (https://www.nationoutside.org/)
But after the caravan, Whitmer said “there was nothing she could do” to release more prisoners, other than instituting paroles in a “timely manner.”
The parole process in Michigan has been notorious ever since former Gov. John Engler eliminated Civil Service employees on the parole board, and replaced them with appointees. The first Engler-appointed parole board director, former Berrien County Sheriff Stephen Marschke, said, “Life means life,” referring to 2nd-degree, or “parolable lifers,” who were eligible for parole after 10 to 15 years.
The U.S. is the only country in the world that practices “death by incarceration,” sending people to prison until they die. Most others allow parole consideration after 10-15 years.
William Garrison in a 2009 photo from family visit.
The parole process for eligible prisoners from Wayne County has been further restricted because Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy will not waive a 28-day waiting period imposed after parole has been granted. She claims her office must contact the victims or their families of prisoners set for parole, although that is already done at the state level during parole board hearings.
On April 18, William Garrison, a juvenile lifer who was expecting his release within weeks, died from the coronavirus at Macomb Correctional Facility, one of the state’s four prisons with the highest COVID-19 rate of infections. Garrison had spent 44 years in prison since the age of 17 and had a good record. He was scheduled to be paroled as a juvenile lifer earlier, but chose to wait until he had served enough time to max out and be released.
The order to parole him as a result of that choice came in March, but he was still waiting for Worthy’s office to approve it because of the 28-day waiver.
The State of Michigan was the first English-speaking governmental entity in the world to abolish the death penalty, in 1847, as confirmed in the Michigan Constitution of 1963. But thousands of prisoners in Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) and county jails fear they may die from COVID-19 behind the walls.
So far, the MDOC reports that 68 confined there have died from the coronavirus. That is the fifth highest number among state prison systems in the U.S.
Michigan has the seventh highest number of cases nationally, with 5,308 positive cases, according to a database maintained by the Marshall Project. That is 1,543 for every 10,000 prisoners in a total population of 41,000, higher than the rate in in California, whose DOC has a population of 117,000. There, the rate is 1109 per 10,000.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials told a federal judge in late July that they planned to release a total of 17,600 prisoners because of the COVID-19 threat, up from an earlier estimate of 10,400.
Many objected, including Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz, who said he would bock the release of about 5,500, some of them serving life prison sentences.
During the Aug. 13 protest by the DPTF at the Detroit Detention Center on Mound Round (formerly MDOC Mound Correctional Facility), a DPTF member Darrly Bracey, who had spent time there after his arrest, but was not later charged, described horrendous conditions including sleeping on the floor with dozens of others who had not been screened for COVID-19, and lack of sanitation (see video above).
All individuals arrested in Wayne County are sent to the Detention Center before being charged and arraigned. Bracey reported that individuals are being held there longer than the 48-hour limit set by the U.S. Supreme Court in County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991).
Class action lawsuits on behalf of prisoners in jails including those in Wayne and Oakland Counties, and the MDOC who are endangered by COVID-19 were filed earlier this year, but are currently stalled in the appeals process while prisoners continue to die. The appellate process is costing taxpayers money that could be used to remedy conditions in such facilities as well as communities.
On April 11, 2020, several men in the old Wayne County Jail sent out an appeal that went viral regarding conditions there. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said afterwards that he is addressing the conditions prisoners reported.
One Sheriff’s representative said however that the video was being researched to see who sent it, and that it appeared prisoners were using an illegal “burner” cell phone for the video. However, the mother of the son who sent it said that it was recorded on a jail station set up to allow video visits since in-person visits have been banned during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Relatives of some of those shown in the video reported that they had been placed in solitary confinement or sent to other facilities. One said her son is still in the Wayne County Jail awaiting trial far past speedy trial requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions on court hearings. She said he reports that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is being sent to the Dickerson Jail.
DETROIT– In a resounding ruling Sept. 4, U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Michelson enjoined the Detroit Police Department from further use of beatings, tear gas, rubber bullets, chokeholds and mass arrests against Detroit Will Breathe protesters for the next 14 to 28 days.
DWB responded that the ruling is “… a victory to be sure, but it is the first battle in what’s about to be a long war.”
In the wake of the court ruling, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), State Sen. Stephanie Chang, and Detroit City Council Members Mary Sheffield and Raquel Castañeda-López sent a letter Sept. 8 to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and the City of Detroit Board of Police Commissioners demanding an immediate “full and independent” probe into the DPD’s alleged use of excessive force as cited by Judge Michelson.
But Craig and BOPC chairman Willie Bell continued to “gaslight” (as DWB leader Tristan Taylor said) both the federal Judge’s TRO and the letter from national and local leaders, denying all allegations without further investigation.
Judge Michelson ruled on a motion for a temporary restraining order filed by Detroit Will Breathe and 14 individual plaintiffs Aug. 31.
Her opinion validated the claims of hundreds of local participants, Black and white, largely youthful, in an ongoing global uprising against police violence sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25.
The ruling landed on the eve of the 100th day of daily marches, just hours after Detroit Police Chief James Craig called protesters “outsiders, agitators and in some instances domestic terrorists,” as he spoke outside DPD headquarters downtown.
Protesters under arrest in the streets during police attack Aug. 22, 2020 Photo: Adam J. Dewey
Judge Michelson addressed various affidavits and exhibits presented by the plaintiffs.
Police beating of DWB medic Alexander Anest Aug. 22, 202
She said, “One of the affidavits contains Instagram links to video footage of an encounter between police and protestors on August 22, 2020. This video footage appears to show a line of Detroit police officers, dressed in riot gear and armed with batons, standing several feet away from protestors who can be heard chanting, ‘we don’t see no riots here, so why are you in riot gear?’
“This continues for several minutes. Then, suddenly, the officers appear to throw tear gas canisters into the crowd of protestors.
Kevin Kwart, severely beaten by cops after he offered shelter to protesters fleeing them.
“The police officers then advance on the crowd and grab, shove, and use batons to beat people standing at the front of the group. There is also footage of officers pursuing individuals who are running or walking away from the chaos, apparently not posing any threat, and violently shoving them into the ground or a building.”
She noted that she is not alone in issuing the temporary restraining order requested.
“Court notes that in issuing a TRO, it joins the approach taken by its sister courts in a number of cities who have analyzed similar claims and issued similar injunctions.”
Judge Michelson cited orders issued by judges across the U.S., including “Don’t Shoot Portland; Black Lives Matter Seattle; Anti Police-Terror Project v. City of Oakland.” (cites omitted.)
DWB co-organizer Nakia Wallace in chokehold during protest July 10, 2010 v. police execution of Hakim Littleton.
Plaintiff’s attorney Amanda Ghannam, speaking at a press conference Aug. 31, said the DPD, with the tacit consent of the City of Detroit under Mayor Mike Duggan, had continuously attacked peaceful protesters in downtown Detroit and throughout its neighborhoods without any provocation. She said the attacks began the first day of protests May 29 and continued through the night of Aug. 22.
In addition to Detroit Will Breathe, the lawsuit named individual plaintiffs: Tristan Taylor, Nakia Wallace, Jazten Bass, Lauren Rosen, Lauryn Brennan, Amy Nahabedian, Zachary Kolodziej, Lauren Branch, Lillian Ellis, Olivia Puente, Iman Saleh, Margaret Henige, Caylee Arnold, And Alexander Anest.
It contains shocking photos and accounts of the attacks on individual plaintiffs, which it says resulted in severe injuries whose effects sometimes lasted for weeks. They included fractures and other effects from beatings (e.g. broken pelvis, broken ribs, collapsed lung, blackened eyes), severe injuries from rubber bullets, concussions resulting in nausea, difficulty sleeping, and confusion for days, and others.
Judge Michelson’s order lent strength to demands that Chief Craig resign, presented by Detroit Will Breathe in coalition with 35 other civil rights groups at a press conference Sept. 3.
Speakers at the event condemned not only the brutality against protesters, but the validity of Craig’s blanket claims justifying the killing of Hakim Littleton July 10, and three subsequent shootings of Detroiters, two of them fatal, by Detroit police during the two and one-half weeks after Littleton was executed.
“Right now in Detroit you cannot believe the kind of stress and the fear put on our communities by the Detroit Police Department,” Darryl Jordan, co-director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), said at the event Sept. 3.
“Just a little while ago, we had four people shot, three people dead, in two-and-a-half weeks. That’s not right. . .you know people who are suspect of crimes don’t supposed to get the death penalty in the streets. People who are out here just exercising their constitutional rights don’t supposed to get beat up, gassed and just pushed all around. We all need to rise up and do what we need to do.” Statement by coalition is at:
Craig later called protesters “outsiders, agitators, in some instances domestic terrorists,” in a report published on WWJ Radio. (See above.)
In response to the groups’ demand, Craig said he was not “going anywhere.” He told Detroit News reporter George Hunter that he questions whether Detroit Will Breathe intends to be peaceful, citing a video of an earlier march posted on their Facebook page.
Craig pointed out the following comments to Hunter, who quoted them.
“It’s a lot of m—–f—— who are ready for a fight, and if we don’t prepare for that fight before these cops continue to escalate, because they will, then somebody is going to die, and there’s going to be a war, and we won’t be prepared. We need to start planning to be less nice to the police. . . They need a deterrent.”
Enhancement of DPD video shows execution of Hakim Littleton with bullet #10 July 10, 2020.
In fact, comments by Jordan and the unidentified protester are likely reactions to an alarming explosion of police terror across the U.S., involving both local law enforcement agencies and federal agents operating in a dozen cities including Detroit, under U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Operation Legend.”
DPD Chief Craig has unequivocally endorsed the agents’ presence in Detroit, where OL representatives announced that they have so far racked up 44 arrests on various charges.
Detroit Gang Squad Police who executed Hakim Littleton July 10 were serving a federal warrant on another youth, Darnell Sylvester, when Littleton happened on the scene. Sylvester was later released on a $10,000 bond by a Federal judge in Detroit, with instructions to appear in the North Dakota District Court, where the warrant originated. To date, no further action has been posted on the federal court PACER website.
WOMEN LAWMAKERS JOIN JUDGE; CALL CRAIG, DUGGAN TO ACCOUNT IN LETTER DEMANDING INDEPENDENT PROBE INTO DPD VIOLENCE
State Sen. Stephanie Chang, City Council members Raquel Castañeda-López and Mary Sheffield, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib AP file photos
Just as DPD Chief Craig denounced the federal court restraining order issued by Judge Michelson (a woman), he and Board of Police Commissioners Chairman Willie Bell have also written off a letter they received Sept. 8 calling for an independent probe into the DPD’s violence against protesters, sent by higher government officials including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Michigan State Rep. Stephanie Chang, along with Detroit City Council members Raquel Castañeda-López and Mary Sheffield.
BOPC Chair Willie Bell
Mayor Duggan, Craig
“We are writing to request an immediate full, independent investigation of the Detroit Police Department’s use of excessive force against protestors, legal observers and journalists in recent months,” the women wrote.
“The right to demonstrate, without fear of violence, incarceration or intimidation from law enforcement, is at the core of our democracy. . .We urge an immediate independent investigation of any and all use of excessive physical force or intimidation against protestors, journalists, or legal observers at all Detroit Will Breathe protests and other related events.”
FILE – In this July 30, 2020, file photo, a demonstrator is pepper sprayed shortly before being arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, challenging the legality of the actions taken by U.S. agents sent by President Donald Trump to subdue protests in Portland. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
National Public Radio (NPR) published a review of federal charges against 74 protesters in Portland Oregon.
A bloodied demonstrator is arrested by federal police during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland, Ore. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)
They quoted Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf : “‘We’ve seen about 300 arrests across this country regarding civil unrest and protest, violent protesting, I’d say criminal protesting, criminal rioting. About 100 of those have been in Portland specifically, and I know the Department of Justice has charged about 74 or 75 individuals in Portland there with different federal crimes.'”
“But an NPR review of the federal cases brought in Portland shows that the majority of the charges are for what could be considered minor offenses.
Michael Reinoehl at protest outside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s residence. Credit The Oregonian
On Sept. 3, a “federal fugitive task force” killed Michael Reinoehl, a father of two children, in Lacey, Washington, in a hail of bullets for the shooting death of Aaron J.Danielson.
Danielson was one of a brigade of armed supporters of U.S. Pres. Donald Trump, who clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.
The task force has refused to identify the cops responsible for Reinoehl’s killing, saying they will do so after an investigation is complete. They have also refused to release bodycam videos.
Reinoehl never admitted to the action but said it was necessary self-defense, in a video posted on Vice News days before he was killed, which likely outed him to the authorities.
Reinoehl had worked security for the Portland Black Lives Matter protesters for months. The New York Times quoted a close friend, Randle McCorkle, who said, “Nightly, he would break up fights. He wanted change so badly.”
He added that he hoped his death would bring more BLM protesters out. “’I was going to say radicalize, but galvanize is a better word,” he said. “Honestly, I’m going to try to step into his shoes.’”
Vigil for Manuel Vega Sept. 5 after he was killed by Chicago police. Telemundo TV Chicago
On Sept. 1, Chicago police shot Manuel Vega, 20, in the back of the head, killing him, in the city’s Pilsen district. They claimed a group of men had just shot at them and they were returning fire, but Vega’s family and neighbors denied that Vega had shot at the police, holding a vigil and march afterwards.
Craig claimed this white Kia’s occupants fired at police.
That killing recalls DPD Chief James Craig’s immediate reaction to gunshots allegedly fired at Detroit police Aug. 27, outside a motel at Telegraph and McNichols.
He said three individuals in a white Kia carried out the shootings, then sped away and crashed. The Kia was not spotted until an hour afterwards. Two of the individuals were arrested and taken to the hospital. DPD and federal agents are still seeking the other unnamed individual, whose photo they posted. Meanwhile, news media posted another photo of a different vehicle that had crashed and was thought to be the one involved.
Nothing further has been released by DPD, just as no further information has been forthcoming on the police killings of Hakim Littleton and two other men in a three-week period in July, 2020.
Video below was published by Detroit Will Breathe on their Facebook page. ARE THESE DOMESTIC TERRORISTS AS CHIEF CRAIG CALLED THEM?
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Video analysis by Detroit Coalition for Police Accountability of Littleton’s execution available again (above) after censorship by FB, other platforms
Despite earlier claim that DPD continuing investigation of Littleton’s death, Craig now ramps up attack on him, other DPD victims with innuendo, falsehoods
Cites charges brought against Littleton 3 years ago when he was still a juvenile; Littleton had no other record when DPD gang squad killed him.
By Diane Bukowski
August 31, 2020
Hakim Littleton (family photo)
DETROIT — A video analysis by the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (C-PAT) of police bodycam videos showing the execution of Hakim Littleton, 20, by Detroit Gang Squad police on July 10, 2020, is once again available.
Facebook and other platforms earlier blocked the publication of the video, causing it to be erased from VOD’s earlier stories. VOD is now re-publishing it.
C-PAT analyzed two separate bodycam videos side by side, and identified 10 shots fired. Craig claimed police fired four and Littleton fired four, totaling eight. The 10th shot was to Hakim’s head at point-blank range, as he lay already wounded on the ground with a cop sitting on top of him.
Littleton had happened on the cops clad in bullet-proof vests, brandishing assault weapons, as they arrested another youth on Detroit’s west side. Littleton’s death sparked uprisings in the neighborhood and a mass protest outside DPD’s 12th Precinct.
Hakim Littleton’s Uncle Asar Amen-Ra speaks at press conference July 23.
To date, DPD Chief James Craig has not released the names of the cops involved in Littleton’s killing, forensics evidence, or any other pertinent information demanded by community advocates.
Complete information including names of all involved in three other DPD shootings, two fatal, in the weeks subsequent to Littleton’s death also remains undisclosed.
The Detroit News published a story Aug. 13 on the call by 15 community organizations for an investigation into Littleton’s death, providing the full C-PAT video through an obscure link.
The story included a family photo of Littleton, but the News reverted to its previous use of a three-year-old Michigan Department of Corrections photo of Littleton in its Aug. 29 story on conflicts between DPD and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office over plea bargains. (See link at bottom of this story.)
In the video above, Channel 7 cited the DPD response to C-PAT’s claims, which noted it was still under investigation and regretted any loss of life, evidently backing off from Craig’s boast that Littleton’s killing was completely justified.
But the Aug. 29 News story renewed the attack on Littleton, reporting Craig’s claim that Littleton and other “violent criminals” like him should never have been given plea deals and probation.
Protest July 10 after death of Hakim Littleton.
“Three years before the incident [the police killing of Littleton), Littleton was charged with armed robbery, which carries up to a life sentence, but he cut a plea deal that kept him out of prison,” reporter George Hunter wrote.
“Littleton’s case is an example of an ongoing problem, Craig said. ‘We arrest these violent criminals, but in so many cases they get a plea deal and go back on the street to commit more crimes, and then everyone blames the police if crime goes up,’ the police chief said.”
DPD Chief James Craig and cops in one of 18 raids through Detroit neighborhoods.
Hunter cited alleged offenses by Littleton on August 10, 2017, when Littleton was still 17 and legally a juvenile.
“On Aug. 10, 2017, Littleton allegedly broke into a house on the 16800 block of Wildemere on the city’s west side, pulled out a pistol and robbed the homeowner, making off with the victim’s cellphone and headphones,” Hunter wrote. “Police arrested Littleton and charged him with armed robbery. Court records show a week later, Littleton was charged in a separate case with felonious assault. Prosecutors offered Littleton a deal: Plead guilty to unarmed robbery, and he’d stay out of prison and get probation. He took the deal and was given probation.”
Hunter did not indicate where he got the version he cites of the alleged break-in and charges.
The Register of Actions for the case shows that Hunter’s account is factually inaccurate.
Judge Dalton A. Roberson, Jr. sentenced Littleton to BOOT CAMP and THREE YEARS OF PROBATION after he pled guilty to the offenses of “weapons–felony firearm” and “unarmed robbery” on Jan. 5, 2018. An armed robbery charge was dismissed.
In the “separate case” cited by Hunter, the ROA says Littleton was 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 were separately dismissed by Judge Ulysses Boykin March 16, 2018.
This month. August 2020, marks the 10th anniversary of the Voice of Detroit. It has been a struggle financially to keep VOD going, but we feel it is vital for those WITHOUT a voice. We do not charge for access to our articles, as do the News and Free Press, but appreciate whatever readers can donate. Our ongoing costs include quarterly HostPapa web charges of $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc. The editor and reporters are not paid for their work, and many live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, murdered anti-racists protesting the attempted murder of Jacob Blake, police in armored cars nearby; another Dylann Roof
In Detroit July 10:”Would cops have killed Hakim Littleton if he was white?”
In Detroit, will Craig use the police to target the oppressors of its residents, including landlords, mortgage firms, and banks, instead of the poor?
In Michigan, would Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, joining Alabama and Arizona’s Republican governors, have sent National Guard to stop Kyle Rittenhouse?
By Diane Bukowski
August 29, 2020
Execution by cop July 10
DETROIT–In a July 11 article for the Pulse Institute titled “Would Police Have Killed Hakim Littleton If He Was White,” attorney Tina M. Patterson asked why Detroit gangster cops executed 20-year-old Hakim Littleton July 10 after he fired a shot as they approached with guns drawn, ready to kill. Littleton’s death set off days of protest across Detroit.
In contrast, Patterson said, cops nationally have treated white racist killers of Blacks with deference.
Patterson wrote, “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.
Cops who arrested Dylan Roof gave killer Burger King and protective vest
“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.”
On Aug. 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, working with an “Atta Boys” vigilante gang in Kenosha, Wisconsin, became another example validating Patterson’s words.
Cops in armored vehicles, at the site of massive protests against the attempted murder of young Black father Jacob Blake by white cops, welcomed the gun-toting teen and his buddies.
They handed out water to them moments before Rittenhouse shot two protesters to death, then did not arrest Rittenhouse after he tried to surrender as bystanders shouted, “He just killed those people down there.” Rittenhouse made it all the way back to his home in Antioch, Illinois before he was finally arrested without incident.
Mich. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses battalion of National Guard.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Republican governors of Alabama and Arizona, Kay Ivey and Doug Duce, respectively, in sending National Guard troops to Kenosha.
While posing as the state’s savior against COVID-19, Whitmer has refused to protect over 40,000 prisoners in the Michigan Department of Corrections from COVID-19 in the only real way possible considering the impossibility of social distancing there. From the beginning, advocates have said she must release the the thousands who have been eligible for parole for decades, over 200 juvenile lifers who have not been resentenced, and the many hundreds of prisoners framed by police and prosecutors across the state.
Michigan’s National Guard is most notorious for its use during the 1967 Detroit rebellion, which ended with the deaths of over 43 Detroiters, most of them Black.
Ivey presided over the state execution in March of Nathaniel Woods for allegedly killing three cops, a crime he and his family have always contended he didn’t commit.
Arizona is also a death penalty state, with 119 prisoners on death row. This week, Arizona Governor Duce was a guest of U.S. President Donald Trump during his speech at the Republican National Convention.
Would Whitmer, Ivey and Duce have sent their National Guard troops to Kenosha to protect Jacob Blake and of dozens of other Black residents killed and brutalized by the city’s cops, or the lives of those who turned out by the thousands to protest for days after Blake was shot 7 times in the back in front of his kids? The armed forces of the state who are already present there made clear which side they were on.
DPD Chief James Craig said Detroiters should get concealed carry permits.
Would Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has viciously condemned protesters from Detroit Will Breathe and ordered them tear-gassed, brutalized and arrested, have used his cops to protect George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, or the tens of thousands of people who have flooded cities across the world for months since their murders by police?
With the assistance of Trump and his Attorney General William Barr, Craig has instead heightened attacks on Black residents of this poverty-stricken city by “gang squads” who roam the city’s streets with abandon, killing people like Littleton and two others within the weeks afterwards, and targeting people who arm themselves in self-defense.
Ironically, Craig earlier recommended well-to-do Detroiters should get concealed carry permits, to protect themselves from poorer residents who are already under siege not only by the police, but also by landlords, mortgage companies, and the corporations and banks.
Craig’s outrage at the possibility that some of those residents, who felt the attack on Jacob Blake deeply as have hundreds of professional athletes across the U.S., would have the audacity to target police who protect the slaveholders, is nothing but blatant hypocrisy. (See video below.)
This month. August 2020, marks the 10th anniversary of the Voice of Detroit. It has been a struggle financially to keep VOD going, but we feel it is vital for those WITHOUT a voice. We do not charge for access to our articles, as do the News and Free Press, but appreciate whatever readers can donate. Our ongoing costs include quarterly HostPapa web charges of $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc. The editor and reporters are not paid for their work, and many live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated.
Jacob Blake with his young sons; 2 watched as Kenosha cops shot him 7 times in the back.
Detroit — Cops in Kenosha, WI and Detroit, MI joined an ongoing national escalation of police violence against people of color and protesters this weekend.
The shooting of Jacob Blake Aug. 22 in Kenosha cast a different light on Detroit Police Chief James Craig’s justification of the police violence the day after Detroit cops arrested 44 protesters on downtown streets, also on Aug. 22, beating many.
The protesters were demanding the removal of federal agents sent to Detroit by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, an appointee of U.S. President Donald Trump, allegedly to “fight crime.” During the Republican National Convention Aug. 25, Trump’s supporters tried to justify the shocking shooting of Blake with reports of his arrest record.
Contradicting a 2012 Michigan Supreme Court ruling in People v. Moreno, Craig claimed that police can use force against anyone who resists arrest, even if the arrest involves police misconduct and brutality. Craig said even members of the media and legal observers must leave to avoid arrest, once police demand that protesters disperse.
William Barr boarding Army helicopter to tour Detroit Aug. 18 2020. DNews photo: Carlos Osorio
In Moreno, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the “common-law” right to resist unlawful arrests, warrantless home invasions, and other unlawful conduct by the police.
Craig Haehnel, attorney for the defendant, Angel Moreno, Jr., told VOD at the time. “I think it [the MSC ruling] puts curbs on the police. The Court of Appeals had ruled that you essentially have no right to self-defense against police officers. You just can’t have a free society where you cannot resist illegal conduct by the police. It takes you to nothing but a police state.”
Moreno was charged with violating a long-standing state statute banning resisting and obstructing police performing their duties. He had physically blocked cops in Grand Rapids, where he lived, from breaking into his home without a warrant. The police said they had the right to maintain the premises until they got one.
Then Chief Justice Diane Hathaway wrote in the 5-2 opinion, “To resolve this issue, we must address whether MCL 750.81d abrogates the common-law right to resist illegal police conduct, including unlawful arrests and unlawful entries into constitutionally protected areas. We conclude that the statute did not abrogate this right.”
JACOB BLAKE, 29, father of 3, shot 8 times in back, permanently paralyzed by Kenosha cops Aug. 22
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin for two nights, burning municipal vehicles outside the courthouse downtown and attacking businesses, outraged over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, 29. A graphic video showed white cops shooting Blake eight times in the back at point blank range, as he was getting into his car on Aug. 22. Two of his three young sons watched in horror from the back seat as their mother screamed for her babies outside the car, jumping up and down in agony.
Blake’s father, also called Jacob Blake. told reporters that his son is now paralyzed from the waist down, a diagnosis that was later confirmed as permanent because his spinal cord was severed. He said his son had called him that morning because he and his children’s mother were celebrating the eighth birthday of their oldest son. Blake’s other sons are five and three years old.
Blake had just intervened to calm fighting neighbors down, according to witnesses. Police claimed the run involved a “domestic disturbance.” Relatives of Blake’s said he comes from a politically active family. Blake is currently hospitalized.
NBA Superstar Lebron James condemned the shooting of Blake during a press conference Aug. 25, saying “Quite frankly it’s just f**ked up in our community. And I said it, I know people get tired of hearing me say it but we are scared as a Black people in America. Black en, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. You don’t know, you have no idea how that cop that day left the house . . .maybe he just left the house that day saying this is going to be the end for one of those Black people.”
On Aug. 25, the Detroit Lions’ entire NFL football team canceled that day’s practice to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, saying “The World Can’t Go On” in its wake.
Chairing the walk-out, Lions safety Duron Harmon said, “Today when we came in the building, there were a lot of heavy hearts. We’re at a point in time where a lot of tragic events continue to keep happening to Black people, people of color. On Sunday evening, Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was tragically shot in his back seven times in front of his girlfriend and in front of his three children. So as we came in today, as a team, we looked each other in the eye and realized that football is not important today.”
Protesters meanwhile are storming the streets nationally to call for “Justice for Jacob Blake,” including in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where police killed George Floyd, and Portland, Oregon, where police attacked and tear gassed the Portland protesters.
Protesters call for Justice for Jacob Blake on Aug. 24, 2020 in Minneapolis Minnesota, where police murdered George Floyd May 25, 2020.
DETROIT–Cops attack “Operation Legend” Protest Aug. 22, arresting 42, seriously injuring many
After more than 65 consecutive days of Black Lives Matter protests since the police murder of George Floyd, the local grassroots group #DetroitWillBreathe took to the streets of downtown Detroit once again on a Saturday night Aug. 22 to protest U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s earlier introduction of over 50 federal agents and ancillary staff into the city, with the blessing of DPD Chief James Craig. The joint task force they are leading reported recently that 22 arrests have been made on weapons charge and other matters, allegedly to fight a wave of gun crimes in the city.
This still shot from the Detroit Coalition for Police Accountability analysis of police videos shows Hakim Littleton being executed by police July 10, 2020.
Detroiter Hakim Littleton, 20 was executed by Detroit gang squad police working with federal agents July 10. Darnell Sylvester, the youth under arrest when Littleton came on the scene, allegedly had a federal drug-related warrant from North Dakota out for him.
According to court records, Sylvester was released by a Detroit federal judge on a negligible bond several days after his arrest, and ordered to report to the North Dakota courthouse. That left questions as to why a large contingent of gang squad cops were at the scene prior to his arrest.
In police videos, Littleton is seen belatedly sighting the gang of armed cops before turning to run away while producing a gun for self-defense. An activist video analysis showed that one of the cops directed the 10th shot heard in the videos at Littleton’s head at point blank range, as Littleton lay on the ground, disarmed, restrained and already wounded.
Protesters had announced they would occupy an area on Woodward Avenue near Campus Martius, and would not leave until federal agents left Detroit. Since the days of “Occupy Wall Street,” going back to the civil rights movement, activists have used the tactics of peaceful civil disobedience across the U.S. to win their demands for justice.
Rideout’s home in Grosse Pointe Woods.
But DPD Chief James Craig said during a press conference that he took the group’s declaration to mean they would NEVER physically leave the spot, claiming that this justified the use of force.
Among the “activists” Craig said he sent the declaration to was Rev. W.J. Rideout III, who according to state voter records does not live in Detroit, but in Grosse Pointe Woods. Craig has claimed some of the Detroit Will Breathe protesters live outside of Detroit, although 60 percent of Detroit police are not Detroit residents.
Actions by Detroit police, supported by their chief and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, unleashed on these protesters fighting for the very lives of people of color recalled the actions of arch-racist Mayor Bull Connor in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement. Connor ordered police to use fire hoses and dogs to disperse demonstrators demanding equality and basic human rights.
Birmingham AL cops set dogs on civil rights protesters, 1963
Published videos and photos of the Detroit police attack, which included flagrant beatings, pepper-spraying, and arrests show their actions were unjustified, despite Craig’s contentions to the contrary at his press conference Aug. 24.
The Detroit News reported Craig’s allegations, many factually unsubstantiated, that protesters had lasers they aimed at helicopters overhead, received “projectiles” from a roving “red truck,” and had their own supplies of tear gas they directed at police, at length Aug. 25. He claimed some tried to rescue other protesters being held under arrest by Detroit police.
But the city’s Metro Times published a stunning series of photos of the events which contradicted many of Craig’s claims. The photo gallery was captioned as follows:
On Saturday night, Detroit police attacked and arrested peaceful protesters, including a legal observer and a photographer, for blocking Woodward Avenue near John R in downtown Detroit. The protesters were demanding the end of “Operation Legend,” a federal law enforcement initiative launched by President Trump’s Justice Department. Detroit is among eight cities where dozens of ATF, DEA, and FBI agents have been deployed. Photographer Adam J. Dewey said protesters were peaceful when police attacked, using tear gas, pepper spray, shields, and batons. Some protesters were bleeding. He said an officer pointed an assault weapon at him.
Protesters chant “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” as police wade into their ranks. Photo by Adam J. Dewey.
Protesters under arrest in the streets during police attack Aug. 22, 2020 Photo by Adam J. Dewey
Detroit cop directing pepper spray into face of protester restrained on ground. Photo by Adam J. Dewey.
Click on the photo shown below to be taken to the Metro Times website, where all the photos can be viewed.
It was not possible to embed it onto this site because Facebook has evidently barred that.
POLICE TARGETED VOLUNTEER MEDICS, A “WAR CRIME;” GoFundMe page for RM Park
Not only did police target reporters and legal observers, they also went after volunteer medics, who said such attacks are considered “war crimes.” #DetroitWillBreathe published the following appeal for RM Park, a volunteer medic at the protest.
Street medic RM Park hospitalized after police attack.
On a GoFundMe page, his friend Don Summers said, “While standing on the sidewalk as the police had ordered, they were staffing the rear triage when they were attacked by the police. Targeting medics is a war crime. They were tear gassed, body slammed, pinned to the cement, and violently dragged by the arm 20′ or so feet. The injuries they sustained include a hairline fracture on their clavicle, torn shoulder muscle, a cracked rib, bruised neck muscle, bruised wrists from zip tie handcuffs, additional leg and hip damage from a previous police brutality incident in Detroit, and inflamed lungs from inhaling tear gas after the police ripped the mask off of their face. They were arrested and were not provided any medical treatment, despite clearly needing it and went home to rest after getting released from custody. Early this morning, they collapsed from the pain and are now recovering in the hospital.” GoFundMe page is at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-street-medic-rm-park-pay-their-medical-bills?fbclid=IwAR2dvH2UntDjpDkRrS7nJDl5PZxtyU2o5NIlzYbYEKIATUeYwADxrPZPlmA.
This month. August 2020, marks the 10th anniversary of the Voice of Detroit. It has been a struggle financially to keep VOD going, but we feel it is vital for those WITHOUT a voice. We do not charge for access to our articles, as do the News and Free Press, but appreciate whatever readers can donate. Our ongoing expenses include quarterly HostPapa web charges of $380, and costs for research including court records, internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc. The editor and reporters are not paid and many live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated.
REDFORD TWP. MICH–Brenda Hill, candidate for the 10th District Michigan House of Representatives in the Aug. 4 primary, and dozens of cheering supporters said at a press conference Aug. 12 that they will not be “Jim Crow’ed” by what they said was the theft of the election.
The 10th District is nearly 80 percent Black, with a large portion inside the City of Detroit. Suburban Redford Township comprises the rest and is 50 percent white.
“I won this election,” Hill told supporters. “What happened to me affected every voter in this state. Everybody should be standing with me whether they voted for me or not.”
Despite Hill’s commanding lead through election day Aug. 4 and most of the next day, Aug. 5. Mary Cavanagh was declared the winner. An unnamed individual brought in 3,000 absentee ballots from Redford Township just before the final count at 3 p.m. Aug. 5.
Hill’s supporters say an individual was earlier seen emptying ballots from the absentee ballot box in front of Redford Township city hall prior to that, and they want the identity of both individuals.
Hill and her campaign manager Nicole Small, who is an elected Detroit Charter Commissioner, said there was clear evidence of fraud. They have called for an investigation by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and said they plan to formerly challenge the results after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers certifies the election at its meeting Aug. 18 at 1:00 p.m. The meeting is to be conducted online through Zoom.
Tom Barrow, leader of Citizens for Detroit’s future, which published a slate of Detroit-based candidates in the elections including Hill, focused on her roots in Detroit in a slate press release.
“Hill is a true eastside Detroiter having graduated from Detroit’s Southeastern High School and long active in the community. She enjoys a special place because she has been on the ground in many of the Citizens for Detroit’s Future battles and has participated in our Election reform initiative, Charter Amendments battle, and recounts and has been a solid supporter of a number of community activities.”
The slate also ran long-time Detroit city leader and community activist Beverly Kindle-Walker for Wayne County Treasurer, but incumbent Eric Sabree allegedly won the race.
Mary Cavanagh’s father Phil Cavanagh is currently Asst. Deputy Wayne County Treasurer under Sabree, over the Forfeitures and Foreclosures division. He was formerly State Rep. in the 10th District. Her mother is Redford Township Treasurer Lily Cavanagh.
Phil Cavanagh is also the son of the late Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, remembered largely because the 1967 Detroit rebellion occurred during his time in office. He currently supports Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and opposes an absolute moratorium on foreclosures in Wayne County.
Such a moratorium halting all mortgage foreclosure sales was declared by former Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans to much acclaim after he took office in 2014.
Phil Cavanagh celebrates leaving office in 2014 with daughters (l to r) Roni, Mary, and Erin Cavanagh.
Mary Cavanagh touted her roots in Redford Township in the Channel 4 interview above, only belatedly referring to the entire District 10. The strange shape of that district shows that it was likely gerrymandered by the Michigan State Legislature in 2011. She said said her campaign focused on the absentee ballot vote. (See map below story.)
The 10th District boundaries include a large part of northwest Detroit adjacent to Redford Township as follows:
Wayne County (part) Detroit city (part) That portion of the city beginning at Five Pts. and W. 8 Mile Rd., east on W. 8 Mile Rd. to Mendota, south on Mendota to Chippewa, west on Chippewa to Pinehurst, south on Pinehurst to W. 7 Mile Rd., west on W. 7 Mile Rd. to Vaughan, north on Vaughan to St. Martins, west on St. Martins to Fielding, south on Fielding to W. 7 Mile Rd., west on W. 7 Mile Rd. to Pierson, south on Pierson to Pickford, west on Pickford to Lahser, north on Lahser to W. 7 Mile Rd., west on W. 7 Mile Rd. to Telegraph, south on Telegraph to Grand River, northwest on Grand River to Five Pts., north on Five Pts. to W. 8 Mile Rd., the point of beginning. Redford Township.
Hill said she worked the streets of District 10 hard during her campaign, going door-to-door every day to get out the vote.
She alleged that Kavanagh was absent from public view during the campaign as well as the vote count, moving up from a distant third place to a final lead that would not have been possible without the belated appearance of the 3,000 absentee ballot
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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 1970’s neighbor 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 led “Rochester Street Massacre,” killing Dep. Sheriff and wounding others; Harris and 2 cops charged with murder
PUT DIRTY COP JAMES HARRIS ON BRADY LIST—INVESTIGATE CASE OF RICKY RIMMER-BEY
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, as he has throughout 44 years of incarceration, and seeking his freedom and exoneration.
He was convicted of first-degree felony murder in 1976, when he was 22, for the death of a car dealer 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.
Rimmer-Bey’s 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 MESSENGER SR.: HARRIS TRIED TO MAKE ME LIE ON RICKY
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.”
HARRIS NOT ON WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY’S BRADY LIST
Pros. 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.
The list takes its name from two cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must disclose all exculpatory evidence that might assist the defendant’s case, including the criminal and disciplinary records of police officers involved.
In other jurisdictions, prosecutors and city officials are aggressively pursuing dirty cops and the false convictions they engineered.
BALTIMORE: MOSBY TOSSES 790 CONVICTIONS, SENDS COPS TO PRISON
Baltimore City State’s Atty. Marilyn Mosby
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.
“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.”
NYC CCRB RELEASES BRADY LIST WITH 3,996 COPS, 12,056 COMPLAINTS
NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board
The New York City Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB) compiled a list of 3,996 officers with 12,056 complaints, at least one of which had been substantiated for each officer. The list covered complaints going back two decades.
Although the list, released to the American Civil Liberties Union, is currently under court review pending a court hearing, the online newspaper ProPublicapublished it.
The list includes four categories of complaints: FORCE: 7,636 (Officer used excessive or otherwise unnecessary force); ABUSE OFAUTHORITY 20,292 (Officer used police powers to take unwarranted actions, such as unlawful searches; DISCOURTESY 4,677 (An officer engaged in rude or profane behavior toward a civilian), and OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE 753 (An officer used one or more slurs relating to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability).
CONVICTIONS ENGINEERED BY HARRIS SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED
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, as 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.
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.’
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 26 Black unarmed civilians, including one woman, 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.
Deputy Henry Henderson
Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan charged Harris and two other S.T.R.E.S.S. cops 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.”
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. Five deputy sheriffs and a civilian were playing poker. Harris and Ronald Martin led the attack, after seeing a sheriff’s deputy in street clothes 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 Ankony, a retired FBI agent. Ankony’s detailed account is linked below.
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.
S.T.R.E.S.S. cop James Harris
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, being held by Martin with a semi-automatic pistol at his head. Even then, the sheriffs said, the beatings continued.
The incident should have been revealed to Harris’ defense attorneys during his trial, under the provisions of Brady v. Maryland. Duvall’s affiliation with the FBI narcotics unit was a red flag.
The Rochester Street Massacre was a prominent factor in the massive community movement against S.T.R.E.S.S. that developed as the cops kept up their murderous rampage. The movement arose after S.T.R.E.S.S. cops attacked three young activists, Mark Clyde Bethune, John Percy Boyd, and Hayward Brown outside a drug house in Detroit. The three fought back, and two S.T.R.E.S.S. cops were killed.
Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. (at left) with Hayward Brown (center).
The entire Detroit police force then launched a massive search for the three young men, kicking in doors across the city without warrants and arresting innocent people as Detroiters rose up in outrage. Bethune and Boyd fled Detroit and were later killed by cops in Atlanta.
Brown was arrested and went on trial. His attorney Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. argued that the three young men were seeking to rid the city of drug houses, and that the S.T.R.E.S.S. cops who attacked them were protecting the drug house in question.
Brown was roundly acquitted of that charge and numerous other charges brought against him afterwards. The movement culminated in the election of Detroit’s first Black Mayor, Coleman Young, who ran on a promise to abolish S.T.R.E.S.S., which became his first act in office in 1974.
Harris was reassigned to the DPD Homicide division, and then inexplicably became a member of Young’s security detail.
Paul Egan of the Detroit News wrote about Bush’s commutation of Harris’ sentence. The headline falsely described it as a “pardon.” A commutation leaves the conviction standing.
Egan wrote, “Harris has no political influence but earned his clemency through his remorse and help he gave to law enforcement after he went to prison, those involved with his case said.
“‘I think it’s great,’ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Helland, who prosecuted Harris twice after the first trial ended in a hung jury. ‘He had helped out as much as he can . . . central of which was a video he made to dissuade other cops from turning bad. Even to a prosecutor, the sentence he got, quite frankly, was an extraordinarily long sentence.”
Egan also wrote that Attorney James B. Craven III, who campaigned for the commutation, told him that Harris gave federal agents information “several years ago” about the 1985 drug-related drive-by shooting of 13-year-old Damion Lucas.
The late Gil Hill framed Eddie Jo Lloyd, juvenile lifer Charles Lewis who spent 44 yrs. in prison before his release, others
To date, however, the child’s murder has not been solved or the perpetrators charged.
Egan said Harris, 62 on his release, was “legally blind” and suffering from diabetes and hypertension. But nine years after his release, Harris appeared to be relaxed and thriving during an interview by Ben Solis of MLive in July, 2017.
Solis interviewed Harris and retired Detroit police officer Tom Robinson together on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 rebellion in Detroit.
Solis erroneously described Harris as “retired.” He evidently did not know that Harris left DPD in disgrace, sentenced to 30 years in prison for guarding global drug dealers as they imported large quantities of cocaine into a city reeling from the effects of the crack cocaine epidemic. And Harris evidently didn’t think to correct him.
Solis wrote, “Even as they describe rampant racism in the force during the 1960s and 1970s, Harris and Robinson vehemently defend police officers of all stripes, even Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers – who were convicted in the 1992 murder of Malice Green. Robinson said he knew both of them, and said they were ‘excellent officers.’
“While many Detroiters refer to the 1967 riot as a rebellion, born out of years of economic discrimination, Harris doesn’t buy it. ‘If you lived in Detroit in 1967, jobs were plentiful,’ he said.”
James Harris called S.T.R.E.S.S. a “worthy” effort in the 2018 documentary, “Detroit under S.T.R.E.S.S.,” boasting that white and Black killer cops in it got along well. The documentary ironically cites the drug trade as a leading cause of crime in Detroit.
RAYMOND PETERSON: Among the S.T.R.E.S.S. cops that Harris got along with. Peterson had the highest “kill” rate in the unit. Interview above is from the documentary “Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.” (VOD’s apologizes for Peterson’s use of the “N” word and other profanities, but his language exposes his racism.)
Two Chief Prosecution Witnesses Recanted During Trial, Denied Earlier Statements
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.
The District Court withdrew its ruling when the State Attorney General objected.
The Sixth Circuit held that the trial court’s evidentiary ruling, although a violation of Rimmer-Bey’s due process rights, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, then went on to render the same opinion, likewise denying relief.
But the Sixth Circuit did find 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 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 said 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.
Atty. Warfield Moore Jr., later elected Judge
Atty. Gerald Lorence, 1987.
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.
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 was 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 that 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.”
In the movie “Just Mercy” witness recantation saved defendant from execution, freed him.
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 second witness, age 16 at the time of the car lot murder, denied that he had seen anything directly implicating Rimmer-Bey or Jordan, although he did place himself and the others at the scene of the crime.
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.
DPD Sgt. James Harris and Wayne Co. Asst. Prosecutor Timothy Kenny coerced 16-yr-old witness into statement vs. Ricky Rimmer-Bey; the witness denied most of it at trial.
“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 falsely 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.
MI. COURT RULE GIVES RIMMER-BEY OPENING
The Michigan Supreme Court revised Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D) effective May 1, 2020 to allow for the trial court to consider claims that have been decided against the defendant if s/he has “new evidence” that would “make a different result probable at retrial, or if the previously-decided claims, when considered together with the new claim for relief, create a significant possibility of actual innocence.”
MICHIGAN COURT RULE 6.508 D(2) as revised
Effective May 11, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered new language to be added to MCR.6.508(D)(2):
The Michigan Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Rimmer-Bey’s co-defendant Timothy Jordan in the 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.”
“MY MEASURE:” RIMMER-BEY 44 YRS. LATER
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.
“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.”
Ricky Rimmer-Bey, Torchisa Marchett Hall
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.
I AM NOT BITTER, BUT I DO HOPE AND PRAY THAT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICE PROVE TRUE IN MY HAVING A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE ON THE OUTSIDE. Ricky Rimmer-Bey
Write Ricky Rimmer-Bey at:
Ricky Rimmer #133464 1728 Bluewater Highway
Ionia, MI 48846
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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.
DOES WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY CARE ABOUT BLACK CHILDREN?
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.
KYM WORTHY’S OPPOSITION TO ENDING JUVENILE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE IS FAR BEHIND THE TIMES: ABOVE, STATES WHICH HAVE ABOLISHED IT.
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.
“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.
“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.)
SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
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.
MANY WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS ARE NOT AWARE THAT THEIR ONLY CHANCE TO AFFECT THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S RACE IS AT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PRIMARY AUG. 4, 2020.
THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE WITH ANY CHANCE OF GETTING THE POSITION BECAUSE WAYNE COUNTY HISTORICALLY VOTES DEMOCRAT. WHOEVER WINS THIS PRIMARY WILL AUTOMATICALLY WIN THE OFFICE IN NOVEMBER. VOTE AUG. 4!
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:
(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.”
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/
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.
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:
NO CHARGES v. POLICE, PROSECUTORS IN HUNDREDS OF WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS
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.
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.
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 FORCE7,636 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.”
“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?”
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.
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).
“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.”
OTHER NOTORIOUS COPS NOT ON WORTHY’S BRADY LIST
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.
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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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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Hello, this is Diane Bukowski, editor of the Voice of Detroit, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.