Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

West Willow incident videos released

29. March 2009 • Matt Hampel
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Sheriff Jerry Clayton has released several videos related to the death of Clifton Lee, Jr. in June 2006.

(this posted is a belated follow-up to the Sherriff’s Race thread.)

  1. The death of Clifton Lee, Jr. was a tragedy.

    It was one of the key reasons that primary voters defeated Sheriff Minzey in a landslide last August.

    Minzey, a two-term incumbent, could not get 40% of the overall primary vote. I was at the polls in Ann Arbor last August when Jerry Clayton was being touted by voters as having tremendous local support. He won convincingly in both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

    The County Board of Commissioners authorized a $4 million settlement with Geoffrey Fieger and the estate of Clifton Lee, Jr. Bruce Lee’s civil rights suit remains pending.

    After reviewing the films released by Sheriff Clayton(which I applaud him for doing so), I believe those tapes are, by themselves, inconclusive as to what occurred as to the deceased Mr. Lee. Not having beeen at the trial, I cannot give an opinion as to what testimony the prosecution submitted that would be persuasive as to whether or not the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI met their burden of guilt beyond reasonable doubt as to the two deputies that were eventually exonerated by the jury.

    As to the Bruce Lee video, I am, however, disturbed at what clearly appears to be questionable professional behavior as to Bruce Lee, who is taken out of the back of the squad car and manhandled for no good reason.

    It is telling that the respective criminal and civil cases arising out of this incident were brought in federal court in Detroit as opposed to the Washtenaw County Circuit Court. Rarely are homicide cases brought in federal court on one hand and also rarely does Geoffrey Fieger pass up an opportunity to file a wrongful death action in a state circuit court.

    Firstly, the complete lack of interest of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office in this incident is nothing short of outrageous. The last media report on the involvement of Brian Mackie was that the Michigan State Police forwarded their investigative findings to him for potential action a number of months after the incident. Mackie never announced a decision on whether or not to bring charges. Making a decision either way would have exposed him to the wrath of either the law enforcement community, on one hand, or the substantial African-American community locally, on the other hand. So Mackie just sat on his hands and did nothing.

    It should be noted that the Prosecuting Attorney relies upon the testimony and cooperation of Sheriff Department deputies in trying cases investigated by that agency. Brian Mackie found himself between a rock and a hard place and simply did nothing.

    It should also be noted that the circuit court has a close relationship with the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff provides courthouse security for the judges and the staff of the court. Further, deputies are known to judges and court staff as witnesses and judges often rely upon the law enforcement community in general for political endorsements at election time. Those deputies being suspected of wrongdoing could probably expect some degree of sympathy by the local judiciary if charged with criminal conduct in the circuit court, as evidenced by the term of probation being sentenced by Judge Archie Brown as to a deputy recently convicted by a jury of insurance fraud; a second deputy in that case also got probation. Those would be some of the reasons neither Mackie nor Fieger likely felt comfortable in bringing cases against these deputies in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

    Finally, the fact the Bruce Lee case resulted in a criminal conviction of a deputy by plea is a good thing and may not have occurred if that criminal case was filed in a state circuit court.

    If the internal investigations of the acquitted deputies result in some type of accountability, I feel that the system may have worked as the most important aspect is the need for a deterrent for alleged police misconduct.

    Local officials must use the Lee incident as a learning experience to ensure this type of behavior does not recur.

       —Kerry D.    Mar. 30 '09 - 06:20AM    #
  2. YouTube also has copies of the videos available here (Clifton), here (Bruce), and here (cop explaining). The U-Tube videos are exactly the same as the videos available on except they don’t include the “” watermark in the bottom corner.

    In each of the three videos, at the beginning, after the title is shown for several seconds, a summary comment is then shown (“In this video,…”) giving someone’s opinion of what is about to be viewed.

    These editorializing comments are at least somewhat subjective—for instance, the Bruce Lee video includes a comment which flatly states “Lee spits on Hoy through the window”. IMO, the video doesn’t make this fact obvious.

    Does anyone have any information regarding the origin of the comments in the videos? Did the Washtenaw Sheriff’s Office include these comments with the released videos or did The Ann Arbor News add the comments to the videos it received?

    Also worthy of note is the appearance that 2 of the 3 videos were edited, with a portion of the screen being truncated. The video of the officer explaining is the only one that seems to include the complete onscreen display of metadata (time, date, squad car#, agency name, etc.) The Clifton Lee video has the metadata at the top but the portion on the right side is truncated (The “seconds” column of the time field is not included on the screen) while the Bruce Lee video has the metadata at the bottom but only includes the tips of the characters with the remainder being truncated off the screen. This gives the appearance that (at least) 2 of the 3 videos are not in their original form (as taken by the camera of the squad car) and were at some point subjected to editing, with part of the viewing area being removed.

    But perhaps the biggest question is raised by the article’s opening statement that only “portions” of the videos were released. This of course makes some of us wonder what is being withheld, and why. What was released was bad enough, but more on that, later.

       —Michael Schils    Mar. 31 '09 - 01:59AM    #
  3. In the Clifton Lee video at 2:38, after the officers get up off Clifton, and turn over his lifeless body, an officer is heard taunting him, “Good thinking, welcome to your neighborhood.”

    I’m pretty sure this same officer is heard in the Bruce Lee video. After the officers pull Bruce from the car and force him to the ground, the officer exclaims at 0:45, “Goddamn, everybody just wants to run their mouth, tonight.” Another officer agrees, “Yeah.” before the first officer continues, “Jesus, there must be something in the water.”

    Again, I’m pretty sure this same officer is in the third video at 0:30 explaining to his sergeant that the onlookers of the initial traffic stop “kept running their mouth”.

    These words seem to show an attitude of contempt for the “neighborhood” these officers were patrolling. The officer seemed to be telling Clifton Lee (who at that point was at least unconscious, maybe deceased) that he got what he deserved because of the neighborhood he lived in. Likewise, the crack that there “must be something in the water” seemed to be directed against the entire neighborhood rather than just the individuals, involved.

    The officer’s repeated concern about the West Willow residents “running their mouths” is never defined. Were they merely asking what the reason was for the initial traffic stop? It certainly isn’t against the law to ask an officer questions, especially if a relative is being pulled over in your front yard. Nor is it against the law to observe a traffic stop taking place in your front yard. Why was no video released regarding the initial traffic stop?

    The reasons given by the officers for initiating these “scuffles” (as the A2 News so gently refers to them) are confusing and somewhat contradictory. They said Bruce Lee was initially arrested because he didn’t disperse when they asked him too. But Clifton Lee did in fact obey their command to leave the scene, and was on his way home, when “he starts running, so we halked him to right here” (officer’s statement at 1:02 of video ).

    So “Disperse, but don’t run or we’ll halk you down” seems to be the message the officers are sending.

    But this message gets even more confusing when later, the officers yell at the onlookers who had witnessed what they had just done to Clifton Lee, “You better move faster than that” and “You better get moving!” (3:08 and 3:25 of video ). The nerve of those people to be curious about what had just happened to their neighbor, who they saw laying dead in the street.

    So the confusing composite message from the WCS to the West Willow neighborhood turned into: “Disperse, but don’t run or we’ll halk you down, but you better move faster than that!”

    After the State Police arrived and checked Clifton Lee’s vital signs, the same officer can be heard explaining why Clifton had to be arrested, “…he had his hands in his pocket, walking up on us…” (3:55 of video ) The implication being that Clifton Lee was arrested because they thought he might be carrying a weapon. Yet just minutes later, this same officer can be heard telling his sergeant at 0:46 of video that it was a cell phone that Clifton had in his hand in his pocket and that they “halked him” merely because he started running. Apparently, the officer felt this reason wasn’t good enough for the State Police, just minutes earlier, so he left out the “cell phone” part to imply that he thought Clifton might be carrying a weapon.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 1 '09 - 04:16AM    #
  4. Maybe that’s a bit over the top, but I understand your frustration. I just hope the new sheriff does some housecleaning, because there is something definitely wrong with the “culture” in his department. (This was in reply to the previous commenter “Woj”, whose comment I see has now disappeared without a trace.)

    As the Clifton video shows, after the gang of officers “halked” down Clifton Lee when he was trying to run home, they all piled on top of him. Then they all seemed like they were just waiting until they felt his body go limp, and when that occurred, only some of the officers stood up off him, with a few remaining (apparently to make sure the task was completed).

    What result were the officers seeking to accomplish here, if they weren’t looking for the result that actually occurred? What else could happen when a man’s face is pressed into the dirt with hundreds of pounds of force, and with the bodies of the officers blocking all his airways?

    There would seem to be only one of two choices—either these officers were intent on snuffing out his life; or they are exceedingly stupid and didn’t have a clue as to what would be the consequence of their actions. Neither of these choices befits their continued employment with the sheriff’s department.

    But I think I see something even more disturbing in the early portion of the video, before all the officers pile on top of Clifton Lee, which seems to confirm an allegation made by the Lee family, in their civil suit. This article claims that the civil suit alleged that Deputy Eberle “sprayed a chemical agent in Lee’s face and mouth, and held his hands over Lee’s mouth and nose.”

    At about 0:55 of the Clifton Lee video, the officer that is kneeling by Clifton with his back to the camera, appears to reach down with his right hand and pick something up off the ground, which he may have previously layed there. A few seconds later, the officer’s hand can be seen reaching down around the face of Clifton. Immediately, Clifton can be heard screaming in pain/panic. The same officer then repositions himself, where both of the officer’s hands are around the face/head of Clifton.

    Does anyone else have a take on this? If I’m not seeing what I think I’m seeing, then I would certainly like to be corrected. But it looks like this is officer Eberle applying a chemical agent (Mace?) to the face of Clifton Lee. The screams of Clifton also sound somewhat muffled, which would be consistent with the family’s allegation that Eberle held his hands over Clifton’s mouth and nose.

    The County’s insurance company viewed this video, and immediately advised the commissioners to offer the family $4 million. to avoid going to trial. In the criminal case, I don’t know how the jury could have viewed this same tape, and decided to let Deputy Joseph Eberle walk free.

    (At the risk of distracting from the important subject here and starting a metadiscussion over this site’s censorship policy, I encourage the administrators to consider the frustrations of those that were affected by this tragedy and to be more lenient in choosing the comments they allow to remain. Otherwise, I fear my comments will be the only ones here, which will make a discussion and sharing of views, difficult.)

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 2 '09 - 06:43PM    #
  5. Michael, we did remove a comment that was both violent and profane. There is indeed great weight to this tragedy, and controversial comments are expected and welcome, but the poster’s language was completely inappropriate for this forum.

       —Matt for Arbor Update    Apr. 2 '09 - 07:02PM    #
  6. Is “tragedy” the right word for what happened? A tragedy is nobody’s fault.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 2 '09 - 07:05PM    #
  7. The fact that it’s obvious the officers killed the man, what bothers me more is the way they pulled his lifeless body by his shirt and threw is like a bag of garbage. Then the office seemed to walk away in disgust. They had no concern or any attempt to revive the dead man. It’s pathetic that any officer of the law would act that way.

    IMO, this was not an accident. The officer’s actions were purposeful.

    I counted at least 10 officers. Why did it take so many to subdue one man? This is just too much overkill to me. You would think at least one officer would have been concerned enough to at least attempt to revive the deceased.

    I have dealt with the Washtenaw Co. Sheriff’s department on at least 3 incidences through the years and have never had a good experience. I have never been in trouble with the law and each of these incidences involved situations beyond my control where I was asking for help or interceding on someone else’s behalf. Whereas there may be some good ones, my experience overall has been distasteful. Washtenaw County is one county that you have to worry more about the cops than you do the crooks!

       —Simmie    Apr. 2 '09 - 07:40PM    #
  8. Re Post#2: It is undisputed that Bruce Lee spit at a deputy.

    During the sentencing of Deputy Kelly in the federal criminal case, Judge Sean
    Cox stated that Mr. Lee provoked the incident by spitting at a deputy. Lee told the court that the reason behind his spitting was due to having mace sprayed into his mouth.

    Besides being the older brother of Attorney General Michael Cox, the judge had a significant background that may explain why he may have been so sympathetic to the deputy he sentenced.

    Prior to becoming a circuit judge in Wayne County, Sean Cox was a partner in the law firm of Cummings McClorey Davis & Acho, which is the has the one of the largest law practices in the state specializing in municipal liability defense, which includes defending law enforcement officers and governmental entities against claims of police brutality and other forms of police misconduct.

    Sean Cox sat hearing criminal cases in Detroit’s former Recorder’s Court for a period in the 1990s where he had a reputation of handing down tough sentences. In one case he was noted for among the defense bar was sentencing an immigrant store merchant to 2-5 years in jail and sending him to Jackson Prison for failing to remit tobacco taxes to the state treasury from sales of such products. Most such violators of the Tobacco Products Tax Act received probation in that court and were required to make restitution by sentencing judges, so Cox’s sentencing practices gained attention. The sentence handed down to Deputy Kelly of one year of probation was eqivalent to what someone would receive for operating a motor vehicle with an expired driver’s license. So, yes some politics may have skewed the departure by Judge Cox from sentencing guidelines of 18-24 months of imprisonment for Deputy Kelly.

    That said, the attitude exhibited by the Lee brothers no doubt contributed to their predicament. Furtive movements, spitting, and mouthing off to reporting law enforcement personnel is likely to bring about problems for those who choose to act that way. It is no different than the Malice Green case.

    The environment of toleration and humor surrounding police brutality as exhibited by the e-mail distributed at the Sheriff’s office parodying Miranda rights notification with brutality warnings is nothing less than appalling. It is a product of a lack of professionalism at that department that expresses an implied message that violence against arrestees will be tolerated.

    About 20 years ago in Ypsilanti, a homeowner who was accidentally locked out of his house in his pajamas was gunned down by a rookie police officer who clearly violated departmental guidelines on the use of deadly force. $3 million was paid to his estate by the City of Ypsilanti. Despite that tragedy, which was due to negligence, Ypsi residents still face dangers from law enforcement recklessness or carelessness. It is unacceptable.

    I have a great deal of respect for law enforcement officers and their position as well as sympathize with the difficult situations they encounter on a daily basis. However there needs to be serious punishment meted out to those who flagrantly disregard norms of professional behavior so as to act a deterrent to future misconduct. I am shocked that deputies feel they could use clear excessive and unjustified force against Bruce Lee with a video camera running and feel comfortable there would be no internal departmental repercussions.

    As mentioned above, I am also appalled at the inaction and delay by county officials in addressing this matter. Does anybody approve the responses of Prosecutor Mackie and Sheriff Minzey in addressing this horrific incident? I certainly don’t.

    Brian Mackie should have been bounced from office as Minzey was.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 3 '09 - 04:07AM    #
  9. Mark, when you say, “It is undisputed that Bruce Lee spit at a deputy” and “the attitude exhibited by the Lee brothers no doubt contributed to their predicament”, are you relying on anything other than the narrative that was put forth by the sheriff’s department?

    Because I don’t see anything in the videos that supports the “furtive movements, spitting, and mouthing off…” you refer to. The intro comment to the Bruce Lee video states that Sgt. Shawn Hoy is near his patrol car with handcuffed Bruce in the back seat, and that “Lee spits on Hoy through the window”. Then it breaks to the video from the camera, and the driver’s side half of a police car is in view with its front door open, with two officers positioned behind the open door, facing toward the back door, where Bruce Lee is presumably sitting. A voice is heard saying; “Did he just spit on you?” before an officer is seen walking from around the front of the car, back toward the two officers that are near Bruce’s window.

    The question is never answered, and of the three officers mentioned, appears to have came from the officer who was furthest away from the alleged spitting, if in fact it did occur. An exchange is heard between two officers about a minute and a half later in the video, which calls into question whether Bruce actually spit on Sgt. Hoy. At 1:46 a voice is heard asking, “Did he just spit on my car?” which must be Sgt. Hoy’s voice. Another officer then asks Hoy if it is his car, and he replies, “Yeah” before he seems to mutter almost inaudibly a few seconds later at 1:53, “He spit on my car.”

    This concern by Hoy about whether Bruce Lee spit on his car seems peculiar if Bruce had in fact spit on Hoy’s actual person, less than 2 minutes prior to that. It would appear that Hoy was not aware that he had been spit on, if in fact he ever was. I think a more likely explanation is that Bruce spit out his window, and that the officer who was furthest away, perceived this as Bruce spitting “on” Sgt. Hoy. However, this perception is not supported by Hoy’s question a few moments later, nor is it supported by the fact that no charges were brought against Bruce Lee for this alleged spitting incident.

    After he asked if Hoy was spit on, the sergeant (Mahalick?) tells the deputies to pull Bruce Lee from the car. Why wasn’t this sergeant charged with a civil rights violation? If Bruce Lee did in fact spit on an officer, they should have closed the window so he couldn’t do it again, and charged him with assaulting an officer. But instead, they pulled an already in custody man out of the police car to punish him by beating him for something they never actually charged him with.

    I assume, but cannot verify, that the comments in the intros of the videos were authored by the sheriff’s office. Considering the situation, I am hesitant to accept the veracity of these statements, without any corroborating evidence.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 3 '09 - 10:01PM    #
  10. The focus needs to be taken off of the discussion of whether or not any spitting was involved. If Mr. Lee did in fact spit at the officers, then, it should be noted that none of them died from the alleged spitting. There was absolutely no reason for those officers to pull a handcuffed, unarmed man, who was already in control and in custody, from the squad car. If he was spitting and yelling then roll the window up! Image how much easier that would have been than to remove him from the vehicle and beat and kick him to death. Mr Lee can be heard on the tape saying he “can’t take it any more” and yet they still continue to assault him. Nothing like hearing a grown man virtually beg for his life to really highlight just how callous this event was.

    This was assault for the sake of assault. This was not an attempt to subdue Mr Lee or to control the situation. This was a blatant act of hate that resulted in Mr Lee’s death. There should have been so many criminal charges brought against these officers that they wouldn’t be able to find work as a mall cop. For those of you who think that the officers acted appropriately, please consider what could possibly happen if your son or daughter ever found themselves in the custody of these men in brown. People make mistakes, criminals make mistakes, they shouldn’t have to die for them. These men were trained to handle these situations and they put their training aside to take their anger out on a man who dared to disrespect them.

    What a disgrace these officers were to the very uniform they wear. Congratulations in bringing more negative attention to a career that should bring pride and honor. Shame on all of you for violating the trust and respect we had for you.

    Your maker knows where your heart was on that night and you will be called to atone for your sins in the end, even though you have managed to be help unaccountable on Earth.

       —Laura Shehan    Apr. 6 '09 - 05:46PM    #
  11. why don’t you all move to west willow live there for a few months and then tell us what you think. | I don’t in any way i.e. categorically condone what happened in this incident. But there were certainly mitigating factors that are being completely ignored on this forum. Chiefly that individuals took it upon themselves to interfere with police business. Do you all encourage your children to interfere when they see the cops pulling there friends over? do you suggest that your friends or your spouse argue when stopped by the police? I hope not. What would have happened had those involved simply left and moved on as they were first told to do?

    All kinds of crap happens in that area you all should at least pretend to have a bit of empathy for the intractable nature of things the cops have to deal with.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 7 '09 - 09:38PM    #
  12. Could you be more specific regarding the “all kinds of crap” that you say “happens in that area”? Do you have first hand experience or any data to back this up or are you just going by what you’ve heard?

    Could you also be more specific about what the Lee brothers did to “interfere with police business”? The videos do not contain anything about the initial traffic stop, nor do they show any interference with police.

    You ask, “What would have happened had those involved simply left and moved on as they were first told to do?” Are you aware that Clifton Lee had actually obeyed the officers’ order to leave the scene and was on his way home, when the officers “halked him”? (Officer’s words at about 1:00 of video )

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 7 '09 - 10:23PM    #
  13. Apparently it is a capital offense to interfere with police business. I would ask what, exactly, falls under the heading of “police business”. I would ask, but maybe I should just move on, and do as I’m told.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 7 '09 - 11:06PM    #
  14. The area is well known for crime. As I said if you think it is not move there……….you won’t do it.

    What reason would you or asnyone have to interfere with police business_ specifically as I recall relatives if the Lee’s were stopped in an auto by the deputies. The Lee’sd happened upon the scene.At that time they were told to move on.They chose instead to argue and defy what they were told. I will ask you again would any of you advocate that someone you care about a spouse a child a grandchild anyone confront law enforcement in this manner? How in the hell was it any of the Lee brothers business?They should have simply moved on. It is terrible what happened but frankly you all are being dishonest by not acknowledging the obvious mitigating circumstances.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 8 '09 - 03:05AM    #
  15. ziggy, your view on the West Willow incident, now, after the release of the videos, is seemingly identical to the view you expressed BEFORE the release of the videos. Now, like before, you are justifying the officers’ conduct by saying that it is a high crime area, and that the Lee brothers should not have interfered with the business of the officers.

    Both of your justifications for the officers’ conduct are totally unsupported and reek of classism and racism and do nothing to exonerate the actions of the officers. You haven’t offered any evidence to support this higher rate of crime in the area except to assert to say that it is “well known”. (It is “well known” by whom? )

    But regardless of the amount of crime in the neighborhood, you still haven’t explained how it justifies the actions by the officers. As shown in the newly released videos, neither of the brothers were threats to the officers at the time of the incidents. So please explain, ziggy, exactly how this high crime area you assert was justification for the officers to “halk down” (and eventually kill) Clifton Lee while he was just trying to run home? Similarly, please explain exactly how the high crime area was justification for pulling a handcuffed Bruce Lee back out of the squad car to beat him? Were the officers judging Bruce and exacting punishment because of the high rate of crime in the area?

    Likewise, in light of the videos, your “interference with police” justification doesn’t hold any water. As the videos show, at the time each of the brothers were attacked by the officers, neither was in a position to “interfere” with police. Bruce was handcuffed in the back of a squad car, while (unarmed) Clifton was running away from the officers, toward his home.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 8 '09 - 06:37AM    #
  16. I agree my view has not changed.Why should it? I also have said presently and previously that I don’t condone what happened. I do say that had the Lee bros simply moved on as they were asked or told to do there is a damn good chance the outcome would have been different.

    There seems little point in discussing this here as inflammatory language “attacked by the police” is casually tossed about. Also there is such an unrealistic ideal of what the police should be here that it can only be described as fantasy. Cops are human. When people i.e. cops are constantly dealing with shitheads bad things can happen. Can you honestly not see this? I will ask again what possible reason would anyone involve themselves in a police traffic stop that they were not a part of?
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 8 '09 - 07:09AM    #
  17. Mr Selbin, Mr Lee came to the aid of a family member he felt was being abused by the police. Disobedience of a police command should not equate police abuse, especially death. The folks in West Willow were tired of being harassed by the police and acted out in response. Spitting on a cop that is handcuffed and seated in the back of your patrol car warrants a breathable cover placed over the suspects head and then transportation to the county jail for processing. A warrant for an Assault on a PO would be the last bit of work the officers would do once the suspect is processed. It did not warrant dragging the handcuffed subject out of the car and beating the shit out of him. That’s not fantasy, that’s reality! Nor is it ever warranted to kick and asphyxiate an unresponsive subject! Don’t believe me, ask the number of cops in Washtenaw County that felt these officers were completely out of line and nothing but thugs. Might I suggest you start outside the Sheriff’s Dept?
    Jerry Clayton’s got his hands full. I wish him the best-

       —scooter62    Apr. 8 '09 - 05:16PM    #
  18. I really have to take issue with this characterization of West Willow as some kind of cesspool of crime and violence. Have you ever been there? It is a tidy suburban neighborhood of pretty well kept houses. My former Chief Deputy was a homeowner there for years, with his wife and young daughter.

    When I was in law school, I lived in central Detroit for three years. Within a block of the two places I lived were abandoned buildings and vacant lots strewn with rubble and trash. There were a total of four nearby killings during the three years I lived there. West Willow is nothing like that.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 8 '09 - 07:00PM    #
  19. ziggy seems to share the sentiment of the officer in the Clifton Lee video who shows a similar contempt for the “area” when he taunts (deceased?) Clifton Lee at 2:38, “Welcome to your neighborhood.” and elsewhere quips at about 0:45 of the Bruce lee video that the “mouthing off” of the neighborhood’s inhabitants must be due to “something in the water”. Moving on…

    It should be noted that none of this would have came to light, were it not for the videos from the cameras mounted on the squad cars. The testimony/reports by these officers of what occurred would have been accepted and there would have been no basis for either a civil or criminal lawsuit. Washtenaw County Commissioners would have had no reason to settle with the Lee family for $4 million.

    There is a spot in the Bruce Lee video, where an officer seems to notice that his previous actions were caught on camera. At about 0:38, after the officers had taken Bruce from the squad car and forced him to the ground, an officer kneeling beside Bruce suddenly stands up and looks back toward the camera, before turning back toward Bruce. The officer immediately backs away from Bruce several feet and doesn’t re-enter the altercation for the remainder of the clip.

    This is somewhat subjective, but the officer’s reaction here is consistent with an officer who had just realized that what he was doing was being captured by the camera of the squad car behind him. Just ten seconds prior to this realization, immediately after Bruce hits the ground, this same officer is seen delivering a right hand jab toward Bruce’s head.

    At about 2:00 of the video, another officer seems to turn around and notice the camera. Immediately, the officer then asks another officer to turn off his spotlight and says that a car needs to be moved. The car that is facing the camera is then moved a few feet forward until it obstructs but doesn’t completely block, the camera’s view of Bruce Lee, who is handcuffed and laying face down on the ground.

    Again, this may be subjective, but the officer’s reaction seems consistent with an officer who had just noticed that a camera had been capturing their treatment of Bruce Lee. The requests to turn off the spotlight and move the car forward are consistent with intent to block/obstruct the camera’s view. There doesn’t seem to be any other purpose to moving the car forward, as the move seemed to place the car even further away from Bruce, who was then thrown into the back seat. The officer picked up Bruce by his arms, which were handcuffed behind his back, and pushed him face-first, into the backseat. This rough treatment could have injured Bruce further, including dislocating his shoulders, which is probably why the attempt was made to block the camera. However, the glare from the car’s headlights was edited out, which allowed a view of the officer tossing Bruce into the backseat.

    This is all speculation, but the officers noticing they were being caught on camera may have saved Bruce’s life. Who knows how much longer the “restraining” would have continued if the officers never became aware of the camera. Who knows if Bruce would have received the same treatment as Clifton, with a number of officers piling on top of him.

    In the Clifton Lee video, the officers seem oblivious to the fact that what they were doing was being captured by the camera. As the officers were not in view of the camera when they first confronted Clifton, they may not have realized that in the struggle to take him down, he had fell several feet into the camera’s view. It certainly wouldn’t seem that officer Eberle would have been comfortable with the camera’s view of him applying the chemical agent to the face of handcuffed Clifton Lee.

    For the citizen who just wants to survive such an encounter, a nugget of wisdom can be culled from this tragedy. If you can somehow manage to bring your struggle with the officers into camera’s view, then your chances are much better. Unfortunately, the rogue gang at WCS who are responsible for all this also learned an important lesson about being aware of the location of the camera. I’m sure they will be much more careful, next time.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 8 '09 - 08:11PM    #
  20. As I said if it so great move there. It aint.And not any of you will move there.

    Also anyone that interferes with what the cops are doing is an idiot. There are mechanisms to bring the police to accountability interfering with a traffic stop is not one of them. I would lve to hear of one of you clowns moving to west willow for a year and then hearing how you felt about things.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 9 '09 - 06:09AM    #
  21. Ziggy, not only did I live in Detroit for three years, I tried to buy a house there, on Merrick just off Rosa Parks Blvd. The deal fell through at the closing when the seller decided he wanted more money. This was back in 1980 when anyone who expressed hope for Detroit was laughed at. I don’t need to move to West Willow to prove anything to you.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 9 '09 - 08:42AM    #
  22. Ziggy, any incident where the police take someone into custody and that person dies as a direct result of the police officers actions is indefensible. Police officers are trained to handle these kinds of situations professionally and in a way that protects the safety of everyone involved. Your repeated attempts to make excuses for the actions of the officers involved is off-base. There are no excuses.

       —John Q.    Apr. 9 '09 - 06:20PM    #
  23. Moving on. An article from November 17, 2008, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputy trial goes to jury today gives a timeline for the video from the squad car that was involved in the initial traffic stop:

    First Video (Hendricks/Campbell cruiser)

    • 12:51:34: Deputy Aaron Hendricks approaches vehicle he just pulled over near corner Eugene and Seneca streets.

    • 12:52:12: Bruce Lee, the uncle of the pulled over driver, approaches on foot and is seen calmly sitting on the hood of Hendrick’s vehicle.

    • 12:55:43: Lee’s brother, Clifton, can be seen walking across the street.

    • 12:56:05: Hendricks calls for backup as he scans people walking on the other side of the street.

    • 12:56:29: His partner, Deputy Chris Campbell, walks across the video to the opposite side of the car.

    • 12:56:49: Hendricks moves closer to the patrol cruiser. He testified he believed a crowd was gathering across the street and feared they would try to free the suspects.

    • 12:57:05: Off-screen shouting and struggle begins between Chris Campbell and Bruce Lee.

    • 12:57:15: Hendricks begins shouting at someone off screen to back up and remove their hands from their pockets. He and Clifton Lee, still off camera, begin loud and heated verbal exchange as Campbell grapples with Bruce Lee on the ground.
    bq. • 12:58:02: Hendricks again orders Clifton Lee to take his hands out of his pockets.

    • 12:58:52: Clifton Lee is seen walking away, past intersection out of view.

    • 12:59:04: Hendricks asks Campbell is he’s “good” and after affirmative response, pursues Clifton Lee up to the corner.

    • 12:59:38: Deputy Joseph Eberle’s car arrives.

    • 12:59:53: Michigan State Police car arrives.

    No reference is made to this video in the article announcing the release of the other three videos.

    I’d like to know the reason(s) why the new sheriff did not release this first video to the public, as it would certainly provide a more complete picture of what happened that night.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 9 '09 - 07:43PM    #
  24. No one is making excuses. It just irks the heck out of me how dishonest and milsleading some of you are………or maybe you are just naive.

    There is no doubt this is high crime area. This is not to say there are not great people there.There are great people in west willow; I associate with several. That does not change the fact that it is a high crime area. Why is it that not one of you will acknowledge that had the Lee bros simply moved on that perhaps none of this would have happened? I don’t condone what happened. I have said it repeatedly. However for no one here to admit the stupidity of the Lee bros illustrates the fundamental dishonesty of this threead. As for the video it frankly is too confusing. Sure if you already have your mind made up then you may convince yourself it supports your view. The lesson here is to tell those you care about not to involve themselves is something that is none of there business. This might have been avoided had the Lee bros had.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 9 '09 - 09:20PM    #
  25. You have every right to ask why your brother is being held, asphyxiated, or killed by the police.

    And, apparently, the police have every right to kill you for asking. The local prosecutors seem to agree, in most cases.

    If you have a problem with that, apparently you are required to move to West Willow, in order to show your honesty. Then your death will go unnoticed, as West Willow is apparently a free-fire zone.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 9 '09 - 09:53PM    #
  26. OK, ziggy, picture this scenario. I’m one of the great people you associate with in West Willow. As you drive by my neighborhood, you notice that the WCS has pulled my car over, not far from my house. I notice you and wave for you to come over, but you politely refuse, keeping to your rule to not become involved in such matters.

    What’s the first thing I’m going to do when I see you again?


    And that will be the end of our friendship.

    Now picture a slightly different scenario, with a totally different outcome.

    This time I’m a member of your immediate family and I have just purchased a home in West Willow. Like before, you see my car pulled over, and you see me waving for you to stop. But again, you decline, saying to yourself that it is none of your business.

    But this time, something goes horribly wrong at my routine traffic stop, and you never see me again…

    Are you going to have a rough time living with your decision, ziggy?

    Now you’ve stated your argument several times, so it is time to move on.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 9 '09 - 10:36PM    #
  27. Your argument is predicated on the notion that West Willow residents are full human beings, worthy of having a friend inquire as to their status.

    Let’s see if your premise is accepted.

    Or is West Willow a free-fire zone for the authorities?

       —The Colonel    Apr. 9 '09 - 10:41PM    #
  28. Mr. Schils are you thst naive? If I see you stopped and you indicate you want me to stop I am going to ask the cops if I can talk to you. If they say no I might inquire as to how I might contact you or I might tell you to call me when you can. Is that so damn hard to understand? Frankly you strike me as one who has had little contact with the police. I wish I could say the same for myself. However having had contact with the police in the past I have learned how best to behave to minimize things.

    As for any foot being planted anywhere on my person for such an idiotic reason believe me you would be met with the same. Nice post colonel too pad it is all B.S.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 10 '09 - 01:11AM    #
  29. “Why is it that not one of you will acknowledge that had the Lee bros simply moved on that perhaps none of this would have happened?”

    Because it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter why the Lee brothers were taken into custody. Once the police decided to take them into custody, they had an obligation, a responsibility, and a duty to do it professionally and in a manner that protected themselves and the Lee brothers. When Clifton Lee died, for whatever reason, the police failed that obligation, responsbility and duty and nothing that preceded that justified that outcome. The idea that by virtue of being in a bad neighborhood or being perceived to have interfered with a police stop should justify the death of anyone is a sickening and frightening attitude. If we have people in law enforcement who believe that, they should be drummed out of whatever agency they work with as soon as possible.

       —John Q.    Apr. 10 '09 - 01:18AM    #
  30. Sure it’s irrelevant in your fantasy world. I bet if you ask Clifton lee’s family they might wish he had of moved on.

    Btw who the hell is justifying his death? Not me. I am simply saying this thread on this forum is so damned dishonest it is sickening. But I am fairly certain none of you do or would associate with the demographic in west willow.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 10 '09 - 01:28AM    #
  31. “But I am fairly certain none of you do or would associate with the demographic in west willow”.

    You know what they say about making assumptions…

       —scooter62    Apr. 10 '09 - 02:39AM    #
  32. Michael, Larry, John, Scooter—clearly Ziggy isn’t being objective about this. Even if he/she were, there wouldn’t be much value in convincing him/her, would there?

       —Steve Bean    Apr. 10 '09 - 03:05AM    #
  33. You have a good point, Steve. But I felt compelled to try and convince him/her otherwise.


       —scooter62    Apr. 10 '09 - 03:26AM    #
  34. Ziggy,

    The point of your “…they just should have moved on” point is that Clifton Lee is dead due to his own fault. The police are blameless, the prosecutor who did not prosecute the police is blameless, the Sheriff who supervised the police who killed Clifton Lee is blameless. No, the fault lies with Bruce Lee who apparently spit on a Sheriff’s deputy after having mace applied to his face while in hand-cuffs in the back of a squad car and Clifton Lee who saw his family members being roughed-up by the Sheriff’s deputies and tried to stop it. The fact is, it is you who is dishonest. The fact that someone could be killed in such a brutal and callous manner and you respond not by questioning the killers but the dead is truly Orwellian. If any good comes out of this it lies in the public seeing their Sheriff’s deputies, local prosecutor and the elected Sheriff at the time put to the test and failing badly. This is a real-world test with a real-world outcome. What is so repugnant about your view is that you fail to appreciate that there are courageous people in the world who will resist in the face of danger when they feel they are being wronged and Clifton Lee was one of those people. This is our tax dollars at work folks; I say we cut the funding spigot, that ought to send a message! Could we vote to reduce Mackie’s pay? How about cutting the Sheriff’s budget in half?
       —ChuckL    Apr. 10 '09 - 04:09AM    #
  35. So which one of you has friends from west willow? None of you I bet. Be honest.

    If you think Clifton Lee was courageous forgive me but you are not very smart. Lets review the scenario. Lee’s cousin was stopped by the wcsd. The Lee bros came upon the scene. They asked why there cousin was being stopped. The deputies told them to move on…WHY THE HECK DID THEY NOT JUST MOVE ON????????????????????. Why is this so hard for you all to comprehend? None of this would have happened had they simply done as asked.At this point the Lee’s argued with the deputies. Who the hell is stupid enough to argue with any cop? Maybe there was a wrong done. How in the heck was Clifton Lee going to do anything other then exacerbate the situation? Did you/ he think the deputies were just gonna let everyone go at that point? How naive are you all? The problem with most of you is you have zero contact(maybe professionally) with the likes of the Lee’s and many of the people in west willow. You don’t want to have anything to do with them either. You sit back and safely post inflammatory crap about the wcsd because the environment the deal with you all will not go near. Frankly I don’t care what you all think of me. I will however point out that a jury did seem to agree with me.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 10 '09 - 04:42AM    #
  36. Re Post#9: It is correct that there is nothing in the videos that I have been able to see to suggest spitting, furtive movements or mouthing off. My conclusions relied upon the narrative of the deputy given to Sgt. Mahalick as well as the findings of the federal judge at the sentencing of Deputy Eric Kelly.

    Quoting the March 19, 2009 Free Press article:

    “U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said Wednesday the videotape showed Bruce Lee was violent, belligerent, spit on one of the deputies, and threatened to shoot the deputies if he got his handcuffs off….”

    It is worthy to note that Deputy Hoy was acquitted by a jury of federal civil rights violations in connection with Bruce Lee, so both the federal court jury and Judge Cox had the benefit of not only the videos, but also witness testimony, documentary evidence, and the respective arguments of the prosecution and defense counsel as to the incident involving Bruce Lee, even though I believe the jury and judge may have had some level of pro-law enforcement bias. The findings of the judge and jury must nevertheless be given a certain level of deference.

    The issue of whether Bruce Lee spit at the deputy or not is of no specific relevance to me. It is like a football referee attempting to divine whether or not a quarterback is committing intentional grounding – speculation as to whether there were receivers in the area of a thrown pass. Bruce Lee’s intent to spit on a deputy may never be known. Whether he did so or not cannot excuse the subsequent conduct by the deputies in pulling Bruce Lee out of the squad car and roughing him up.

    Also of interest are the postings of County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum on this thread and the prior related thread pertaining to the Minzey re-election bid. Larry’s focus on the West Willow incident appears to be on the general character of the neighborhood itself as opposed to analyzing the conduct of the Sheriff’s department personnel toward Messrs. Lee. I do not believe this omission to be inadvertent; for an elected county official to side with either the Lee family, on one hand, or the Sheriff’s Department, on the second hand, would likely anger a substantial percentage of his/her voter constituency. Larry seems to promote the West Willow neighborhood as safe and well-maintained, and being an elected official, he should give positive spin to a locale within his jurisdiction.

    What boggles my mind is why Larry wanted to purchase a house on Merrick near Rosa Parks Boulevard, which I agree with him is a horrendous area of Detroit. I attended Wayne State University in the 1980s as Larry did and am familiar with that area. It is rife with abandoned and dilapidated housing and has been for years. When I attended Wayne State in the 1980s I remember serial killer Alton Coleman diposed of a body in an abandoned house on the corner of Merrick and Trumbull across the street from the WSU football field and just east of Rosa Parks Blvd. where Larry wanted to buy a home.

    As to the ongoing argument as to whether West Willow is a great neighborhood of well-kept homes or a crime-infested slum, I think the focus is in the wrong aspect. In Detroit, violent crime does occur in some of the better neighborhoods where comparatively expensive homes are. The best example is Rosa Parks (the person, not the boulevard), who was injured in a robbery at her home several years ago in one of Detroit’s more well-kept neighborhoods; there was still substantial levels of violent crime in her area. This incident prompted Max Fisher and Al Taubman to purchase a lease for Mrs. Parks on a downtown apartment for her to avoid future indignities and danger. In sum, both run-down areas and well-kept neighborhoods of Detroit can have prohibitive crime rates, and I see West Willow as possibly being a dangerous area even though its home values may be substantial.

    I will also disagree with Larry that the 1980s were a time of despair for Detroit. Cass Corridor and Woodward near WSU during that period were teeming with delicatessens, fast food restaurants, bars, and small diners as well as many large low-rent apartment buildings. It was the welfare cutoff in 1991 or 1992 that led to ruin for that area. The 154-unit Seville Apartments, for example on Second Avenue was shut down within weeks of the welfare cutoff and other multi-story apartment structures in that area were abandoned and went into bank or property tax foreclosure.

    What is still on the horizon, however, is the administrative departmental hearings for Hoy and Eberle. It is possible that, with the lesser burden of proof than the criminal trial, the deputies may have a harder time fighting this proceeding as opposed to the criminal trial.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 10 '09 - 05:07AM    #
  37. Here’s my last post on this. Mr Selbin, I have family in West Willow….and I was born and raised in Detroit.

    I find your posts disturbing on so many levels. You are arguing you point with lawyers, cops and folks far more knowledgeable of West Willow than you and you still don’t get it. Time to come to the realization that no one posting on this topic is going to be in agreement with you.

       —scooter62    Apr. 10 '09 - 05:13AM    #
  38. That does not make me wrong Scooter.

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 10 '09 - 05:36AM    #
  39. Actually, it does.

       —David Cahill    Apr. 10 '09 - 05:42AM    #
  40. Ziggy,

    You’re a coward! It took some verbal acrobatics to tease it out of you, but now we know you are a coward. Your right Ziggy, it’s never “smart” to be a hero and stand up for something. Thanks for admitting it in so many words.
       —ChuckL    Apr. 10 '09 - 06:17AM    #
  41. How is interfering with a police traffic stop being hero? Don’t bother answering as I already know ir doesn’t.

    Actually Mr. Cahill it doesn’t……… when are you moving over to west willow?
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 10 '09 - 07:20AM    #
  42. Larry’s focus on the West Willow incident appears to be on the general character of the neighborhood itself as opposed to analyzing the conduct of the Sheriff’s department personnel toward Messrs. Lee.

    Ahem. Perhaps you missed this post .

    What boggles my mind is why Larry wanted to purchase a house on Merrick near Rosa Parks Boulevard, which I agree with him is a horrendous area of Detroit.

    My first year at Wayne, I lived with two other law students, one of whom had bought a 9-bedroom 3-story Victorian house on Avery for $5,500 (formerly a rooming house for 11 junkies). By the time we were filling out the 2000 census forms, after the house had been cleaned up a lot and fixed up a little, we decided it was probably worth about $10,000.

    The house I tried to buy was just a couple blocks away, a 4-bedroom brick house, a little run down but certainly salvageable, for $3,000. It’s gone now.

    I will also disagree with Larry that the 1980s were a time of despair for Detroit. Cass Corridor and Woodward near WSU during that period were teeming with delicatessens, fast food restaurants, bars, and small diners as well as many large low-rent apartment buildings.

    That is not the Cass Corridor I knew in 1979-82. Perhaps some of that happened after I left.

    I admit to a love-hate relationship with Detroit. It was like living in the ruins of a city. When you came out of the law library at night, you could smell the smoke from abandoned buildings burning. Thick clouds of malodorous steam rose from every manhole cover, because there was no money to patch steam leaks. The buses I relied on to get around were so irregular that the schedule was worthless, and so crowded that you could never get a seat on a weekday. And the city government seemed actively opposed to any efforts to improve things.

    The three of us who lived in that house on Avery were all from out-state Michigan. People told us that wasn’t a coincidence — nobody from suburban Detroit would ever consider living there.

    We expected to be burglarized any day, so we didn’t own anything valuable. But, as it happened, nobody ever broke in. Indeed, in three years of living in central Detroit, relying on walking, bike, and buses to get around at all hours, nobody ever bothered me.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 10 '09 - 07:43AM    #
  43. Er, as should be obvious, I meant the 1980 census, not the 2000 census.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 10 '09 - 07:44AM    #
  44. I believe that Ziggy does not intend to condone the conduct of the Sheriff’s Department in the West Willow incident, but rather to express disapproval of the “bravado” of Messrs. Lee toward the deputies and to equate such bravado with utter foolishness that has led foreseeably to grave consequences to the parties exhibiting such behavior toward the deputies.

    Clearly, the deputies were using force in such a manner so as to make examples of Messrs. Lee in the eyes of West Willow citizenry so as to deter future disrespectful behavior. Whether this goal was successful may be subject to valid debate, however the flip side is that the County Commission and its insurance carrier have already doled out $4 million in wrongful death suit proceeds to Clifton Lee, Jr.s estate and may have millions more in exposure for various types of liability. Deputy Eric Kelly is now a convicted felon and his law enforcement career appears over; Hoy and Eberle await their fate in administrative departmental proceedings.

    There is the federal civil rights suit that currently pends by Bruce Lee. The criminally exonerated deputies have retained legal counsel and announced, via that attorney, that they will bring reverse discrimination claims. Remember that in the Malice Green case the exonerated Detroit P.D. officers actually collected more cash in lawsuit proceeds than the Green estate did for the wronful death claim.

    This is all because Messrs. Lee and WCSD deputies could not treat each other with mutual respect on that summer night in 2006. This entire mess is a product of that equation. To this extent I agree with Ziggy that numerous lives and careers were ruined or damaged for no good reason. This is why Jerry Stewart needs to change attitudes of deputies under his command and to mend fences in the West Willow community.

    The only persons profiting from this incident are the trial lawyers.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 10 '09 - 08:59AM    #
  45. That would be Sheriff Jerry Clayton, please – not Stewart. I am sure he will.

       —Leah Gunn    Apr. 10 '09 - 03:03PM    #
  46. Ms. Gunn, did Jerry Clayton release the videos at the urgings of the Board of Commissioners or did he do this completely on his own?

    As I pointed out earlier, an A2 News article gives a timeline for the video from the “Hendricks/Campbell cruiser” — the first WCS squad car on the scene which dealt with the initial traffic stop. The article gives this summary of what is seen occurring on this first video:

    The video recordings start with images of Deputy Aaron Hendricks approaching a car near the intersection of Cayuga and Eugene streets in the West Willow neighborhood on June 1, 2006.

    With one hand on his weapon, Hendricks asks James Lee to get out of the car and immediately places him in handcuffs. As a car with Lee’s uncle, Bruce Lee, cruises by, Hendricks tells James Lee he’s under arrest for driving without a license.

    Bruce Lee gets his older brother, Clifton, from their mother’s nearby house, and they and another man approach the traffic stop. Bruce Lee appears to say something to Hendricks and calmly sits on the hood of the police car.

    Within a minute, Hendricks calls for backup as he uses his flashlight to scan people walking on the other side of the street. His partner, former deputy Chris Campbell, exits the patrol car and is seen escorting Bruce Lee across the front of the car and out of the camera’s view.

    About a minute later, off-screen shouting and scuffling erupts as a struggle between Bruce Lee and Campbell begins.

    Roughly 10 seconds elapse before Hendricks begins repeatedly shouting at Clifton Lee to back up and remove his hands from his pockets.

    After a heated verbal exchange, Lee begins to walk away, threatening to get more people involved and promising the officers they would see him again.

    About 10 seconds later, Hendricks verbally checks on Campbell and pursues Clifton Lee around the corner as backup patrol cars can be seen in the distance speeding toward them.

    At that point, prosecutors switched recordings to show what was captured by the camera in Eberle’s car.

    Ms. Gunn, are you aware of why this first video has not yet been released to the public?

    Also, in the released videos, there are comments that give someone’s view of what the video footage is purported to show. For instance, the intro to the Bruce Lee video includes a comment which flatly states “Lee spits on Hoy through the window”.

    Ms. Gunn, are you aware of who was the author of these editorializing comments? Was it the Sheriff’s office, the newspaper, or someone else? Do you know if these comments were included in the video footage that was viewed in court?

    Thanks in advance for your response to these questions.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 10 '09 - 04:55PM    #
  47. I believe Jerry himself made the decision to release the video. A few days earlier, he let me know that he was going to do so. In any case, it has been taken for granted for some time that the video footage would eventually become public.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 10 '09 - 07:19PM    #
  48. See Larry’s post.

       —Leah Gunn    Apr. 10 '09 - 09:02PM    #
  49. Re Post#45: I stand corrected; I was confusing Sheriff Jerry Clayton with Jerry Stewart of the Ann Arbor Media Group on State Street.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 10 '09 - 09:19PM    #
  50. Leah and Larry, neither of you addressed my question regarding why the decision was made not to release the video from the first patrol car. Nor my question regarding who is the author of the editorializing comments included with the released videos.

    Maybe the new sheriff Jerry Clayton will answer my questions, when he checks Arbor Update.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 10 '09 - 09:31PM    #
  51. Michael, I don’t know those details. I never saw the video before the public release. I do agree that those questions need answers.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Apr. 10 '09 - 09:33PM    #
  52. Mark,

    While I agree with you that for the players involved, what happened was simply not worth it; I feel we should not overlook a significant benefit to what happened. That is, this incident forced our government officials to respond by making difficult decisions. We normally don’t get to put our government officials to the test the way this incident has so we normally never get to see what kind of character they posses. I’m sad to say our government officials failed and failed badly this impromptu test. They were caught when they thought nobody would be paying attention or people would find out when it was too late. When it comes to the new Sheriff getting elected, I suspect it has more to do with Minzey’s dysfunctional inter-governmental squabbling than with outrageous conduct of the Sheriff’s deputies in regard to the Clifton Lee incident. I won’t hold my breath that the new Sheriff will do much better when it comes to setting policy that will effectively prevent another Clifton Lee type incident. Of course, the biggest snake in the grass is our Prosecutor, Brian Mackie, who has no trouble prosecuting grandma’s for trespassing on railroad property but can’t find any violations of law when a gang of thugs murders somebody on camera no less.
       —ChuckL    Apr. 11 '09 - 01:34AM    #
  53. It was a confluence of events that doomed Minzey’s re-election candidacy in 2008. I do not doubt that whatsoever. The Lee incident was, however, a substantial factor in his landslide defeat at the polls to a man who had never held public office before and was a virtual unknown until his 2008 candidacy.

    It was the lawsuits over the operation of the jail that were instrumental in mobilizing powerful figures in the County Administration and Board of Commissioners against Minzey, who recruited Jerry Clayton as a candidate to unseat Minzey. Without the backing of these highly influential interests, Minzey was vulnerable.

    There was Minzey then raising eyebrows over his letter to a credible Republican challenger that raised issues of possible Hatch Act violations due to the fact that candidate, a police chief, administered federally-funded programs pursuant to his staus as police chief. This was seen as an attempt of Minzey to advance his own personal intersts in remaining in offfice rather than concerns over enforcement of an obscure federal law. Minzey as it turned out ended up later being investigated himself for posible violation of the same law.

    Lastly, Minzey’s failure to respond to requests for debate appearances or even from ArborUpdate for campaign questionnaire answers made him appear aloof and detached from the public who elected him.

    The August 5th primary election results had to be shocking to him. Minzey barely beat Clayton in Minzey’s own hometown of Chelsea and in other areas of Washtenaw County, including Ann Arbor, Minzey was demolished by Clayton. Minzey ran unopposed in 2004 and upset Republican Sheriff Ron Schebil in 2000. Minzey’s political fortunes began spiraling downward with the dispute with county and his career as an elected official reached an embarrassing end last August when he could not get 40% of the vote in the Democratic primary.

    Minzey’s legacy in the eyes of most local political observers will be one of abrasive conflict with other county figures and sub-par performance if not outright failure as an elected official. Minzey had his supporters, especially deputies within the department who liked his style. Jerry Clayton can only improve the Sheriff’s Department if only because it has reached rock bottom already in many areas.

    As to the County Prosecutor, I want to stress that I have a great deal of respect for most past or present personnel of the office of County Prosecutor. This would include such assistants as Rolland Sizemore, Eric Gutenberg and Dick Pierce. Mackie’s office has had notable failures in recent yaers, including the Catherine Wilkerson case and the infamous rape prosecution where an arrest warrant lie dormant for around 25 years and the fugitive eventually had charges dismissed by Judge Swartz due to undue delay. Mackie’s predecessor, Bill Delhey, was seen as a brilliant trial attorney who was known for beating Ivan Barris and his young associate Neil Fink in 1970 in the John Norman Collins case. Delhey was widely respected; Mackie has been criticized.

    The final chapters of the Lee saga have yet to play out, but it has thus far underscored the existence of a county government that is unwilling to hold its Sheriff’s deputies reponsible for questionable conduct toward its citizens.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 11 '09 - 02:56AM    #
  54. An update on the “reverse” discrimination lawsuit: The Ann Arbor News reported yesterday that Pinckney attorney James Fett filed the lawsuit on behalf of Washtenaw County Sheriff’s sergeant Shawn Hoy and “plans to file similar lawsuits on behalf of deputies Joseph Eberle and Aaron Hendricks”,

    Suspended Washtenaw County Sheriff’s sergeant sues the county for racial discrimination

    From the article,

    Hoy alleges in the lawsuit that former Sheriff Dan Minzey and State Police Sgt. Twana Powell used racial bias in decisions made after the incident. Hoy is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for lost wages, interest, attorney fees, humiliation and embarrassment.


    The lawsuit claims Powell, who is black and was assigned to the case, provided an inaccurate police report that was the premise for the grand jury indictments.

    Fett said Minzey was adhering to county policies that favor African Americans and was further motivated to scapegoat the deputies because of his re-election campaign.

    “Minzey embraced the racially-biased investigation and report because he believed that the only way to placate the black community and secure a primary win over his black opponent was to scapegoat Hoy, Eberle and Hendricks,” Fett said.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 14 '09 - 08:23PM    #
  55. Can this be true? Is responsiveness to black citizens now called “reverse discrimination”? Was the local prosecutor correct to simply let an unarmed black man die in custody, and then to prosecute no one for it?

       —The Colonel    Apr. 14 '09 - 09:25PM    #
  56. Attorney James Fett called the Minzey Administration “gutless wonders” because he says they “bowed to political pressure and racial politics”. I agree with the “gutless” part but for an opposite reason—after viewing the videos from the squad cars, the previous sheriff should have FIRED EVERYONE RESPONSIBLE!

    Minzey didn’t show any guts by only suspending a few of the officers and Fett’s objection that none of the officers should have even been suspended at all is absurd.

    I’m curious as to what county policies attorney Fett is referring to that he feels “favor African Americans”.

    As ridiculous as this “reverse” discrimination lawsuit seems, if attorney James Fett is lucky enough to draw a similar judge and jury as was drawn for the criminal cases, then I think his chances of winning are pretty good. I notice many of the comments to the article are sympathetic to Fett’s line of thinking, although I suspect that many of the IP addresses can be traced back to the WCS.

    Regarding the videos from the WCS squad cars, earlier ( here and here ) I mentioned that the video from the “Hendricks/Campbell cruiser” — the first WCS squad car on the scene that dealt with the initial traffic stop— has not yet been released to the public. Now I see references in other newspaper articles to more videos/audio recordings that have not yet been publicly released.

    This article mentions “two videos” being shown to the jurors on the second day of the trial of Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shawn Hoy. Pertaining to this same trial, a later article makes a reference to the prosecution playing “the third and final video recording of the incident captured from a police cruiser”. So there must be a total of three videos of the Bruce Lee incident, only one of which has been released to the public.

    Still another article makes a reference to the same trial and “audio recordings of conversations between deputies and dispatchers.” These dispatcher recordings have not yet been made public, either.

    So there seems to be a significant amount of material we haven’t seen or heard yet. Hmmm……

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 15 '09 - 04:39AM    #
  57. Detective Twana Powell is the same State Police investigator who was in charge of the case of Kwame Kilpatrick’s alleged assault on a police officer attempting to serve process. That assault charge resulted in a conviction.

    Jim Fett has a long history of huge reverse discrimination settlements against governmental entities on behalf of law enforcement officers.

    My guess is these reverse discrimination cases will never go to trial due to their political nature. If the trial judge does not dismiss the cases prior to trial, the plaintiffs will likely get handsome settlement offers by the county to avoid a jury trial.

    Like Geoffrey Fieger, Fett passed up the opportunity to file his action in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court. No surprise there; he obviously wanted to avoid the old boys network that links politically the sheriff’s administration with the circuit court; Fett also avoided a possible jury pool that may have likely sided against law enforcement. The U.S. District Court jury pool is much broader and the chances of a more favorable jury pick greater.

    I am sure Hoy and Eberle have substantial public support and Fett is going to make their suspensions appear as political as possible.

    As I stated earlier the Lee incident is a dream for trial lawyers. The county can expect to incur ultimate costs in the millions of dollars over what has already been paid out.

    What has been conspicuously absent in the Lee saga has been any formal position taken by Brian Mackie’s office. It is exceedingly rare for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to be involved in a criminal prosecution for police brutality; their invovement in any criminal civil rights case usually results when there is an unsatisfactory state criminal court result, such as the Vincent Chin homicide case, the Algiers Motel incident, or the Rodney King case. What makes the Lee incident unique is that, unlike the other cases, no criminal prosection existed at the county level whatsoever. Did Brian Mackie take the State Police report, shove it in his desk and forget about it? Did he deliberate whether or not to prosecute with his staff? Nobody knows because Mackie never held any press conference to disclose any findings, although he did at one point hold a press conference with Minzey and Asistant U.S. Attorney Blondell Morey to address the ongoing investigation.

    Expect some legal fireworks in the next several years as the internal machinations of the Lee case with respect to the investigative conduct of Sheriff’s Department and County Prosecutor’s office will likely be revealed in federal court proceedings.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 15 '09 - 06:05AM    #
  58. One point I have seen alluded to earlier in this thread is the lack of completeness in what the public has regarding law enforcement records regarding the Lee incident. Obviously there are questions regarding the completeness of the films taken onsite, but have the incident reports and witness statements been produced pursuant to Freedom of Information Act requests? What about internal memoramdums of the Sheriff’s Department or the Michigan State Police investigation report that Detective Powell created? And the FBI reports?

    There likely have been thousands of pages of documents that have been generated by various agencies relative to the Lee incident. How many of those have been made public is beyond me however the media should have been active in making the appropriate requests.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 15 '09 - 06:46AM    #
  59. Yes, Mark, I see that several days ago, attorney James Fett also filed a “reverse” discrimination lawsuit against Detroit and the 36th District Court,

    Detroit city lawyer sues over discipline for ‘ghetto’ comment

    From the article,

    Leavey resigned as interim corporation counsel in January, shortly after telling a 36th District Court official the court acted like a “ghetto court.”


    Leavey, who remains an attorney in the city law department, has been off work on stress-related medical leave for about two months, said her Pinckney attorney, James Fett.

    “There’s not many things worse than being called a racist, particularly in print and broadcast media,” Fett said. “This has been devastating to Kathleen.”

    So here’s James Fett, protecting white people from racism, all across Michigan!

    On a personal note, after I was fired from Washtenaw County, and after I went through the whole union/arbitration process, my union rep gave me the contact information for James Fett in case I needed any “legal help”. Little did I know that attorney Fett actually works on the side of the arbitrators. So after I received the arbitrator’s ruling, which I then wanted to challenge, I contacted Fett’s office. After spilling my guts in my letter regarding my arguments for overturning the ruling, I was then informed that Mr. Fett works for the other side. That was pretty crafty of my union to induce me into informing the opposition of my beef. I’m sure Mr. Fett forwarded my letter to arbitrator George Roumell, Jr. to give him a “heads up” regarding my intentions.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 15 '09 - 09:15PM    #
  60. Should police simply be immune to prosecution in “bad” neighborhoods?

       —The Colonel    Apr. 16 '09 - 01:26AM    #
  61. From James Lee:

    Racism caused death of Clifton Lee

    The worst part for Lee, he said, was a kick Eberle delivered to Lee’s head after it appeared he had lost consciousness.

    “That was straight racist,” Lee said…

    “It was like a clan killing,” James Lee said. “We’re looking for justice. My brother is no longer here.”

    Leading up to the events that night, Lee said he spoke to his brother Clifton regularly about police activity in West Willow.

    “It was like the police were terrorizing the neighborhood,” he said.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 16 '09 - 10:04PM    #
  62. If we take the videos in tandem with the apparent position of the State Police detective Twana Powell in support of prosecution of the deputies in the Lee case it is still unexplainable why the Washtenaw County Prosecutor did not file charges, at the very least, against Deputy Eric Kelly, who is not only seen on videotape kicking Bruce Lee while Lee was face down on the ground, but who did not even opt for a jury trial, but pled guilty in federal court, to violating Bruce Lee’s civil rights and conceded to kicking him in the head and ,further, actually apologized to Mr. Lee in federal court during his sentencing. Kelly is convicted on his own plea and his only “excuse” was the behavior of Lee, which does not amount to a legal excuse for Kelly’s conduct. Kelly is one deputy who has not and cannot complain of victimization by political forces as his conduct was admittedly intolerable for a person in his position. It simply boggles the mind why Kelly was not charged in the state court by Prosecutor Brian Mackie.

    In fact, the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy would not bar a criminal prosecution at this point by Mackie’s office for assault since civil rights statutes protect different interests than assault statutes. That is why we saw the acquitted Rodney King LAPD defendants retried in federal court on the same incident, but on violation of federal civil rights laws. The state court acquittals did not bar a federal civil rights violation indictment; ditto for the Vincent Chin case. Given that Brian Mackie had the videos plus a State Police investigator’s report apparently supporting the filing of charges it is incomprehensible why Mackie did zero; he at least owed an explanation to concerned citizens and the Lee family why no charges were forthcoming, but did not even do that, to my knowledge. By not referring the matter out, due to a possible conflict of interest, to a different prosecutorial agency, he effectively stymied any chance Deputy Kelly – or anyone else would face charges in state court arising out of this incident. Only the Michigan Attorney General would then have concurrent powers to bring stste court charges.

    If the State Police investigated this incident, one wonders whether or not they submitted their findings to the Criminal Division of the Michigan Attorney General for consideration of possible charges. Does anyone know if this was done? The Criminal Division of the Michigan Attorney General has a close working relationship with the Michigan State Police.

    One wonders how the FBI eventually got involved in this Lee incident. The Fett allegations seem to imply that State Police Detective Twana Powell somehow unfairly skewed the federal grand jury investigation of the incident against the deputies. How could this be done? The FBI and U.S Attorney’s Office essentially control the grand jury process in federal court.

    Fett claims that Dan Minzey’s actions with regard to the incident were to curry favor with African-American voters prior to a primary election. Am I missing something? My own observations of Minzey in this regard show no commitment in either direction. Invisible and ineffective are good adjectives to descibe Minzey’s conduct not only with respect to West Willow but across the board during his entire eight years in office.

    I would like to hear Prosecutor Brian Mackie make some type of public statement on the final position of his office with respect the Lee incident and whether or not he feels any state court criminal action is appropriate against any of the deputies involved. I cannot believe any credible prosecutor can justify the kicking in the head of a handcuffed man face down on the ground as a reasonable use of police force.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 17 '09 - 04:06AM    #
  63. I agree that Bruce Lee’s behavior while he was handcuffed in the back of the squad car should not be used as a legal excuse for the officers pulling him out and beating him, but that doesn’t seem to be the position taken by Bush appointed Judge Sean Cox when he sentenced the former deputy Eric Kelly.

    Federal judge sentences former Washtenaw County deputy to probation in beating case

    From the article,

    Cox agreed with Kelly’s attorney, Ray Cassar, that Lee provoked the situation through repeated verbal threats and by spitting on Kelly’s supervisor through an open patrol car window during a profane and racially-charged tirade captured on video.
    Although Cox called Kelly’s behavior unprofessional and said it occurred during a brief “loss of sense,” the judge aimed his harshest comments at Lee who was sitting in the courtroom.

    “Our society doesn’t tolerate the degradation of people’s ethnicity or using the racial epithets you threw at the officers,” Cox said. “But even more than that, the act of spitting is absolutely unacceptable. Your behavior was absolutely reprehensible.”

    Bruce Lee’s attorney Bill Goodman was shocked that Judge Cox was focusing on his client. “That was intolerable, he is the victim after all and it was as if he was being sentenced.”

    When Judge Cox characterized officer Kelly’s kicks to the head of Bruce Lee as a “loss of sense” it seems the judge may have been referring to the fact that the officer allowed himself to be caught on video. Sgt. Shawn Hoy, who was standing next to Kelly, regained his “loss of sense” at about 0:38 of the video when he suddenly stood up and looked back at the camera, before backing away from Bruce. The right hand jab Sgt. Hoy delivered just ten seconds or so before that was explained by his attorney to the jury as being part of the officers’ training. Convertino added, “It’s not even clear Hoy’s blow aimed at Lee even struck him, but if it did, it was an appropriate use of force.” The jury apparently bought that, as they only deliberated for two hours before acquitting Hoy.

    BTW, those were steel toe deputy boots that officer Kelly was wearing when he kicked Bruce Lee in the head several times, and this photogragh shows Bruce’s swollen and bruised eyes, afterwards.

    From another article regarding Kelly’s sentencing,

    U.S. District Judge Sean Cox today said the videotape also showed that Bruce Lee was violent, belligerent, spit on one of the deputies and threatened to shoot the deputies when if he got his handcuffs off.

    Lee told Cox that he spat only to get the chemicals from pepper spray out of his mouth.

    This videotape referred to by Judge Cox must not have been released to the public. Rather than threats, all I hear from Bruce Lee on the released video is his pleading with the officers, “Take me in. I can’t take no more…”

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 18 '09 - 07:49PM    #
  64. Re Post #44: I agree the Lee incident must be a dream for trial lawyers.

    The truly sad part is that an innocent person lost their life. The whole situation was completely avoidable if deputies simply followed their training and exercised reasonable restraint.

    Let us hope this situation will never repeat itself in our county.

       —Junior    Apr. 18 '09 - 08:06PM    #
  65. Judge Sean Cox further showed his pro Law Enforcement bias when he dropped a charge against Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shawn Hoy before the case went to the jury.

    From this article,

    But Cox ruled at the end of the evidence portion of the trial, before the case went to the jury, that Hoy could not be held criminally liable for Kelly’s actions. It wasn’t clear Hoy saw Kelly twice kick Lee, let alone had time to stop him, Cox ruled.

    And from this article,

    Cox wrote that the Kelly’s kicks were spontaneous, without warning and occurred in rapid succession. The judge said Hoy could not bear responsibility for Kelly’s actions.
    “Hoy would have had to perceive that Kelly intended to kick Lee a second time and he would also have been required, in that same short time span, to identify and employ a means of preventing that action,” Cox wrote.

    The article states that in the video, a “loud thump” is heard when Kelly kicks Lee in the head, and “that moment on the video appeared to startle one juror…”. This is remarkable that Judge Cox believes that Sgt. Hoy was deaf and blind to what the officer was doing RIGHT NEXT TO HIM!!! A deputy who was under Sgt. Hoy’s command, no less.

    The fact that just one day prior, Sgt. Shawn Hoy opted not to testify on his own behalf, makes this ruling by Judge Cox even more questionable. If Hoy didn’t see nor hear Kelly’s kicks, then why didn’t he go on the record and say so? It’s like Hoy knew Judge Cox was going to let him off the hook the very next day.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Cares said that Cox’s ruling cannot be appealed. Later, after the acquittal, Cares said that Judge Cox dropping the charge “was a significant blow to the case.”

    “Our standard is to seek indictments if there is a reasonable probability of getting a conviction, but the case that went to the jury was not what was presented to the grand jury,” Cares said.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 18 '09 - 10:55PM    #
  66. Junior,

    In regard to your comment, “Let us hope this situation will never repeat itself in our county.” I agree with the sentiment however a cold dose of reality here; first, don’t hold your breath waiting for this. Second, Mackey has sent a clear message that it is o.k. to murder some people…so long as the murderers are the “right” people. I consider Mackey and the prosecutor’s office the most dangerous players involved in all of this. I consider the cops involved as mere tools who when push comes to shove, are expendable. They’re given a green light to kick the shit out of people as long as the blow-back is not too extreme (as long as they are kicking the shit out of the “right” people.) Other than the fact that Clifton Lee was murdered, what these cops did was business as usual. These methods used by police only see the light of day when someone is killed and then only maybe. I’ve been around a few years and I have seen the pattern repeated over and over again. Someone is killed by police, usually someone black. The local prosecutor sits on his ass or even worse like Kim Worthy in Wayne County, prosecutes a news reporter covering the police murder. The only good thing you can say about Mackey is that his behavior is only marginally worse than the typical prosecutor I’ve seen. The best I’ve seen is the local prosecutor appoints an outside special prosecutor who finds…(drum rolls please)…NOTHING! The cops are acquitted if they are even tried; a few people in the community who are paying attention are made aware of the reality of the situation but are powerless to really do anything.

    I really think the best long term solution is to have much fewer cops, much fewer judges, much fewer jails and much smaller court houses. Any courthouse is a cesspool of influence pedaling and good-old boy networking corruption. I’ve also noticed another pattern with Mackey (although probably not unique to him); that is, whenever a corporation needs a dirty deed done dirt cheap, you can count on their boy Brian to dispense with the miscreant. That’s why we have grandmas being prosecuting for trespassing on railroad property and sentenced to a year of probation while white cops can perpetrate murder of a black man without a peep from the guy whose job it is to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

       —ChuckL    Apr. 19 '09 - 07:36AM    #
  67. Sigh so sad more inflammatory bullshit being posted. If only the Lee’s had simply obeyed the deputies aint none of this sad shit would have happened. Just thought I would remind you all of that.

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 19 '09 - 09:15AM    #
  68. Ziggy, What the incident shows is that police use mafia style intimidation tactics not to protect themselves, but to have their way with the people they are dealing with. Normal citizens can only use violence or more likely the threat of violence as a means of self-defense. The police on the other hand, are using violence and threats of violence to compel people to do what they want; not as a means of self-defense. This fact would not go away if the Lee’s had “obeyed the deputies.” Your attitude is typical, the fact that the authorities are using mafia style methods is only a concern when someone dies and then you blame the victim. How can we call our society free when one group of people are allowed to use violence to compel people to do what they want?

       —ChuckL    Apr. 19 '09 - 05:51PM    #
  69. Hey Ziggy,

    Imagine how far along we would be if Martin and Rosa would have just done what the cops told them to…


       —scooter62    Apr. 19 '09 - 09:24PM    #
  70. The situation most goddamned definitely would have gone away had the Lee’s when intially told to ove on ahd of just moved on? Forgive me but are you all that dumb? I wish I could be kinder but the crap you all post demands a response.

    Once they refused and became defiant and were being detained they lost their chance because they did not simply move on. To invoke Rosa Parks and MLK is shameful. Parks refused to sit on the back of the bus.She waited for the police to come and did not resist when she was arrested_ you really are clueless scooter
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 19 '09 - 11:59PM    #
  71. Ziggy,

    Read up on social movements and then get back to us. This country was formed on civil disobedience. I, for one am glad how “disobedient” Martin and Rosa were, and I’ll invoke their names anytime I damn well please.

       —scooter62    Apr. 20 '09 - 01:58AM    #
  72. Re Post#66: Thank you for your observations.

    I am sure that if the circumstances were that Deputy Eric Kelly were the one face down on the ground and Bruce Lee landed a few kicks with a steel-toed shoe to his skull while a police videocamera was running, a criminal warrant would have been issued for felonious assault the morning after the incident and Lee would have ultimately gotten some sentence of incarceration by a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge.

    Deputy Kelly should consider himself fortunate he was a deputy sheriff and drew Sean Cox as his judge on the federal civil rights criminal indictment. He served no jail time when federal sentencing guidelines called for him to receive 18-24 months in prison.

    Look with what Prosecutor Mackie has done in the past with civil rights activists. He arraigned 21 defendants who were protesting the Klan in Ann Arbor in 1998; 20 of the 21 ultimately won jury acquittals or had charges dismissed by a judge. In 2007 he had Dr. Catherine Wilkerson charged with “attempted obstruction” at an arrest scene and she was acquitted after a 3-day jury trial.

    It is possible Deputies Eberle and Hoy will get off scot-free if they can beat the administrative departmental charges they now face.

    In fact, they may be laughing all the way to the bank if civil rights attorney Jim Fett has his way.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 20 '09 - 06:55AM    #
  73. Do you honestly consider this comparable to the civil right movement scooter? you are one sad pathetic person if you do.

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 20 '09 - 07:25AM    #
  74. Three words for you Ziggy – Edmund Pettis Bridge.

       —John Q.    Apr. 20 '09 - 08:13AM    #
  75. This thread has devolved into name-calling, and is closed.

    [update 4/20/09] Missing from this thread is a long personal attack by ziggy selbin. As the capstone of a long and unproductive back-and-forth, it was the signal that this thread had spiraled into mlive forum territory. We appreciate his response and the respectful additions the conversation. We've re-opened this thread.

       —Matt for Arbor Update    Apr. 20 '09 - 09:37AM    #
  76. Thank you Matt for reopening this thread as it is very important for some of us out here.Ziggy I have a hard time thinking like you. If you have no criteria for good officers how do you know when some are bad. The excuse that police can kill someone else because they live in a bad neighborhood just floors me. The police had the guns and mace and the citizens didnt and from what I can tell there were more police than citizens also so why did someone die? If the neighborhood has a bad reputation with the police than it can be said also that the citizens of that neighborhood felt the same way about the police so they were just taking care of their own when they asked what was going on and no one needed to die.

       —Darryl    Apr. 21 '09 - 06:16AM    #
  77. Darryl I am not excusing the deputies. I am saying that there were mitigating factors.

    First_ the neighborhood does have a bad reputation. So to a cop the idea that everyone is a potential bad guy is likely even more in an area known for high crime. You and I may not think like that but cops have to_ everyone is a bad guy until determined not to be. The fact( I believe) that the car had an expired plate_ heightens the potential for problems. Other ocupants of the vehicle had warrants ;more potential for problems. Second_ when Clifton Lee decides to “ take care of his own” in the manner he did how could any and I mean any good come of it? We live( thankfully) in a society where one will get into trouble trying what Lee tries. The deputies gave him the chance to move on. Once he continued his defiance he blew it. The cops can’t just let someone go. I don’t believe you would want to live in a society where the cops would let someone go in that situation. And if you said you did I would have to believe that you had little exposure to that kind of environment. Clifton Lee should have left when told to. We agree no one should have died. And although the local prosecutor did not bring charges, charges were filed and deputies were charged. The outcome may not have been to the liking of many( neither was the oj case) but hey were tried. The problem I have with this thread is that to the uninformed it might appear as if the wcsd committed aggravated murder.Clearly there were several other things involved.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 21 '09 - 03:05PM    #
  78. Ziggy now I get it. We just have a different ideas on how many mitigating factors it takes to = death.I understand that there are situations that are tense to you and me and thats why I am not an officer.I couldn’t handle it. Thats also why I am not a doctor or a mountain climber for that matter. There are people out there that aspire for these jobs and they are darn good at doing these jobs. There are good officers out there I just happen to see a few bad ones on tape. Officers are trained to handle situations that I cant but if they cant handle it they should get another job. Yeah thats it they should get another job. People shouldnt have to move from a neighborhood that the police dont like. If the police dont like the neighborhood then its time for them to get a new job. Its human nature to become hardened to situations they get into and I am sure frustration is a factor also but if I worked on an jet engine and later that plane crashed and it was my fault I dont think I could just say that the conditions were bad when I was working on the plane so I must not have done as good a job as I was supposed to but you understand dont you? If we dont stop this type of activity what will happen the next time ? Human nature takes over and the next time it will be worse. I hope you understand that “mitigating factors” is an opinion and thats why there are laws so we shouldnt have to have this discussion.We both agree no one should have died and thats all that should need to be said. The officers broke that law.

       —Darryl    Apr. 21 '09 - 06:05PM    #
  79. If you complain to the police, you will be criminally charged, and you may be killed. The cases of Dr. Wilkerson and Mr. Lee seem to show that. If the police kill unarmed citizens, they will not be criminally charged by any local authority.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 21 '09 - 07:49PM    #
  80. The deputies gave him the chance to move on. Once he continued his defiance he blew it. The cops can’t just let someone go.

    ziggy, do you see the contradiction here in that you say the officers told Clifton Lee to move on, but then you say they just can’t let him go? If Clifton broke the law with his “defiance” then a summons should have been delivered to his address. “Hawking” him down and killing him when he was just trying to get home was inexcusable.

    And your belief that in West Willow, the WCS should consider that “everyone is a bad guy until determined not to be” is a recipe for throwing out all civil rights and making the area a war zone.

    This war zone mentality is reflected in the way the officers handled the initial traffic stop. From this article,

    The video recordings start with images of Deputy Aaron Hendricks approaching a car near the intersection of Cayuga and Eugene streets in the West Willow neighborhood on June 1, 2006.

    With one hand on his weapon, Hendricks asks James Lee to get out of the car and immediately places him in handcuffs. As a car with Lee’s uncle, Bruce Lee, cruises by, Hendricks tells James Lee he’s under arrest for driving without a license.

    ziggy, here is your “assume everyone is a bad guy” mentality at work as officer Hendricks had his hand on his gun and handcuffed the car’s occupant before the officer even had a chance to find out his identity.

    Bruce Lee gets his older brother, Clifton, from their mother’s nearby house, and they and another man approach the traffic stop. Bruce Lee appears to say something to Hendricks and calmly sits on the hood of the police car.

    Now ziggy, how in your mind was it not justified for Bruce to get his brother, Clifton, and go see what was going on at the traffic stop? Bruce had just witnessed an officer with his hand on his gun, put handcuffs on a member of his family. What would you have done? Would you have said, “Hey James, call me when you get out of this mess, I’m running home where I’ll be safe.”?

    Within a minute, Hendricks calls for backup as he uses his flashlight to scan people walking on the other side of the street. His partner, former deputy Chris Campbell, exits the patrol car and is seen escorting Bruce Lee across the front of the car and out of the camera’s view.

    Later in this same article it states that Hendricks “testified he believed a crowd was gathering across the street and feared they would try to free the suspects.” I can’t understand what would make Hendricks think that a crowd would try to rush him and free the suspects. Again, it would be nice to see the video to see and hear if this “crowd” was menacing enough to justify the paranoia of officer Hendricks.

    It would seem that Campbell must have taken Bruce out of the camera’s view for a reason.

    About a minute later, off-screen shouting and scuffling erupts as a struggle between Bruce Lee and Campbell begins.

    We also need to see this first video to see if we can tell who instigated this altercation between officer Campbell and Bruce Lee, which started immediately after Campbell took Bruce out of the view of the camera.

    Roughly 10 seconds elapse before Hendricks begins repeatedly shouting at Clifton Lee to back up and remove his hands from his pockets.

    After a heated verbal exchange, Lee begins to walk away, threatening to get more people involved and promising the officers they would see him again.

    ziggy, it is understandable that Clifton would be upset as he was witnessing his brother in a “scuffle” with officer Campbell. But where does Clifton break the law, here? It seems like Clifton obeyed the officer’s command to back up when he “begins to walk away”.

    About 10 seconds later, Hendricks verbally checks on Campbell and pursues Clifton Lee around the corner as backup patrol cars can be seen in the distance speeding toward them.

    ziggy, why did officer Hendricks feel the need to pursue Clifton? Why exactly do you feel “the cops can’t just let someone go”? Again, if they felt Clifton committed a crime, why didn’t they just deliver a summons to his address after everyone’s tempers had cooled?

    There must be a reason why this first video was not released to the public, and I doubt that it is because it exonerates the WCS.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 21 '09 - 08:07PM    #
  81. Re Post#66:
    “Any courthouse is a cesspool of influence pedaling(sic) and good-old boy networking corruption.”

    I believe you may have overstated both the scope and the level of the problem.

    Yes, its true the County Clerk’s office in Washtenaw County has had several registrations for political action committees with names such as the “Committee to Unseat Judge Connors”, the “Independent Committee to Dump Timothy Connors” and the active “People Against Corruption”, including its heralded website, but I would state that, for the most part, the court system in Washtenaw County as well as the State of Michigan in general has done an excellent job in administering justice. I would agree there have been well-documented problems in the circuit court and probate court systems in Washtenaw County in recent years as evidenced by the State Auditor General’s report of the Estates Division of the probate court several years ago, however most court employees and judges in those systems have been decent public servants.

    The problem has been when politics supersede the rule of law. Prosecutorial discretion and judicial decisions become guided by political influences. Was it a mere coincidence that Deputy Kelly got a lenient sentence from Judge Cox just before his brother, Attorney General Michael Cox, announced the formation a blue-ribbon exploratory committee investigating the efficacy of a run for Michigan governor in 2010? Michael Cox has the closest relationship to the law enforcement community of any viable Republican candidate. Endorsemnets and vter support from that community could be crucial to any run for the Republican nomination.

    Look at all the cash that judicial candidates have received from special interest groups in recent years. It runs well into the millions. Is there at least an appearance of impropriety when judges receive large amounts of cash from special interests and then preside over cases involving constituents of those interests? Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Reform Network, has studied this very phenomenon and has been highly critical of this system.

    There is no doubt that Deputies Hoy, Eberle, and Kelly benefitted by thir status as law enforcement officers when it came time to pay the piper for their conduct.

    A good book on a similar set of facts was the Algiers Motel Incident, which detailed the criminal prosecutions of three Detroit police patrolmen charged with killing minority youths during the 1967 riots in Detroit. The book details how the political establishment, incluing the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, was sympathetic to the charged officers and how the system that was obligated to ensure that justice was done was skewed by that same system to assist in the charged officers’ ultimate exoneration.

    There needs to be an in-depth investigative report on this incident by journalists to answer disturbing questions about the Lee incident and its legal aftermath to understand how it can be avoided in the future.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 22 '09 - 04:46AM    #
  82. Re Post #80: To the extent Deputy Hendricks placed James Lee in handcuffs prior to establishing probable cause of a crime being committed by Mr. Lee this would likely violate the Fourth Amendmemt guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that an “investigatory arrest” is an illegal arrest; it is an admission that the requisite probable cause does not exist to validly arrest a suspect. Once the deputy has probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and the suspect the perpetrator of that criminal act he may initiate an arrest.

    In criminal Fourth Amendment suppression hearings, evidence is presented and the judge must decide if a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. The facts are analyzed in detail and a judicial finding of unreasonable police conduct may result in exclusion of illegally obtained evidence from the prosecution’s case.

    In a civil action context, such police conduct could give rise to a damage action for malicious prosecution or violation of federal civil rights laws.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 22 '09 - 06:04AM    #
  83. Mark,

    Whether you want to call it, when “politics supersede the rule of law” or a “cesspool of influence peddling and good-old boy networking corruption”; I believe the fix is fewer cops, smaller and fewer jails, fewer prosecutors, fewer judges, smaller courthouses and last but not least smaller and fewer prisons. I must admit, I’m a little confused by your post. Isn’t a cesspool of influence peddling and good-old boy networking corruption what you have when politics supersedes the law? (Oh yes, thanks for pointing out my spelling error!)
       —ChuckL    Apr. 22 '09 - 07:43AM    #
  84. Mr.Koroi, the Algiers motel incident is only similar in that there was a police/citizen interaction. In the Algiers case the Detroit police tortured three seventeen yr old black kids. Then they shot them. That is not what happened in the West Willow case.

    The fact that no one was brought to any kind of justice in the Algiers case is still disturbing.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 22 '09 - 02:41PM    #
  85. The fix is fewer cops courts prosecutors etc etc?…………. try telling that to the people in detroit that wait hours for police response. try going to a rape support group and running that idea by them.

    Or better yet move to a high crime area and see how you feel about that dumb idea in a few months
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 22 '09 - 02:47PM    #
  86. Re Post #83: I wanted to emphasize that there are isolated “pockets” of corruption and improper judicial conduct that have cropped up in recent years in the Michigan judicial system.

    There was the Ogemaw County arrest of a Roseville District Court Judge on an operating under the influence charge that resulted in her being plea-convicted of operating while impaired and also Secretary of State license suspension proceeding for violating the Implied Consent Law. She was later suspended for 90 days from the bench pursuant to a consent order by the Michigan Supreme Court pursuant to an investigation of the Judicial Tenure Commission.

    Retired Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mary Waterstone was recently charged by the Michigan Attorney General with knowingly allowing perjured testimony by police officers in a drug case. The convicted defendants to this day remain in prison despite ongoing efforts by their counsel to release them.

    While this does suggest that judicial misconduct corruption does exist, it cannot be said that it permeates every courthouse or should destroy citizens confidence in the justice system as a whole. It shows that improvements and corrective action are needed.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 22 '09 - 06:01PM    #
  87. ziggy, West Willow, being a purported “high crime area”, certainly had too many cops on the night of June 1, 2006. Clifton Lee may have been able to survive three, maybe even four officers piled on top of him. But not six. The scene in the Bruce Lee video also certainly seems to show too many officers with not enough to do. By the time commanding officers Mahalick and Hoy arrived at the scene in West Willow, the “troublemakers” had already been taken care of—Clifton was unconscious/deceased and Bruce was handcuffed in the back of a squad car. So here was a gang of angry men with badges who were all geeked up and with nothing to do. Solution—give the guys a chance to let off some steam—order them to pull Bruce back out of the car and beat him and throw him back in.

    ziggy, you seem to have avoided my specific questions to you in my previous post. But I will go on.

    The testimony of Deputy Aaron Hendricks at the trial of Joseph Eberle reveals a very fearful officer who was just on the edge of firing his gun. From this article,

    Hendricks said he drew his service gun when Lee pulled something from his pants pocket and said it was a cell phone, though Hendricks couldn’t really see it. It was dark and Hendricks said he believed the crowd of onlookers was growing and lurking behind bushes and nearby houses.

    ziggy, officer Hendricks is certainly following your thinking that in West Willow “everyone is a bad guy” when he drew his gun when Clifton merely pulls his cell phone out of his pocket. And Hendricks talking of a growing crowd “lurking behind bushes”—did he miss his medication that day? This sounds way too fearful and paranoid for an officer who is wearing a gun.

    “It was quite unnerving,” Hendricks described Wednesday. “I thought I was going to have to shoot him at some point. If he’d been within another half step and touched me, I would’ve had no choice.”

    Hendricks was within a half step of shooting a man who had just drew his cell phone. The way Hendricks makes it sound, Clifton is practically breathing down his neck. But later in the article,

    As his partner — former Deputy Chris Campbell — tussled with Bruce Lee on the ground near their patrol car, Hendricks said he saw Clifton Lee charging from across the street, and he loudly ordered him to back up.


    “I’m already backed up dawg,” Lee responds, before urging deputies to let his brother go.

    So Clifton was still “across the street” when Hendricks “loudly” ordered him to back up, and to which Clifton replies that he is “already backed up”. This is hardly consistent with Hendricks’ earlier testimony that Clifton was “within a half step” of touching Hendricks. Indeed, if Clifton was “across the street” when Hendricks yelled at him to back up, then it would seem that the purpose of this command was to keep Clifton away from witnessing the Campbell/Bruce altercation, and the purpose was NOT for Hendricks’ own personal safety.

    This also explains why Hendricks “couldn’t really see” the cell phone that Clifton announced he was pulling out of his pocket—he couldn’t see it because Clifton was too far away! Yet Hendricks testified that he was within a half step of shooting him. IMO, this testimony by Hendricks shows that he has a tendency to be “trigger-happy”, and is grounds for taking his gun away.

    Hendricks again commands Lee to leave “while he still can” and threatens to shoot the father of five if he did not show his hands.

    But Lee backs away and begins to walk down the street while indicating he’d call for “his backup” to arrive at the scene. Hendricks replies that he could arrange for a bus, which he explained to mean something large enough to take the entire crowd to jail.

    Again, ziggy, this shows that Clifton obeyed Hendricks’ command to leave “while he still can” when he “backs away and begins to walk down the street”. So again, ziggy, I ask you to explain your view that “Clifton Lee should have left when told to.” Your view can only be attributed to your being uninformed of the facts.

    Hendricks certainly shared your assumption that in West Willow “everyone is a bad guy” when he told Clifton he could arrange for a bus to take the crowd to jail. There is nothing to suggest that this crowd had done anything wrong except for their choice to live in such a “bad neighborhood”.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 22 '09 - 11:07PM    #
  88. > STOP the ASSAULT on DIANE BUKOWSKI & 1st Amendment
    > On Apr. 17, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway
    > partially granted a prosecutor’s motion to preclude testimony in
    > Michigan Citizen reporter Diane Bukowski’s criminal trial that she
    > was acting in her capacity as a reporter Nov. 4 after a high speed
    > chase by State Troopers that ended with the deaths of two men. She
    > faces two false felony chages of “assaulting, battering, wounding,
    > resisting, obstructing or endangering” police while covering the
    > chase.The refusal to recognize her role is outrageous.
    > James Willingham had 10 children. Jeffery Frazier’s neighbors loved
    > him. Neither Trooper John Hetfield’s and James Wojton’s superiors,
    > nor Prosecutor Kym Worthy have charged them, although they violated
    > many MSP vehicle pursuit rules, including having no siren on and
    > conducting the chase in a densely populated area.
    > .
    > A mass response is needed. The Michigan Citizen is virtually the
    > only Detroit newspaper telling the truth about what happens to the
    > Black and poor citizens of Detroit, including police brutality,
    > illegal evictions, the theft of City of Detroit departments,
    > massive school closings, and the huge prison population in the
    > state drawn primarily from poor communities like Detroit. .
    > City Council Pres. Pro-tem Joann Watson to hear case
    > Thurs. Apr. 23 9 a.m. in Council Chambers; pack the audience
    > Press Conference/Rally Frank Murphy Hall of Justice Fri. Apr. 24 12
    > noon
    > Ask Prosecutor Kym Worthy at (313) 224-5777 to end this unjust
    > prosecution
    > TRIAL MON. APR. 27 9 a.m. Judge Michael Hathaway Rm. 501 FMHJ
    > (partial listing) The Michigan Citizen, Pbl. Catherine Kelly, Edtr.
    > Teresa Kelly; U.S Rep. John Conyers; Detroit City Cncl. Pres.
    > Monica Conyers, Pres. Pro-Tem JoAnn Watson; frmr. Councilwoman
    > Sharon McPhail; Det. Sch. Brd. Mbr. Marie Thorton; Alabama NAACP
    > Pres.Ed Vaughn; Judge Claudia House Morcom; State Rep. Lamar
    > Lemmons, Jr.; Lamar Lemmons III; State Sen. Hansen Clarke; Leamon
    > Wilson, Pres.AFSCME 312, Co.25 Reg. I VP; John Riehl, Pres.AFSCME
    > 207; Shawndrica Simmons, Pres. AFSCME 3309, David Sole, Pres. UAW
    > 2334; Phil Schloop, Bus. Mgr. OEIU 547; Mich. ACLU; Jonina Abron,
    > frmr. edtr. Black Panther Newspr; John Woodford, frmr. editor/
    > chief, Muhammad Speaks Newspr.; Labor Notes; Charles Simmons, Prof.
    > Journalism & Law, EMU; Bukowski Tax Serv./family; Mark & Cecilia
    > Bukowski; Jean MacNall; Attys. Matt Abel, David A. Robinson, John
    > Royal, George Washington, Tom Lavigne, Gary Benjamin, Marilyn
    > Mullane, Tom Stephens, Hugh (Buck) Davis; Gloria (Aneb) House;
    > Derek Grigsby, Chr. Det.Green Party, Peter Solenberger, Margaret
    > Gutshall, Fred Vitale; Teppert St. Blk.Clb.; Richard Clay: MAAS,
    >; Aziz Adisa Masai, M.Ed; Roderick Casey,
    > Pres. People of Diversity United for Equality; Call ‘em Out, Agnes
    > Hitchcock, James Cole, William W. Smith, E. Ray Hendricks; The
    > Highland Park Movement; Citizens Against Corrupted Politicians;
    > Sandra Hines/ Cltn. to Restore Hope to DPS; BAMN; teachers Steve
    > Conn, Heather Miller; Mich.Welfare Rights Org; Moratorium NOW!
    > Cltn; MECAWI; City Cncl.cand. Karinda Washington; Johnny
    > Washington, On the Corner; Pstr. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, St. Peters
    > Episc.; Greg, Jan & Khary Frazier; Jim Sheehan, Wayne Bernard,
    > Orig. Det.Cltn.v.Police Brutality, Arnetta Grable, Herman Vallery,
    > Cornell Squires; Ron & Darleen Hereford, Starletta Banks, Judy
    > Roberts family, Eula Powell, Lily Wright, Brenda Kirby, Clarice
    > Werdlow, Cheryl Williams, Valerie McKinstry, Catherine Jones, Nancy
    > Lightbody, General Laney, Dorothy Robinson, Terrance Collier;
    > Maureen Sheahan, Kris Kaul, Cheryl Labash, Bryan Pfeifer, Elisa
    > Gurule, Russ Bellant, Al Benchich, Ron Lare, Tom Olechowski, Gwen
    > Mingo, Gene Cunningham, Tim Hall, Kitty Kahn, Mike Shane, Debbie
    > Johnson, Irene Lee, K. Richard Blount, Jessica Labumbard, George
    > Corsetti, Marge Parsons, Current for Change
    > Info and endorsements: 313-205-6718;;
    > Legal defense funds to Committee to Support Diane Bukowski &
    > Freedom of the Press @ 1055 Trumbull, Det. 48216.

       —ChuckL    Apr. 23 '09 - 01:34AM    #
  89. Re Post #87: There is reference in the cited article that Deputy Aaron Hendricks was suspended from duty after the Lee incident.

    Was this an interim or final suspension?

    Was he ever subject to any administrative disciplinary action. If so, what was the offending conduct alleged?

    Deputy Aaron Hendricks conceded during the federal proceedings that he made inappropriate comments while interacting with Clifton Lee, Jr.

    I also note that Julie Hurwitz, the attorney representing Bruce Lee in the federal court civil rights lawsuit has requested monetary damages due to “possible brain damage” as a result of the incident.

    It seems to me that if Bruce had indeed sustained some level of brain damage as a result of kicks to the head with a steel-toed shoe, or even if such kicks had the potential of causing such injuries, it would seem to me either Prosecutor Brian Mackie or Attorney General Michael Cox would have a reasonable factual basis to file a criminal charge of assault with intent to do great
    bodily harm less than murder under the Michigan Penal Code, which is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. I would guess that the videotape evidence along with Bruce Lee’s testimony alone would likely give a state district court judge a suuficient factual basis for a bindover on the charge to the state circuit court.

    As I previously explained at Post #62 above there is no constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy that would preclude such state court charges from being filed.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 23 '09 - 02:13AM    #
  90. Yes, the same article includes a couple of the comments made to Clifton Lee, Jr. by Deputy Aaron Hendricks, after the officers got up off of his lifeless body,

    “Good thinking,” Hendricks yelled while standing over Lee’s motionless body, which Eberle turned over. “You wanted to be with them (his relatives) so bad and now you get to. Welcome to your neighborhood.”

    This comment seems to indicate that the only “defiance” by Clifton was that he insisted on witnessing what was going on with his brother, which apparently the WCS does not allow in that “neighborhood”.

    At the end of the article,

    Using headphones attached to the speakers facing the jury box, Hendricks stood across from the video projector screen and said he also heard someone, perhaps even himself, ask “Are you still a tough guy now?”

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Cares said then referred to portions of Hendricks’ testimony before the grand jury in January, where he attributed that comment to Eberle.

    Court records attribute the comment to Eberle as he kicked Lee’s head with his boot heel as he walked away from the body.

    So in court, Deputy Aaron Hendricks admits that he may have asked the unconscious/deceased Clifton if he was “still a tough guy now”.

    This comment shows that the real motivation behind the officer’s attack on Clifton was machismo and a desire by Hendricks to show Clifton who was boss. Hendricks admitted to the court that he was “angry at Lee and emotional at the time”. IMO, an officer who is not able to control his emotions any better than this is not fit for duty. I pity the next guy who angers Deputy Hendricks.

    It’s interesting that Deputy Hendricks at first attributed the “tough guy” comment to Deputy Eberle, when Hendricks was before the grand jury and wasn’t sure if he would be criminally charged or not. But later, once he learned that he was not being charged, he admitted he may have said it.

    It should also be noted how Hendricks seems to have gained a lot of “courage” at the same instant he saw his backup arriving at the scene. From this article, immediately after Clifton obeyed the command to leave the scene,

    About 10 seconds later, Hendricks verbally checks on Campbell and pursues Clifton Lee around the corner as backup patrol cars can be seen in the distance speeding toward them.

    Now if Hendricks honestly wasn’t sure if Clifton was carrying a weapon or not, he certainly wouldn’t have single-handedly went after Clifton before his backup joined him. But apparently seeing that his backup would be there in just a few seconds suddenly gave Hendricks the “courage” to take on Clifton by himself, to show Clifton he wasn’t such a “tough guy”. The timeline has Eberle’s car arriving 34 seconds after Hendricks begins to chase down Clifton. The video shows Clifton being taken down by Hendricks only a few seconds after Eberle’s car arrives.

    According to Clifton’s brother James, Clifton was killed on Seneca Street, which is “around the corner and down the street” from where the traffic stop occurred, on Cayuga Avenue. The short amount of time and the ground traveled indicates that after he saw his backup arriving, Hendricks must have literally ran after Clifton and attacked him from behind and took him down. In the video, he described it as, “We halked him…”, which would seem to be an accurate description. It is obvious that Clifton was not given ample time to comply with the arrest before he was attacked and taken down.

    A picture of exactly what occurred between Deputy Aaron Hendricks and Clifton Lee, Jr. will be a lot clearer when the first video is released to the public.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 25 '09 - 12:22AM    #
  91. One thing I just cannot get over is that the Mlive posters are vehemently and overwhelmingly pro-deputy in their evaluation of the Lee incident whereas the posters on this thread tend to support the Lee family.

    Can anyone explain this discrepancy?

       —Junior    Apr. 25 '09 - 09:30PM    #
  92. It may depend on how victims feel about Arbor Update as being a forum which will take their rights seriously. If the local prosecutors cannot defend them from their own deputies, who will?

       —The Colonel    Apr. 25 '09 - 09:43PM    #
  93. The difference may be because Arbor Update is known to check the IP addresses and alert its readers when there are multiple usernames coming from the same address. This may discourage anyone who is prone to using more than one identity. It could be really embarrassing if many of the pro-Law Enforcement comments sporting identical or almost identical viewpoints, were to be traced to the same location.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 25 '09 - 10:12PM    #
  94. As the lone person here not drinking the kool aid I don’t support either.

    I want the reality of the situation to be presented so that people may make up their own minds.That certainly was/is not happening here. I appreciate that some of you have familiarized yourselves( as much as possible) with this incident. However the fact remains had Clifton Lee not interjected himself into the situation the outcome would have likely been much different. One can inquire respectfully w/o someone dieing. The deputies obviously are not w/o blame. But to present it the way it is here is frankly dishonest.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 27 '09 - 06:32PM    #
  95. The message seems to be: Don’t ask deputies what they are doing, and you may be allowed to stay alive. If you have to ask them anything, use extreme respect, and you still might be allowed to stay alive. Or not.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 27 '09 - 07:44PM    #
  96. Thank for making my point colonel. Do you have anything worthwhile to say or is it all just inflammatory B.S.?

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 27 '09 - 09:20PM    #
  97. From your tone of voice, it seems that you are accustomed to giving commands, and to being obeyed— quickly.

    I get your message. I will certainly not poke my nose into this affair again, remembering what happened to the last person who did.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 27 '09 - 09:48PM    #
  98. Now you have no way of knowing of course but I assure you I might bark out all kinds of commands but not a living soul , including my dog would pay even the teeniest of attention.

    Please say or write whatever you want to.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 27 '09 - 10:42PM    #
  99. ziggy selbin,

    You are a classic case of seeing only a few of the trees in the forest; could it be the result of burying your head in the dirt restricting your view? Maybe your neck is so sore from having your head stuck in the muck so long, you just don’t have the energy to view your world from another vantage point! Your point is true, yes Clifton would be alive today if he had acted like sargent Schultz on Hogan’s Heros, “I know nothing, nothing!” But then, the people who are paying attention to what is going on in their community would not realize that their police officers are acting like mob hit men. It they can kill Clifton Lee and not be charged, what else are they doing and not being held accountable for? You not only seem to have no interest in this question, you seem to be condemning anyone who does. Are you angry that we will not join you in burying our heads in the muck along with yours?
       —ChuckL    Apr. 28 '09 - 02:38AM    #
  100. However the fact remains had Clifton Lee not interjected himself into the situation the outcome would have likely been much different.

    ziggy, you have never provided any explanation for what you think was improper about how Clifton Lee “interjected himself into the situation”. Do you dispute the facts alleged in the civil complaint that was filed regarding the death of Clifton Lee, Jr.? (From this article )

    The complaint said Lee approached the scene with two other individuals, who were then instructed to leave by Campbell.

    It said Campbell then became involved in a struggle with one of the three people, Bruce Lee. At that point, the complaint alleges that Hendricks pulled his weapon and instructed the other two to leave.

    “While the defendant, Campbell, continued to assault and batter Bruce Lee, the deceased Clifton Lee Jr. requested that the defendants stop the assault on Bruce Lee,” the complaint said. “Clifton Lee Jr. then continued to walk from the scene… towards his residence.”

    ziggy, if you don’t dispute these facts — which the Board of Commissioners must not have disputed when they forked over $4 million to avoid taking this case to trial — then exactly where do you feel Clifton Lee acted improperly?

    One can inquire respectfully w/o someone dieing.

    So is that your position—when Clifton Lee requested that the deputies quit beating on his brother, do you feel he wasn’t being “respectful” enough? Or are you saying that he never should have “interjected himself” by even asking the question?

    ziggy, your repeated claims of being the lone dissenter are getting a bit tedious if you never give a clue as to the reasons for your position. I have now asked you several times what you mean by some of your vague statements, but you have ignored me. If you continue your refusal to clarify your position, then it would appear that there is only one of us here who is drinking the (blue) kool aid.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 28 '09 - 03:06AM    #
  101. It looks like attorney Paul Broschay of the Geoffrey Fieger firm, the lawyer for the Clifton Lee, Jr. estate, is having his hands full with yet another black person being killed by police officers after a routine traffic stop.

    It was reported a 16-year old black teenager with a learning disability and asthma problems was a passenger in a car on Eight Mile Road, the border between Detroit and the City of Warren when the car was pulled over for an expired plate. The passenger, Robert Mitchell, took off for no apparent reason and went into a abandoned house in Detroit and three City of Warren police officers gave chase and entered the house where a scuffle ensued between the unarmed 5’2”, 110lb. Mitchell and three armed Warren Police Department officers. One of the officers tasered Mitchell and he subsequently died.

    The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating and Warren Mayor Jim Fouts issued a statement indicating a review of the use of tasers by its police officers may be in order.

    Interestingly, Paul Broschay is a former City of Detroit police officer. Many other law enforcement officers have been disgusted at situations like the Lee and Mitchell incidents as gross departures from the standards of professionalism expected from sworn peace officers. David Robinson and Amos Williams are two additional examples of former Detroit police officers who have prosecuted civil police brutality damages cases. Amos Williams is a retired lieutenant who was nominated to run by the Michigan Democratic Party for Attorney General against Michael Cox in 2002.

    Paul Broschay is obviously ruffling feathers in the law enforcement communtity with his multimillion dollar settlements against police departments. If one recalls it was his daughter, a college student, who was confronted alone by FBI agents at the MSU campus for hostile interrogation regarding Geoffrey Fieger’s alleged campaign finance violations.

    Unless vigorous criminal prosecutions are undertaken against law enforcement officers who recklessly endanger the lives of citizens we can expect the cases like Lee and Mitchell to continue to be reported in the media and attorneys like Paul Broschay to keep busy.

    The Agron Seiko case in Dearborn is a stark example of what happens when police are prosecuted. The city was plagued by a department where officers had been involved with a number of fatal police chases during the 1990s; each time the police chief backed up his men 100%. With a new chief in place, Agron Seiko, a 20-year old parking enforcement officer took part in a high-speed chase and struck and killed an innocent motorist. Seiko was charged with manslaughter,later pled to negligent homicide, and there has not been another subsequently reported Dearborn Police Departmnet chase fatality. Criminal prosecutions of officers act as a deterrent to misconduct.

    And the Fieger firm will continue to rake in millions in attorney fees.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 28 '09 - 04:01AM    #
  102. I am not posting to convince anyone or to change anyone’s mind. I am posting on the off chance that someone other then the usual sycophants might read this board. And if they do read the board that they might get a truer picture of what happened then what is being offered here.

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 28 '09 - 06:25AM    #
  103. Regarding the second lawsuit, from this article,

    The 23-page lawsuit alleges that 45-year-old Clifton Lee witnessed deputies beating his younger brother and shouted that he was a witness to a police assault and false arrest.

    So this may have been Clifton Lee’s fateful decision—he shouted that he was a witness. Eliminating Clifton as a witness certainly weakened the prosecution’s case. Also from the article,

    Julie Hurwitz, Bruce Lee’s Detroit-based attorney, said the allegations in the lawsuit are based on Lee’s limited recollection, witness accounts and only a few police reports that have been made available. Because of the ongoing criminal case, she said, she has not been allowed to watch the videos from patrol cruisers that reportedly captured the confrontation, but hopes to see them soon under a protective order.


    “What they did to Clifton was entirely different than what they did to Bruce, except for a common thread. We believe Clifton spoke out in Bruce’s defense and that’s what got him killed,” Hurwitz said.

    I have to think that Bruce Lee’s attorney will amend the complaint after she views the videos. The video from the initial traffic stop would seem to be the key as it should show whether Clifton was really being a threat to Deputy Hendricks or if Hendricks drew his gun and attacked Clifton because he had witnessed and voiced his objection to their misconduct.

    Which is why I say again, even louder,


       —Michael Schils    Apr. 28 '09 - 05:47PM    #
  104. The Black Panthers began as a group that followed police around with law books, in Oakland, California. They would advise arrestees of their rights.

    Today, those Panthers would be killed for the crime of making disrespectful comments within earshot of the police. And it is guaranteed that no prosecutor in Washtenaw County would disagree, since, like West Willow, Oakland was a “tough neighborhood.”

       —The Colonel    Apr. 28 '09 - 06:44PM    #
  105. Ziggy,

    “And if they do read the board that they might get a truer picture of what happened then what is being offered here.” You’ve been rather short on specifics Ziggy. All we’ve learned from you is that Clifton would be alive today if he had never attempted to come to the aid of his brother. So, let’s get this straight, cops get to be murdering thugs not a whole lot different from mafia hit-men but it’s o.k. because the cops are here to protect us? If you question a murdering thug cop in the process of being a murdering thug cop, you should expect to be murdered and it’s your fault for not moving on? Oh and yes, the majority of us on this board are sycophants since we believe that cops shouldn’t be murdering thugs?

       —ChuckL    Apr. 29 '09 - 01:54AM    #
  106. Any refusal to comply with any police order is now a felony. Any disagreement with police can be construed to make you out as a felon. (Or worse). Other than that, feel free to use your First Amendment rights.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 29 '09 - 02:04AM    #
  107. You all continue to make my point thanks

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 29 '09 - 04:12AM    #
  108. Bottom line:

    You may think you are simply asking the police what they are doing to your brother, but you are already a felon at that point, and no one in this County will prosecute the police for ending your life then and there.

    Welcome to your neighborhood.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 29 '09 - 04:20AM    #
  109. Give it a try Colonel and report back to us

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 29 '09 - 09:29PM    #
  110. This discussion is at a dead end for one reason: the state legislature has essentially made back-talk, to police, a felony, the county prosecutors act accordingly, so do the police, and there is simply no opposition that can mobilize marches and media coverage.

    Without exaggeration, the most passive, verbal resistance to police is actually a felony, sometimes punishable on the spot with fatal results. If the ACLU exists, or alternative political parties exist, they are mere shadows of their former selves. If any civil rights groups still exist, it is on paper only. The police and prosecutors act accordingly.

    Matt kindly allows us to whine a bit, and that is where it ends. The fact that almost none of us is using our real names tells you volumes about the power relationship at work here, and the boundaries of allowable debate on this matter.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 29 '09 - 10:29PM    #
  111. Re Post #88: At the risk of sounding off-topic, the Associated Press has reported that jury selection has commenced in the Diane Bukowski case.

    She was the reporter who took pictures of a crash scene that resulted from a fatal police chase. The case has received national attention on the motives of the prosecution and whether this is an attack on freedom of the press trying to report alleged government misconduct.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 29 '09 - 11:06PM    #
  112. Re Post #110: My mother questioned my decision to use my real name, seeing that my posts have criticized the actions of some of the officers. I told her that if I suffered a similar fate for “running my mouth” as Clifton Lee, Jr., then she can come on here and tell everybody everything she knew about what happened.

    My mother replied that she didn’t think that was very funny, to which I replied that I didn’t intend it to be.

    If I ever see Deputy Joseph Eberle coming at me with his gang, and with a can of mace in his hand, I don’t know what I’ll do. I guess the first thing I should do is make sure I’m in sight of one of those cameras on the squad cars, so if things don’t go so well for myself, at least maybe my loved ones will receive some compensation. But maybe I’m just being dramatic…

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 29 '09 - 11:26PM    #
  113. Foreigners often find the U.S. to be a very militarized, heavily armed, heavily policed society. This is especially true for campuses.

    Many campuses, not just in Europe and Japan, find a police presence on a university campus to be unsettling.

    It does sound over-dramatic to say that we are some kind of “police state”.

    We have so many freedoms of speech… until we try to address that speech in any assertive way, against public officials or against the police themselves. At that point, you can very easily find yourself a felon, simply for opening your mouth.

    Protesters who are arrested, or shot with tasers, cause no ripple of protest.

    In theory, those protesters have legal options, assuming that they have unlimited funds to pursue them, but by that time, they are already deep into the criminal justice system, paying large hospital bills, or worse.

    In the 1960’s, public officials and police often had to endure insults and protests from crowds in downtown areas, sit-ins at their offices, very visible protesters outside Defense Department offices, etc.

    Today, maybe purely by accident, government and university offices are behind all kinds of barriers, guards, and walls. Police are generally inside a car, insulated from the streets. The streets themselves are pretty barren, because the downtown have been moved out to suburbs, strip malls, places with enormous parking lots which are guarded by security patrols.

    Sometimes, you will see a carefully choreographed protest, in downtown Detroit, marching down empty sidewalks, surrounded by police on horseback.

    Maybe it’s an accident, but where, exactly has the community, the city, the downtown, the public gone? And who can afford the one sure way to reach that public (TV ads, still subject to approval by the TV company owners)?

       —The Colonel    Apr. 30 '09 - 12:00AM    #
  114. I am fairly firm on the proof via videotape assault on Bruce Lee which led to the conviction by plea by Deputy Eric Kelly; I am less certain, however, of the criminal guilt of any deputy with respect to the death of Clifton Lee,Jr., as apparently was the federal court jury that acquitted the deputies of civil rights violations in connection with Clifton’s death.

    There is reference to a can of mace and the videos show a number of deputies struggling with Clifton Lee,Jr. Was it the collective weight of the deputies on top of him or the mace that led to asphyxiation, or was it or a combination of both?

    I have also heard the theory that it was a 370-lb African-American deputy that played a key role in “piling on” Lee and the collective weight total of the deputies that had immobilized Lee. The basis of the reverse discrimination claim by attorney Jim Fett is that the suspensions of the whitedeputies were motivated by Minzey’s purported goal of allaying the black community in the county during an election year, and that the real “culprit” was the overweight black deputy.

    Does anybody have any cogent opinion on how, if at all, the federally charged but acquitted deputies were at fault in causing Lee’s asphyxiation? It seems like the jury in U.S. District Court found there was not sufficient proof of those deputy’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 30 '09 - 04:13AM    #
  115. Aside from Mr. Koroi some of you sound like paranoid schizophrenics

       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 30 '09 - 05:28AM    #
  116. That is what the police are for, since all of the state mental hospitals have been closed.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 30 '09 - 06:22AM    #
  117. It says a lot, that the police are being defended by someone who uses the name of a famously violent gangster from Detroit:

    Ziggy Selbin

    Page 166 has his very violent and anti-social biography.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 30 '09 - 06:27AM    #
  118. Ziggy,

    Actually, the correct psychobabble is called “cognitive dissonance” and it’s what people do when they have a strong stake in something that is dis-functional or corrupt and are therefor unable to see or acknowledge the problem. People will actually go through all sorts of contortions to justify everything but the objective truth. With Clifton Lee, you have a dead man who never physically threatened the cops and who was murdered by the same cops for what reason? You also have a botched prosecution or no prosecution of the murdering cops that needs to be explained. But, according to Mr. cognitive dissonance Ziggy, I’m just being paranoid; there’s a reasonable explanation…it’s all Clifton Lee’s fault! Your right Ziggy, we chose not to identify with your tribe since we have no stake in justifying murdering cops like your tribe does. You have been relying on group identification and not reason or facts to make your case and you are quite pathetic from our perspective. So, point out until you are blue in the face that we have no desire to be a member of your self identified group, WE DON’T CARE!
       —ChuckL    Apr. 30 '09 - 07:04AM    #
  119. Um no one is condoning what happened chuck. Inflammatory terms like murder are tossed around here all the time. So the truth is that there is not objectivity here not even a little.

    As for my schizophrenic comment, when Mr. Schils relays conversations with his mother about chance encounters with deputies and the colonel talking about speaking out to the police making one a felon………well that is closer to schizophrenic then cognitive dissonance. I wondered when someone would comment on the name. Ziggy Selbin was certainly a socio-path.
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 30 '09 - 02:40PM    #
  120. In response to Zigy Selbin’s comments on the West Willow neighborhood. I was close to the deceased Clifton Jr AKA “pistol Pete”, Bruce Lee, and had many close encounters with the young nephew “Boopy”(apparently a street name) who was the driver of the vehicle being stopped that night. I know West Willow has a rep for being “dirty and dangerous”. So anyways, Pete was a good man..good heart…I dont think he deserved what happened to him at all but I feel he has a temper and a lot of pride and he and the rest of his family all felt they had some sort of duty to protect the nephew but in legal terms that would be interfering with police business/disorderly conduct and that led to the scuffle. Bruce on the otherhand, he is and may still be a drug(crack-cocaine) dealer. So was lil’ Boopy, the driver of the vehicle(im sure you all know why i would know this). So they all knew what was happening and they knew they were going to get in big trouble, they were probably trying to distract the offivcers long enough to get rid of the stash or what-have-you. West Willow is a tight-knit neighborhood and clifton lived with his grandmother or mother who lived across the street form his sister and his brother bruce lived a few streets down with his wife. so….knowing all that and what they do, where they come from, I feel bruce brought it on himself, but most likely because the nephew has a HUGE mouth( as well as bruce)and instigated the reactions from the police officers. OKAY…opposite side…the officers were way out of line with how they handled things and felt that they did not follow any typical traffic stop protocol, let alone any sort of protocol for citizen’s arrest. 6 men is one too many for the submission of one man. Clifton was around 6’ and not in the best shape by far. 2-3 would have sufficed. So, this incident is tragic, horrible and so many reasons from noth sides lead to the escalation of this incident. I will miss him and i think about him all the time. this may sound strange but the night he was killed, im nearly 100% positive he came to visit me in my sleep and awoke me, the same way my father had done 3 years prior. so knowing him and the family and neighbgorhood and knowing how the police treated the people/situation, im very partial to taking any sides. theres just too much that i know that conflicts with other evidence or testimonies. one thing i know for sure is that he should not have died and these officers have to know that people dont fall asleep after being wrestled to the ground by 6+ men. why the f*** was noone providing CPR, checking the airway, breathing, circulation? one guy said hes okay. then telling him to wkae. i seen them checking for pulses but what the hell did they interpret from it. they didnt check his chest for movement or nose/mouth for breath sounds. the cops were definitely idiots. cops are here to protect and protecting includes life-saving techniques including CPR!!!!

       —AnonymousInYpsi    Apr. 30 '09 - 03:02PM    #
  121. Re Post#120:This prior post is disturbing on several levels.

    Firstly, it purports to be authored by someone with personal knowledge of the incident as well as an intimate relationship with the Lee family but does not disclose the poster’s identity, so it cannot be authenticated.

    To the extent he was at the scene, I am sure that his identity would be known to civil and criminal attorneys investigating the incident.

    I believe as a whole the post tends to make attacks on Bruce Lee and his nephew with alleged information not generally known to the public and attempts to bolster the credibilty of the poster by casting himself as a friend of the Lee family.

    Lastly, I have a difficult time believing any friend of the Lee family would make such statements and I further believe that the previous poster may be someone with a pro-deputy agenda attempting to discredit the Lee family. With the pendency of lawsuits, there would be those with motives to discredit the Lee family.

    I would like the prior poster to disclose his identity or somehow authenticate his comments, otherwise I believe they are inherently untrustworthy.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 30 '09 - 09:28PM    #
  122. If you knew and loved someone, who was murdered while unarmed and helpless, by police, and then no one was prosecuted for that by any county officials, would you write to a public news source in this way?—

    “I feel bruce brought it on himself, but most likely because the nephew has a HUGE mouth( as well as bruce)and instigated the reactions from the police officers.”

       —The Colonel    Apr. 30 '09 - 11:02PM    #
  123. I agree that some things don’t quite sound right about post#120 but perhaps some clarification by the author would help.

    I don’t know that the author actually claims to have been at the scene.

    this may sound strange but the night he was killed, im nearly 100% positive he came to visit me in my sleep and awoke me, the same way my father had done 3 years prior.

    This does indeed sound strange as I have no idea what “the same way my father…”-part is supposed to infer. But since the author is less than absolutely positive that Clifton Lee had awoken him/her, then it seems to me that the lack of certainty must mean that the author must have either went back to sleep or for some other reason did not witness what transpired later with Clifton.

    And the author concedes that Clifton had a “temper” but does not explicitly describe how that affected anything that happened that night.

    Bruce on the otherhand, he is and may still be a drug(crack-cocaine) dealer. So was lil’ Boopy, the driver of the vehicle(im sure you all know why i would know this).

    The author seems to imply to being a “purchaser” from Bruce and “lil’ Boopy” which is surprising as crack-heads are not usually known for writing with such articulateness and, except for the obvious typo, with such good spelling and vocabulary. (My apologies for stereotyping “crack-heads”)

    …knowing all that and what they do, where they come from, I feel bruce brought it on himself, but most likely because the nephew has a HUGE mouth( as well as bruce)and instigated the reactions from the police officers.

    Again, this “going by their reputation”-argument and the lack of certainty would suggest that the author was not claiming to be a witness. And I agree with The Colonel, that this is a rather aloof and judgmental statement against the Lee family to be coming from someone who claims to be a friend and seems to have admitted buying drugs from them.

    I would agree that the author was probably a pro-Law Enforcement imposter attempting to discredit the Lee family, except for the last part that makes an insightful reference to the inexcusable failure of the officers to engage in life-saving techniques. But I do notice the author is ready to assess the officers as merely being “idiots” which from the legal standpoint would be preferable than admitting malicious intent. Officers cannot be prosecuted for being “criminally stupid”.

    A clarification by the author could clear up a lot of this speculation.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 30 '09 - 11:13PM    #
  124. All,

    I would not be surprised to learn that AnonymousInYpsi is some type of agent. The posting time is 7:02am on the post and I am left wondering if drug users are up at that hour. If it is disinformation, it would appear our little discussion is getting noticed.
       —ChuckL    May. 1 '09 - 04:11AM    #
  125. “Impostor” or “agent” may clearly be the correct characterization.

    Firstly, I have never heard of Clifton Lee,Jr. described previously as “Pistol Pete” only as Pete. But “Pistol Pete” would support a reputation of one who is armed and Uviolent and would hence corroborate a deputy’s claimed belief that Lee had appeared to be pulling a gun out of his pocket. Ditto for the “dirty and dangerous” characterization of West Willow. All news accounts I have read relative to Clifton Lee,Jr. tend to support a description of a man who kept to himself and worked on cars, nothing to suggest he was reputed to be armed and violent.

    Secondly, the implication or insinuation that James Lee was some kind of crack dealer has no corroboration in anything I have seen. In the November 15, 2008 edition of the Ypsilanti Courier, James Lee is reported as receiving a two-week leave of absence from his employment at Ford Motor Company to attend the federal criminal trial of the deputies in Detroit. James Lee took part in a peace march in West Willow in late 2006 wearing a T-shirt with Clifton’s picture several months after the incident that was joined by Sheriff Minzey and had a deputy motorcycle escort. I doubt that Minzey would have joined such a march if there was any evidence suggesting that James Lee was a drug dealer.

    There were also exhaustive FBI and State Police investigations of the incident and never any reports that somehow the deputies were approaching anyone that was known to be involved in the drug trade. I would think that if this were the case the deputies’ attorneys and the Sheriff would have been shouting this information from the rooftops to stem the public support for the Lee family and convey an impression that these deputies had reason to react as they did.

    There is no publically available information I have ever read to support the notion that anyone in the Lee family was involved in drug dealing. I am sure Judge Cox would have cited such a factor in his litany at Deputy Kelly’s sentencing if such were the case and would have been argued by defense attorneys during closing arguments to warrant a more aggressive response by the deputies to the Lees.

    It is clear that Post #120 may be some type of impostor-created diatribe to discredit the Lees. In the absence of some type of future explanation by that poster to support his comments, I shall presume it as such.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 1 '09 - 05:08AM    #
  126. First off, I’m a “She”, not “he”. I am not an imposter and I was not at the scene and I never said I was a lose friend of the entire family. Yes, I was introduced to the sisters and grandmother of Bruce and Pete Lee, but very briefly. BUT…I was very aquainted and had a relationship(intimate or friendly..rather not say) with Bruce, Clifton, and “Boopy”. I’m not trying to discredit Bruce’s case but I feel that because I know him so well…there is more to this than we know about.
    RE: Mark Koroi
    I don’t know who James Lee is and it really doesn’t matter whther they are investigating or trying Bruce Lee for any criminal activities because that’s not part of the case. I was merely explaining his character. And regarding your comment about the drug dealing within the faimly…in the video where Bruce spits on whomever or whatever…the officer mentions something about there is dope on the seat of the their car, as I percieve, the car is being impounded in that video clip.
    Re: Michael Schils
    I am an ex-crack cocaine/heroine addict. Clean 2 1/2 years. Thank you for the compliment on my writing. Typos…well…too much texting and myspace can do that to you. The comment about he came to me in my sleep was merely a belief of mine that because we were so close, when he died, as well as with my father’s death, I was visited by him at his departure from earth. Completely off the subject but I felt this was a site that welcomes all comments and it was something I wanted to get off my chest and maybe bring some validity to my personal information about the Lee brothers. Buying drugs from someone doesn’t mean your friends. Usually your enemies, similar to car salesman and the potential buyer, and you are both trying to get the most out of each other. I never bought from Clifton(Pete) because he doesn’t sell drugs but always tried to get me to stop my drug use and recommended us moving to Jackson, MI for a new start.
    RE: ChuckL
    And, yes, crackheads are awake in the morning, many times at all hours. Usually, days at a time. But I would say that most do not own a computer(or once did before the drug addiction) or use their free-time to access the internet and respond to posts.
    RE: TheColonel
    I never said I loved or even cared for Bruce Lee. He did me wrong in more ways than you could ever imagine but I will not state what he did cause that could just start something that I do not want to encounter. I’ll just say multiple criminal acts on his part against me. It’s Clifton Lee that I had deep feelings for.

    So, my post was merely my way of getting things out that I could never talk about but keep inside and to maybe change someone’s, if not more than one person’s, view on the Lee incident and the mitigating/aggravating factors involving the Lee’s and the video’s portrayal of the officers in the incident. In light of this, I am not an imposter or agent or some other legal/law professional. Just someone who is deeply, emotionally involved about this unusual case.

       —AnonymousInYpsi    May. 1 '09 - 09:54AM    #
  127. As usual, life is more complicated than it first appears. Thanks to AnonymousInYpsi for her interesting and heartfelt comments.

    All this only reinforces my view that the sheriff’s department was severely dysfunctional at the time of this incident.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 1 '09 - 03:49PM    #
  128. Thanks for the clarification, AIY, and yes your first post makes more sense now. Although I can’t be completely certain, I am now leaning to the belief that you are legit. An imposter would probably not try it again, under such scrutiny. I wish you the best on your continued success in controlling your substance addiction.

    Regarding the dope mentioned in the video, at about 2:46, an officer is heard telling another officer, “That was in your backseat, that dope right there.” This was not in reference to a car being impounded, but was referring to the backseat of the WCS squad car Bruce Lee had been sitting in. Questions remain about whether Bruce Lee put this dope there, or whether an officer planted it. In this article, Bruce says “he was never charged with a crime and was released from the jail after several days.” Another article regarding the civil suit filed on behalf of Bruce Lee contains the following:

    The suit further alleges that deputies planted drugs on their vehicle after the struggle and overstated details of Lee’s resistance in police reports.

    So quite literally, it would appear that the “jury is still out” on the question of whether the dope was planted by the WCS.

       —Michael Schils    May. 1 '09 - 04:25PM    #
  129. I can almost guarantee you it wasn’t. That is why I beliee that they caused such a big scene because they were holding “dope”. They were trying to divert attention and find a way to stash away the dope they, as in Bruce and “Boopy”, had on them. And I believe they probably never charged him with any drug-related crime because of the allegations on the officers at the scene and that maybe the drugs would be in question of whether it belonged to Bruce, the officers, or anyone else involved that night.

       —AnonymousInYpsi    May. 1 '09 - 04:33PM    #
  130. I believe there is some confusion because “James Lee” is the name of one of the brothers of Clifton and Bruce, and is also the name of the nephew that was stopped. The brother is referenced in the article in the Ypsilanti paper Mark referred to, while the nephew (who is named in this article ) is known only as “Boopy” to AIY.

    The same article explains that after Bruce cruises by and sees his nephew being handcuffed, Bruce (apparently parked the car that he was driving/riding and) gets his brother Clifton, before they return to the scene on foot. This would have allowed Bruce an easy opportunity to stash any dope he was carrying somewhere, before he approached the officers, and it would seem to have been an exceedingly poor decision to not do so.

    So I was wondering, AIY, if your belief that Bruce Lee was carrying drugs at the time of the incident can be supported by anything other than the history you profess to have had with him.

       —Michael Schils    May. 1 '09 - 06:57PM    #
  131. Re Post #127: Larry, what specifically in the “Anonymous in Ypsi” post or posts reinforces your opinion that the Sheriff’s Department was “severely dysfunctional” at the time of the Lee incident?

       —Mark Koroi    May. 1 '09 - 08:36PM    #
  132. Poor Mr.Schils you really might be a paranoid; I hope you find help. Your comment about the jury being out as to whether the deputies planted “dope” at the scene is further evidence. Never mind that anon from ypsi identifies participants as drug dealers you suggest a plant.

    To more relevant and meaningful matters:anon in ypsi two years sober is great. Don’t stop now. You know how to be sober. Remember the despair and hopelessness and anxiety of your addiction. And remember the relief and tranquility of being drug free……….and keep helping others like I know you are doing.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 1 '09 - 08:40PM    #
  133. Police work would be a lot simpler, if only they could rely on anonymously given evidence that:

    * the dead guy caused his own death,

    * the dead guy was carrying dangerous drugs,

    * the dead guy was very combative to police,

    * the dead guy seriously did people wrong,

    * the dead guy was a deceptive weasel who was trying to distract honest police officers from getting to the bottom of his illegal stash of drugs,

    * the dead guy instigated what the police finally had to do to him.

    In that way, the police could simply execute people “who bring it onto themselves”, and, in the unlikely event they are ever prosecuted, simply bring in an anonymous snitch to verify that the dead man was scum that brought his death onto himself.

    There’s no way to ever check out an anonymously created rap sheet like the one above, and the police can thus be freed to continue their good deeds around the neighborhood.

    The beauty part is that dead men can’t sue for libel.

    Simply trust the police force, trust the (purposely absent) county prosecutors, and remember that the next time an unarmed man turns up dead, remember that he was probably a drug dealer who “instigated” the police to kill him.

       —The Colonel    May. 1 '09 - 08:55PM    #
  134. ziggy, are you aware of the courts dispensing with the charge included in the lawsuit, which alleges that the deputies planted the dope? If so, please provide a link.

    ziggy, I would accuse you of posting as AIY to advance your blame-the-victim agenda, but her posts contain way too much evidence of intelligence for me to make that accusation. So shoo! Get out of here until the grown-ups are finished talking. Don’t you have some Jewish moonshine you should be trying to sell right now?

       —Michael Schils    May. 1 '09 - 09:17PM    #
  135. The available information hardly supports the notion that the Lee brothers intentionally caused a distraction to create a chance to get rid of the drugs they were carrying. The earlier cited article states that when Bruce first approached the scene of the traffic stop, he says something to one of the officers and then “calmly” sits against the hood of the squad car. Then “former deputy Chris Campbell, exits the patrol car and is seen escorting Bruce Lee across the front of the car and out of the camera’s view”. About a minute later, the “scuffle” between Bruce and Campbell begins, and eventually ends with Bruce Lee being pepper sprayed and handcuffed and sitting in the back of a patrol car.

    A little character profile of former deputy Chris Campbell is in order.

    Just a few weeks before the West Willow incident, Deputy Chris Campbell hit a fellow officer he was having an affair with, on the head with a beer bottle and also intentionally rammed her vehicle with his own, as he was leaving the party. Then, in an attempt to hide the affair he was having, Campbell filed a false police report, stating that the accident occurred on a different day, and at a different location. This all according to the testimony given in court by his fellow cop/lover. (See this article. )

    And then there’s the email Deputy Chris Campbell sent to his fellow officers, including supervisors, just two hours before the West Willow incident: (see this article )

    The e-mail reads in part:

    “Miranda Rights (revised). You have the right to swing first. However, if you choose to swing first, any move you make can, and will, be used as an excuse to beat the sh** out of you,”

    So AIY, in light of these facts regarding the character of Deputy Campbell, do you still think it is more likely that Bruce Lee caused a distraction on purpose? Or do you think that maybe Deputy Campbell was frustrated with the divorce he was going through, and with the way his life was going, so he wanted to take it out on somebody, who happened to be Bruce Lee?

    AIY, if you weren’t aware of these facts, then I would understand why you would now change your view of what likely happened. But the longer we don’t hear from you, the more I’m going to start leaning to the conclusion that you aren’t really who you say you are.

    And again, I repeat,


       —Michael Schils    May. 2 '09 - 12:04AM    #
  136. Maybe more anonymous witnesses will come forward, anonymously. Who needs video when you have anonymous testimony?

       —The Colonel    May. 2 '09 - 12:39AM    #
  137. Mr.Schils I am simply applying common sense. The Lee’s were not choir boys.We now have someone posting that drug dealing was going on or that the participants dealt drugs sometimes. Common sense i.e most people with some wits about them(even you) would conclude that there was no plant by the cops

       —ziggy selbin    May. 2 '09 - 02:13AM    #
  138. The combined weight of evidence aginat Mr. Lee is overwhelming:

    First, he is now dead, and unable to defend himself. Second, an anonymous poster says he brought it on himself. Third, so does a man named “Ziggy Selbin”, the name of a famously violent Detroit gangster.

    That is why no one here would ever prosecute the police.

       —The Colonel    May. 2 '09 - 02:42AM    #
  139. Re Post#135: Thank You for the background on Chris Campbell; I was going to disclose it myself.

    I first heard about Chris Campbell through a State Farm representative about two years ago. It turns out a State Farm Special Investigations Unit actually became suspicious while investigating a claim and investigated further and unearthed the scheme. Special Investigations Units investigate fraud at insurance companies. This particular case was developed through the efforts of State Farm. The agents involved in the investigation considered the Campbell case a huge vistory for their unit.

    On the videotapes I see what appears to be Jennifer Reynolds, the insurance fraud co-defendant of Campbell. Reynolds went to trial in the fraud case and was convicted by a jury. The funny thing about the whole case is that neither deputy really benefitted from the crime as the whole isssue as which insurer would take the “hit” for coverage.

    Jennifer Reynolds had an outstanding career as a dispatcher and in fact won departmental awards. She not only had nothing to gain from the scam, but was the victim of Campbell’s violent outburst.
    Her career was ruined and she left the force in public disgrace.

    Reynolds and Campbell both can be located on the Offender Information Tracking System at the Michigan Department of Corrections section of

       —Mark Koroi    May. 2 '09 - 05:05AM    #
  140. At the risk of being banned or the thread being closed I wonder why the colonel is allowed to post the god damned lies he/she continually posts.There is no use refuting them because he/she just continues to do it.

    Guess what? You lost or whatever idiotic twisted and stupid ideal you have colonel lost.A trial or trials were held and the jury ruled. You don’t like it; tough shit. You lost.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 2 '09 - 07:37AM    #
  141. Re Post#140: The only thing the deputies “won” was an exoneration where the standard of proof was guilt beyond reasonable doubt. One deputy chose not to take his chances before a jury despite the generous standard of proof and pled guilty to violating the civil rights of Bruce Lee.

    The County Board of Commissioners and the county’s liabilty carrier approved a $4 million-dollar settlement with the estate of Mr. Clifton Lee, Jr. and the Bruce Lee civil damages suit pends. There have been no civil jury verdicts in favor of the county thus far.

    It is also important to note that the criminally exonerated deputies still face administrative charges and may be suspended or fired if found responsible. Deputy Kelly,of course, will not wear a deputy’s uniform again due to his felony convicton. .

    Sheriff Minzey lost his job at least partially over the Lee incident.

    I fail to see how the Sheriff’s Department has won very much thus far.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 2 '09 - 07:59AM    #
  142. Ziggy (great name, the Purple Gang got its name from the color of rotting meat, BTW),

    How much you want to bet that the prosecution of the Sheriff’s deputies did not make a real effort to win a conviction? It would be so easy for a prosecutor to fix a trial in favor of a defendant it is not funny. And of course, once an innocent verdict is handed down, the defendant can run outside the court and jump up and down and say, “I did it!” and there is not a thing that can be done to prosecute on the same charges.
       —ChuckL    May. 2 '09 - 08:19AM    #
  143. “These boys are not like other boys of their age, they’re tainted. Off color.” “Yes, replied the other shopkeeper. The whole bunch of them are Purple, they’re a Purple Gang.”

    That’s one explanation for how the Purple Gang got its name although there are others;….

    Why am I not surprised that someone on this forum (chuck l) makes a declaration ..“purple gang got it’s name form thecolor of rotting meat”.. yet in a matter of literally a few seconds I can easily refute that.

    Mr.Koroi I did not say anyone won I said the colonels silly notions lost. Btw chuck weren’t the deputies prosecuted in federal court? It makes no sense (unless you are delusional and paranoid) for a federal prosecutor to fix a case. The fact is a jury of reasonable people heard the evidence and made an informed decision. Sorry if the paranoia on this board clashes with that.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 2 '09 - 08:46AM    #
  144. Well, had no idea that Officer Chris Campbell was involved with Bruce Lee. I knew that an officer did do some crime against a fellow officer because of allegations of spousal “cheating” but was never informed that this same officer was the arresting officer for Bruce Lee. So, yea, it does change my mind some. But….for the people who keep saying I am implying Clifton Lee was a bad character and deserved to die…..NO. I did not say that and it is quite the opposite. Maybe, some of you should go back and take English and Comp because nowwhere in my posts do I say such a thing.

       —AnonymousInYpsi    May. 2 '09 - 04:12PM    #
  145. Ziggy,

    ‘The gang supposedly received their name during a conversation between two Detroit market owners, each of them gang victims. One owner made the comment: “They’re rotten, purple like the color of bad meat.”’<==( Only in your own mind can you refute my comment about the Purple Gang name deriving from rotting meat, “…in a matter of literally a few seconds”.

    This whole incident reveals your methods, Ziggy. First, your explanation makes no sense for how the color Purple has anything to do with being off-color. Second, you admit that there are other explanations but don’t admit that my version is one credible version; since you appeared to have studied this history, you probably are aware of my version of the story. Why does it not make sense that a Federal Prosecutor would fix a case in favor of deputies? We have exposed a pattern of special treatment of law enforcement officers on this list in numerous ways. Furthermore, all the Feds would have to do to botch the prosecution would be to make sure a bunch of Ziggy Selbin’s were on the jury and there would be no conviction.
       —ChuckL    May. 2 '09 - 04:20PM    #
  146. Regarding law enforcement use of the Internet during the pendency of cases, I can cite two recent examples.

    In the Dr.Catherine Wilkerson criminal prosecution, the assistant prosecuting attorney Margaret Connors at trial cross-examined a defense witness regarding information posted on Dr. Wilkerson’s daughter’s MySpace website, making direct reference the the information on that site. Catherine Wilkerson’s defense committtee website cited this as an example of how police cruise the Internet looking for criminal intelligence.

    Further, following the failed federal prosecution of Rick Convertino, it was revealed that his own website’s most popular visitor (apparently verified via “cookies”)was the Department of Justice prosecutor in Washington who he had just beat in federal court in Detroit. Coincidentally, Convertino represented the acquitted deputies in the Lee case.

    This is why I believe “AnonymousinYpsi” may be some type of pro-law enforcement “plant”, but I could be wrong.

       —Junior    May. 2 '09 - 06:47PM    #
  147. You only offered one explanation and presented it as the definitive explanation on how the gang was named.. For anyone not drinking the kool aid here I offered other explanations. The truth is no one can say for certain how the purple gang was named. Which prompts me to wonder why you did not offer that in the 1st place………but then you (at least on this particular thread) are fundamentally dishonest so it is a rhetorical question.

    My recollection is the county refused to prosecute so the feds took it up. Why in the hell would they deliberately sabotage the case? What possible reason would a federal prosecutor jeopardize his/her career for a couple of county deputies? Most of us don’t think they would. I was not on the jury. Hopefully you are never on a jury since common sense abandoned you long ago.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 2 '09 - 06:47PM    #
  148. Re Post#144: There was no criminal prosecution against Deputy Christopher Campbell as a result of the alleged bottle incident – and one wonders why not.

       —Junior    May. 2 '09 - 07:39PM    #
  149. Deputy Christopher Campbell was not charged with hitting his fellow officer in the face with a beer bottle because Chief Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Archie Brown gave him a “sweetheart” deal. This article states that Campbell would “not face additional charges in the incident as part of the sentencing agreement”. So Judge Brown was willing to overlook the fact that Campbell assaulted a fellow officer at a sergeant’s house. (Were they ALL off duty at this party?)

    Campbell pleaded no contest to the felony insurance fraud charge, but Judge Brown made sure he didn’t spend a day in jail when he sentenced Campbell to 18 months probation and 100 hours community service. As sweet as the deal was, Campbell had the nerve to ask Judge Brown “to reduce his community service to half the hours because he has had to take two jobs”.

    Here’s the irony, alluded to earlier. It was Campbell who assaulted Reynolds with the beer bottle. It was Campbell who ran into her vehicle. It was Campbell who filed the false police report. Yet Reynolds faced an extra 10 years in prison on the conspiracy charge that was tacked on when she asked another deputy to file a false report. But she only did that to protect Campbell, because he didn’t want his wife to find out about their affair! Just goes to show that you really have to watch who you hang out with, as they can get you in a lot more trouble than they ever face, when you’re just trying to cover their ass!

    I would think that Campbell’s demonstrated willingness to falsify would call into scrutiny every police report he ever filed, but The System doesn’t work that way.

       —Michael Schils    May. 2 '09 - 10:27PM    #
  150. Ziggy,

    You of all people should talk about speaking in definite terms. How do you know a Federal prosecutor would not throw a case against police officers in order to see said officers walk? The point about where the Purple Gang got their name was a besides the point reference that someone would get if they looked it up in Wikipedia; the point about the lack of criminal convictions of police is one of the main points of this thread.
       —ChuckL    May. 2 '09 - 11:24PM    #
  151. I don’t know whether they would throw a case. Bur common damn sense would tall most of us it is unlikely.And as I said the motivation for not throwing a case is loss of career and loss of income. Federal prosecutors have no loyalty or connection to wcsd. Funny I don’t see Mr. Koroi agreeing with you. So I’ll ask directly to Mr.Koroi do you think the fix was in and the feds threw the case?

    As for your purple gan reference……….who cares?
       —ziggy selbin    May. 3 '09 - 01:07AM    #
  152. Yea, ok. Junior. I’m anonymous because of reasons for privacy and I write what I know. i don’t just waste my damn time writing BS. I have children, a job, and school. Well, there is no more reason for me to post anymore. Good luck with the forum everyone and keep civilized. :)

       —AnonymousInYpsi    May. 3 '09 - 07:41AM    #
  153. OK, she’s gone. Now I can say some of the things that may have been considered a bit rude to say in front of her. I’m not buying it. Here was the kicker for me:

    So, my post was merely my way of getting things out that I could never talk about but keep inside and to maybe change someone’s, if not more than one person’s, view on the Lee incident and the mitigating/aggravating factors involving the Lee’s and the video’s portrayal of the officers in the incident.

    Her use of the term “mitigating/aggravating factors” and her concern over “the video’s portrayal of the officers” both sent up red flags for me. I just can’t understand why an ex-drug addict who expressed having “deep feelings for” the person that was killed, would have the same concerns (and use much of the same language) as the attorney for the Defendant officers, Rick Convertino, had when he was presenting his case to the court.

    Her only beefs with what the officers did to Clifton Lee was the overly vague “they didn’t follow protocol”; that they used 6 instead of 2-3 officers to take him down; and that the officers made no attempt to revive him. She apparently has no opinion of the fact that officer Hendricks chased down Clifton Lee as he was trying to get home, and when he was not a threat to anybody. Nor does she have an opinion on officer Eberle spraying pepper spray into, and holding his hand over the mouth of Clifton, which she saw on the video.

    She expressed her agenda to change people’s views but the only info she had to offer was to inform everyone that the Lees (except Clifton who she said only had a “temper”) had loud mouths and were involved with drugs. Although she was not a witness to the West Willow incident nor does she even claim to have talked to anyone who was there, she can “almost guarantee” that drugs and loud mouths were “mitigating/aggravating factors” that instigated the officers, in her completely unsupported (and seemingly unlikely) theory that the Lees intentionally caused a scene to get rid of the drugs they were carrying.

    I’m about 90% certain she was not legit. If I am wrong, I apologize. But this is a red herring, anyway, because even if Bruce Lee were the “biggest loudest mouth drug dealer” in Michigan, it still wouldn’t excuse what the officers did to him, and it especially wouldn’t excuse what they did to Clifton Lee.

       —Michael Schils    May. 3 '09 - 05:18PM    #
  154. Michael,

    I agree! The timing is suspect plus the fact that if drugs were involved, you would think the news and cops would have been all over this at the time of the incident. Instead, all there was was silence, as if nothing had happened. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if an alleged drug dealer dies at the hands of police, you need to question if the police involved are involved in the drug trade as well. Cops have been found to be part of criminal organizations (btw, another reason we need fewer, not more cops) that supply drugs and/or provide protection to favored dealers. I don’t know if this was the case with the Lee incident; but now that drugs have been brought into the picture, it is a theoretical possibility. It might also explain why neither the cops nor the news brought up this issue around the time of Lee’s death in June of 2006.
       —ChuckL    May. 3 '09 - 07:29PM    #
  155. Of course she wasn’t legit.That wouldn’t fit with the fundamental dishonesty and pathology of this thread. Only you all are credible and believable and legit. Black people probably don’t have computers anyway.

    Btw I use to get all my dope from the cops. I imagine you all did too.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 3 '09 - 08:46PM    #
  156. (If nobody feeds the troll, maybe he will go away…)

    Here’s a good opinion piece from today that points to racism as being the reason in the video the officer’s training didn’t kick in and they didn’t try CPR or anything to revive the lifeless Clifton Lee, Jr.

       —Michael Schils    May. 3 '09 - 09:38PM    #
  157. I saw that piece. More bullshit from someone that would not even think for a minute of living near or with or associating with anyone from West Willow. Sure is easy to pass judgment when you don’t have to and never will live in the environment in question you know NIMBY.

       —ziggy selbin    May. 3 '09 - 09:52PM    #
  158. I screwed up the link I gave for the opinion piece. It should be this

    If the moderators want to correct the first one, that would be great.

       —Michael Schils    May. 3 '09 - 10:22PM    #
  159. The author of the aanews opinion piece is lacking in musical historical knowledge. The song strange fruit was originally a poem. It was not sung until 1939 by Billie Holliday 2 years after Bessie Smith died. Perhaps the author meant to say Billie Holliday. But then I wonder if she has heard the song at all.

    To compare what happened in West Willow to lynchings insults the integrity and immortality of lynching victims. Shame on her. I do agree with the author and the gov’t plant/ anon in ypsi/ that the failure of law enforcement to immediately perform 1st aid is reprehensible. But sadly nothing meaningful can be done now; at least where Mr. Lee is concerned. I am disappointed that Mr. Schils considers me a troll simply because I am not in lock step with everyone else. Should we all agree? It makes me think of gov palin wanting to ban books from the school libraries. As long as you think and read the way I do then you are welcome……..doesn’t seem right.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 3 '09 - 10:45PM    #
  160. Michigan Citizen Reporter Diane Bukowski’s statement to my dedicated, beloved supporters and the general public:

    As many of you know, I was convicted Friday May 1 on two felony counts of “assaulting/resisting/obstructing” state troopers. The charges related to my coverage last Election Day Nov. 4 of a high-speed state trooper chase down E. Davison which ended with the deaths of Detroiters James Willingham, a father of ten, and Jeffery Frazier, an autistic young man beloved in his community.

    I am neither dispirited nor depressed about this unjust outcome, but all the more resolved to continue the struggle against the beast that is the so-called “criminal justice” (read injustice) system in this city, county, state and country. Tens of thousands of poor defendants, who do not have my advantages, are daily railroaded into the prison system using court-appointed attorneys who frequently plead them out whether or not they committed the crime. Many are charged with crimes arising from their poverty.

    My defense committee is already planning an extensive fightback. There will be an organizing committee meeting at the offices of The Michigan Citizen, 1055 Trumbull at Howard, Thurs. May 7 at 5 p.m. for those who want to help plan this fightback. We are also of course planning legal appeals from several angles. My sentencing is set for June 1.

    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who knows my extensive coverage of police brutality cases and her failure to prosecute Detroit’s killer cops including Eugene Brown, brought these appalling, trumped up charges against me.

    My attorney Emmett Greenwood and I were forced to fight the charges with one arm tied behind our backs, due to the actions of both Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Trzcinski and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway. Hathaway is a member of the suburban-based Irish Republican Club (not Army) and supporter of state Attorney General Mike Cox.

    On Apr. 17, as a hearing on a motion to withdraw from my case by my previous attorney Arnold Reed was being heard, a motion to “preclude the defense of press privilege” from my trial, penned by Trzcinski and approved by Worthy, was also heard. I had no idea this motion had been presented seven days earlier.

    “The People request that this Court preclude argument, the asking of questions, and the introduction of any other evidence purporting to show that defendant was acting in her capacity as a reporter during the events in question,” Trzcinski said in his motion, which was approved by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

    Hathaway partially granted this request which blatantly violated the First Amendment.
    He refused to adjourn the trial to deal with this new development and provide needed preparation time despite the fact that my new attorney had been on the case for only 10 days.Hathaway also refused to allow Greenwood to appeal the denial of adjournment to the presiding judge of the criminal court, Judge Edward Ewell, which is standard procedure.

    My jury venire was not representative of a “fair cross-section of the community” as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Only two Blacks and two Detroiters were on the final jury, with probably 3 more Blacks in the entire venire of over 30 (for selection). Blacks represent 82.8 percent of Detroit’s population and 42 percent of Wayne County’s population according to the most recent estimates from the US Census. Detroiters also represent 42 percent of the county’s population. The judge continued the trial despite the fact that a third Black juror called in the second day and said she had car trouble, although he could easily have sent a court officer to pick her up. She was instead excluded from the jury.

    Recent figures compiled by the Wayne County Jury Commission show that Blacks are still averaging only about 24 percent of the total jury pools, with Detroiters at around the same rate. Those are the same figures that were in effect when Judge Deborah Thomas first began her campaign regarding the disparate racial and ethnic composition of Wayne County juries in 2004.

    Hathaway allowed extensive direct testimony from the two state troopers, John Hetfield and James Wojton (both white and not from Detroit), who conducted the chase but were gone two hours before I got there. However, he did not allow my attorney to cross-examine them on the legality of the chase, which violated numerous MSP pursuit regulations. They had no siren on, and conducted the chase in a densely populated area for a traffic violation (speeding). Several nearby schools were letting out at the time of the chase, 3:32 p.m.

    The judge even cut off most of my attorney’s direct exam of me, the defendant. Trzcinski viciously attacked Willingham’s grieving sister when she took the stand to testify that I did not cross any yellow caution tapes and did not assault, resist or obstruct the officers.

    The jury watched the raw footage from Fox 2 news videotape of my entire arrest three times. But as I warned my lawyers all along, these suburban juries believe the police, and not “their lying eyes.” That happened when a mostly suburban jury acquitted Trooper Jay Morningstar of murdering homeless Eric Williams in Greektown several years ago. That jury also viewed a Detroit police dashcam videotape which showed Morningstar shooting Williams, who had his pants around his ankles and was clearly disturbed, only 4 seconds after Morningstar exited his car. This was despite the presence of Detroit officers who knew Williams and how to handle him.

    The judge informed the prosecutor and my attorney both in chambers and on the record that Trooper Eric Byerly, who erased two photos from my camera, had committed a crime and should take the Fifth Amendment. However, after Byerly nonetheless testified in detail regarding this destruction of evidence, neither the judge nor the prosecutor took the appropriate actions against him.

    There were numerous other gross irregularities which my attorneys will deal with in their appellate actions.

    But I ask all of you not to lose heart. My determination to continue the struggle against the monster that is this injustice system has been greatly increased by this outcome, and I look forward to victory in the end. If anyone has questions, they can reach me at 313-205-6718 or reply to my email. THANK YOU ALL AND LOVE YOU ALL. DIANE

       —ChuckL    May. 4 '09 - 04:25AM    #
  161. Re Post #151: I do not believe the FBI and U.S Attorney’s Office would seek a federal grand jury indictment and proceed to “throw” their own case.
    They have a lot of better things to do with their time.

    I believe the fact they drew Sean Cox as their judge helped them tremendously. I also believe that Washtenaw County Medical Examiner Bader Cassin helped the defense tremendously by testifying that the death of Clifton Lee,Jr. was from a combination of factors rather than linking the Lee death exclusively or primarily to the conduct of Deputy Eberle.

    I also believe that most other judges in Detroit’s U.S. District Court would, if they had been the sentencing judge for Deputy Eric Kelly, had no problem with following federal sentencing guidelines and remanding him to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. So Kelly got a good break.

    That said, I believe the cited opinion piece at Post #156 correctly illustrates that the onsite conduct of the deputies in not only piling on Lee, but also the lack of initiating first responder procedures underscores the lack of professionalism of the deputies in question and explains why the County Commission authorized a $4 million settlememt with the Lee estate.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 4 '09 - 06:58AM    #
  162. Relative to the previous post, I meant to imply that the defense received a big break in drawing Sean Cox as its judge, not the prosecution.

    As to Post #160, Diane Bukowski was actually convicted of two “high misdemeanors” punishable by up to 2 years in jail. Being familiar with the Wayne County Circuit Court and the charge itself, she will likely not get any jail time.

    The unfortunate aspect of the fact she has two convictions, rather than one, is that she will not be eligible for later criminal record expungement under law, unless she can get one conviction vacated.

    According to the newspaper article, the Bukowski case jury foreman said the jury’s ruling was based on evidence and law, but if he had ruled on emotion, adiffernt result may have obtained.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 4 '09 - 07:13AM    #
  163. From the article regarding the testimony by Washtenaw County Medical Examiner Bader Cassin,

    A deputy, whom he later learned was Eberle, leaned on Lee’s neck, but Cassin emphasized that the recording shows the ground blocked Lee’s airway.

    “There was blocking of the nose and mouth, not done by hand, but by positioning of the head straight down into the turf,” Cassin testified.

    This is remarkable that Cassin points to “the ground” as being what blocked Clifton’s airway, and therefore what caused his death, even though it was Deputy Eberle who was resting on his neck and head, pressing his face into the dirt (just after he sprayed mace and cupped his hand over Clifton’s mouth). This seems akin to saying that if someone held another person’s head under water until they drowned, it would be “the water” that was the cause of death.

    Later in the article,

    Though full autopsy reports typically take weeks to complete, Cassin acknowledged that part of the two-month delay in releasing his findings in the Lee case was to “let the press die down.”

    As it would seem that a medical examiner would have no personal interest in delaying his report to “let the press die down”, it would appear that this was an admission by Cassin that he allowed himself to be influenced by the Minzey administration. Of course, this opens up speculation as to whether Cassin’s descriptions of his findings were also subject to this influence.

    Regarding the fact that six deputies were on top of Clifton Lee when he died, the legal standpoint seems to be that “since all are responsible, no one is responsible”. This case seems to have presented a foolproof means for Law Enforcement units to dispense with undesirables in “bad neighborhoods”.

    I’ve never seen anything regarding the line of command with the Clifton Lee incident, as it seems that no commanding officer has ever been identified as ordering the six officers to pile on top of one individual. So the deputies’ collective action must just be considered to have been a “spontaneous occurrence”.

       —Michael Schils    May. 5 '09 - 05:16PM    #
  164. Bader Cassin also performed an autopsy in the Malice Green case and his examination, court testimony as well as the conduct of the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office generated tremendous controversy in that case.

    The fact that county politics may have played extensive roles in both cases does not surprise me. The office of medical examiner is a county appointment – he or she must answer to the county adminstration.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 5 '09 - 07:13PM    #
  165. In regard to earlier debate over the relative risks of falling victim to criminal and/or police violence in communities like Detroit, West Willow, or possibly Barton Hills (has anyone noticed how dark / isolated / lonely / noir the streets over there become during evening hours?), here’s a recently-revealed danger in Wayne County that we should seek to avoid for our personal safety: calling for emergency help while living in downriver Linkin Park.

    At least one longtime member of L.P.‘s finest fancied himself as a one-man FCC. He won’t hesitate to have you arrested for a four-letter incident during a 911 call — parental medical seizures notwithstanding. Admittedly, the punishment inflicted by L.P. for verbal malfunction (in the incident related below) did not include the kind of finality that may accompany acts such as motorbiking along W. Davison or arguing with sheriff’s deputies in Willow. Nor as severe, for that matter, as Diane Bukowski’s offense of serial investigative reporting.

       —YAAB (yet another aging boomer)    May. 6 '09 - 05:57AM    #
  166. In trying to decipher your post yaab I am guessing and I emphasize guessing that you are telling us; one that crime can happen anywhere and two that there is a person on the Licoln pk Mi p.d. that is over zealous.

    Crime can happen anywhere. However when it happens so much more in certain area’s than others then it is obvious you or I are much more likely to be crime victims. For example you are much more likely to be a victim of crime at Gratiot/Six mi then you are at Barton shore drive. To what I think your next point is I agree cops can be jerks………which is precisely why one should never confront, interfere or argue. That may all be done in court.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 6 '09 - 09:24PM    #
  167. Deputy Eric Kelly was plea-convicted of a felony based on two kicks to Bruce Lee’s head while Lee was face down on the ground.

    What is comparable to Kelly’s act was when Deputy Joseph Eberle gave a backward kick and struck Clifton Lee,Jr. as Lee lay motionless on the ground.

    The Ann Arbor News, in reporting the opening arguments of the respective attorneys in the federal court criminal trial, quoted Eberle defense attorney Richard Convertino in its November 4, 2008 edition regarding the heel kick:

    “It’s unprofessional, uncalled for and is obscene.”

    The same paper on November 18, 2008 also quoted Deputy Eberle himself outside the courtroom during jury deliberations regading the heel kick:

    “I’m embarrased”,he said. “It’s not something I would normally do. I wish I could tell you why I did it. I have no justification for it. It’s an embarassment to my family, to my profession.”

    Both Convertino and Eberle freely conceded that the heel kick to Clifton Lee’s head was improper.

    What makes Eberle’s conduct so objectionable is it was during a time that he was, as a sworn officer with first responder training, under a duty to reasonably ensure Lee’s safety to the extent Lee was or may have been still alive(which we may never know).

    It is a sad commentary on our justice system that it will soon be three years since Lee’s death on June 1, 2006 and Deputy Eberle still remains on the Sheriff’s Department, albeit suspended, and he remains convicted of no crime arising out of the Lee incident. nor has the Washtenaw County Prosecutor nor Michigan Attorney General filed any criminal charges against Eberle despite Eberle’s own admissions.

    This case of Clifton Lee, Jr. and his brother Bruce are more serious than the Rodney King incident to the extent it invoves a fatality and more disturbing than the Malice Green incident as far as the raw violence perpetrated on the Lees.

    At least Deputy Kelly was convicted of a felony and will not apparently be a deputy anymore, however Deputy Eberle not only has been acquitted of criminal charges, but could conceivably be reinstated and receive a judicial finding of “reverse discrimination” with a hefty monetary award.

    Yes indeed, some deputies may be laughing all the way to the bank when the legal dust settles from this tragic incident.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 7 '09 - 05:52AM    #
  168. Deputy Joseph Eberle expressed his “embarrassment” over the fact that he was careless enough to kick Clifton Lee in the head in full view of the patrol car camera. I’m sure this West Willow incident has taught “camera awareness” to all of the WCS officers and they will be extra careful in the future to not suffer the same embarrassment for allowing their similar actions to be recorded with such clarity.

    But as far as being harmful to Clifton Lee, the kick to the head was relatively inconsequential, as Clifton may have already been dead at that point, anyway.

    Doing much more harm to Clifton, were the punches and knee strikes by Eberle. In this article the attorney for the prosecution characterized the strikes by Eberle as “an angry use of lethal force that escalated an already tense situation”.

    The dynamic changed when Lee, while resisting on the ground, swore at Eberle after the deputy shot pepper spray in his face, Cares contended.

    This article also points out that it was the swearing by Clifton that escalated Eberle’s aggression.

    He then swears at the deputies, prompting a series of punches and knee strikes from Eberle.

    This swearing by Clifton of course brings on chants of “He brought it on himself” from the ziggy-minded. In that school of thought, Clifton should have quietly accepted the pepper spray and Eberle’s hand over his mouth and waited to sort it all out in court, afterwards.

    The results of Eberle’s punches and kicks were manifest as the Medical Examiner testified that Clifton Lee’s “eyes and face were noticeably swollen during the autopsy”.

    During Eberle’s trial, Lawrence Jackson, director of Washtenaw Community College Police Academy, testified (See this article ) that Eberle had participated in two courses he instructed on defensive tactics and that “the repeated punches and knee strikes from Eberle to Lee’s head were not techniques taught at the academy because they could be deemed deadly force”.

    However, a day later the Defense was able to counter this testimony by bringing up an “expert” from the accused officer’s own department, Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Hunt, (See this article )

    After watching the video recording, Hunt told jurors the knee strikes and punches – which he said appeared to land in Lee’s shoulder and neck area – are taught to recruits.

    That countered earlier expert testimony from Lawrence Jackson, director of the Washtenaw Community College Police Academy.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Cares presented Hunt with a copy of his earlier grand jury testimony in which he said he couldn’t advocate knee strikes to the head. Hunt testified Thursday that he now believes it’s a gray area with no clear answer.

    So one of WCS’s own changed his testimony in order to condone Eberle’s knee strikes. Well that is certainly not surprising.

       —Michael Schils    May. 7 '09 - 06:08PM    #
  169. Please support these deputies. They deserve our support.

       —Robert Treat    May. 8 '09 - 04:54AM    #
  170. Robert I do support the deputies that want to get to the bottom of this. The deputies that know that these few bad apples hurt the reputation of the whole police dept. What do you have to bring to the table beside your undying support for these deputies? Why these deputies? Do you just go around to websites and state the first thing that comes to your mind in hopes some one will follow you without questions. Do you think that you will talk everybody here into supporting these deputies just on your word alone. Some people will though so I guess your attempt isn’t completely in vain.

    There are a few here just like you that have an argument almost a thought full as yours. You can really tell the people that do a little research into what they believe in and those who just here it in the media. Welcome to the thread but dont be timid with us who think you are wrong. Let us have it. Give us a thorough lesson on why we should support these deputies. I would like to here your side. Did you read this entire thread and also did you view all the tapes?
       —Darryl    May. 8 '09 - 06:27AM    #
  171. Robert, you should be more specific about which deputies (and what conduct) in the videos you think deserve our support.

    Deputy Joseph Eberle made a plea for support when he told “his side of the story” to the newspaper to rebut claims made by the U.S. Prosecutor during closing arguments, one of which was that Eberle “acted sadistically” during the West Willow incident. (See this article )

    This is remarkable that Deputy Eberle declined to testify at his trial so The Ann Arbor News made itself available as a vehicle for Eberle to tell his side of things WHILE THE JURY WAS STILL DELIBERATING! Apparently Judge Cox had no problem with the possibility that such may influence a juror.

    In the article, Eberle claims that while Clifton Lee’s death was tragic, “there was no intent to cause him any harm or death”. I find this to be an incredible statement, for if Eberle had no intent on harming Clifton, then what exactly was Eberle thinking when he sprayed pepper spray into Clifton’s face and held his hand over his mouth?! Eberle insists to the newspaper that he was “following training procedures”- what procedure was that – “How to asphyxiate a perp”?

    Eberle’s attorney had argued to the court that Eberle had received no “formal instruction on pepper spray use and its after effects”, so this counters Eberle’s claim that he was following procedures. In the trial of Shawn Hoy, an expert on pepper-spray use testified before a grand jury that “it would not be appropriate to pepper spray a subject who was taken out of the car handcuffed and lying underneath other officers”. So it’s no wonder Eberle didn’t want to take the stand where he could be cross-examined for making this statement that he was following procedures. The sympathetic newspaper was much more cordial to such claims.

    This use of pepper spray by Eberle clearly escalated the situation. It prompted howls of agony from Clifton Lee and caused him to thrash about in a panic and curse at Eberle. This prompted more hand and knee strikes from Eberle (which apparently he says were not intended to harm even though the autopsy showed that Clifton’s eyes and face were swollen) and caused more officers to pile on top of Clifton, leading to his death.

    I find it incredible that Eberle’s attorney was able to use the lack of pepper spray training to his favor. I would have thought that this would have made it even more clear that Eberle had malicious intent, for why was he using something he had not been trained to use? I hope the new sheriff doesn’t allow his officers to use weapons they have not been trained to use properly.

       —Michael Schils    May. 9 '09 - 08:29PM    #
  172. “….I hope the new sheriff doesn’t allow his officers to use weapons they have not bee trained to use properly.”

    On this one point I agree with you 100%.

    The key theme of Deputy Joseph Eberle’s defense counsel was that the use of force was not “unreasonable” given the scope and depth of his training by the WCSD.

    The prosecution’s case was severely undercut when one of its federal grand jury witnesses backed off his grand jury testimony and stated at trial that it was a grey area as to whether a knee butt to an arrestee’s head was a permissible self-defense tactic for a law enforcement officer to employ.

    Then the second fiasco for the U.S. Attorney’s Office occurred when a female deputy at WCSD who administered the self-defense tactical training program expressed surprise on the witness stand at trial when she learned that Deputy Eberle was never given at WCSD what she considered essential self-defense training. Deputy Eberle’s defense counsel further scored points when he introduced into evidence a memo authored several years earlier by the same female deputy that was critical of the WCSD’s self-defense tactics training program.

    The initial reports regarding the federal indictment of Deputy Eberle emphasized the employment of pepper spray on Clifton Lee,Jr., however Dr.Cassin, the county medical examiner, never at trial mentioned pepper spray as a cause of Lee’s death. I am not aware of any evidence that the Assistant United States Attorney Robert Cares introduced that linked pepper spray in any manner to the asphyxiation of Clifton Lee, Jr. If there is any such proof, I would like someone to point to it. If the WCSD did not require or provide adequate training for its deputies prior to supplying them with pepper spray instruments, then that is clearly the fault of the Sheriff’s administration.

    I believe that the demise of Clifton Lee, Jr. can be primarily attributed to the lack of competence of Sheriff Minzey’s administration as opposed to the fault of any individual deputy at the site of the Lee death. To make Deputy Eberle as the “fall guy”,or any other deputy, for this unfortunate episode is unfair. I am far more critical of Sheriff Minzey and his administrative leadership with respect to Lee’s death than I am the onsite deputies, who can only react to difficult situations in accordance with the training that they have received.

    The deputies at the arrest site of Clifton Lee, Jr. appear to be more of a Keystone Kops operation rather than a band of murderous thugs out to kill Mr. Lee.

    Why would, for instance, the WCSD allow a morbidly obese 370-lb deputy to even be on the force. His excessive weight no doubt inhibits and slows his general physical performance as a deputy and also, as evidenced in the Lee incident, be a danger to third parties. It is the fault of the Minzey administration for permitting such a physically unfit individual to remain on the force without demanding corrective action. I do not know of any military or police agency that would condone or hire any personnel with such severe weight problems. Yet he was on Minzey’s force that tragic night.

    It should be noted that all deputies on the scene that night were not perfect nor robots, but ordinary human beings with emotions and “breaking points” that were put to the test by the conduct of the Lee brothers. Deputy Eberle faced a difficult situation that few other citizens have to face and took what he believed was a reasonable course of action. Deputy Eric Kelly, who had a flawless record previously as a deputy, reached his breaking point and committed an act he later apologized for; Judge Sean Cox recognized this when he sentenced Kelly to a term of probation in lieu of prison. Kelly paid a severe price for his intemperate conduct toward Bruce Lee.

    There is also the recent Ann Arbor News opinion piece referenced above regarding the lack of first responder efforts by onsite deputies toward Clifton Lee, Jr. There was nothing that I was aware of at the federal court trial that criticized Deputy Eberle for not administering first aid or contacting emergency services in a timely fashion; to blame Eberle only at trial and no one else at the scene would have raised suspicions Eberle was being singled out. I do believe it is a legitimate question as to why deputies were casually milling around while an unconscious person is laying on the ground who may be dead or dying.

    I believe the jury that cleared Deputy Joseph Eberle of Mr. Lee’s death made a reasonable and proper decision. It is important to note that he was being charged with causing Lee’s death, not with mere assault or simple excessive force civil rights charges and faced a possible term of life in prison. In seeking the indictment against Deputy Eberle as a homicide case, the prosecution forgone possible lesser charges like the one that resulted in the conviction of Deputy Kelly.

    I likewise, as prior posters have concluded, the conduct of Prosector Brian Mackie toward the Lee case has been completely disgusting. If Mackie had, at some point, announced that based on the County Medical Examiner’s opinion he did not believe that homicide charges were supported by the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, I believe the public could reasonably accept that exercise of his prosecutorial discretion; such a decision would be later justified by Eberle’s federal court acquittal. Likewise if he chose to prosecute in the Lee death to give his office a “crack at a jury” to either convict or acquit the accused, I believe the public would have accepted that course of action as well. By not doing anything and by making no public statement to justify this non-prosecution in the Lee death, Mackie has made himself appear as not wanting to upset the political balance and rapport between his office and the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department that his own office regularly interacts with.

    Deputy Joseph Eberle admittedly did things at the arrest scene that were regrettable however the almost three years of hell he and his family have gone through has been more than enough punishment for his role in the Lee case. He has been suspended without pay and faced a trial where the possibility existed in federal court of a sentence of life imprisomnment if convicted. He courageously turned down a plea offer that would have resulted in a two-year maximum imprisonment to clear his name. Deputy Eberle has been a scapegoat for the death of Clifton Lee, Jr.

    I do not know of the specific departmental charges pending against Deputy Eberle and would appreciate if someone with knowledge of such information would disclose that information and , further, disclose which deputies remain under departmental charges and identify what are the substance of those charges.

    In sum, I believe, and I believe that the silent majority of all citizens believe who are informed about the Lee case, that Deputy Joseph Eberle has been singled out by authorities for political reasons for prosecution in connection with the Lee death and the true culptits are the leaders in the Minzey administration who failed to afford their deputies the proper training and support they needed to carry out their duties and then offered themselves up grand jury and prosecution witnesses in federal court to cover for the Sheriff’s department’s own deficiencies in leadership.

    Deputy Joseph Eberle deserves public support.

       —Junior    May. 9 '09 - 11:15PM    #
  173. Junior,

    You make a good case that all of the deputies present that night should be at least guilty of accessory to murder. Yes, picking one person and making them the fall-guy is rotten politics; especially when the biggest snake of all is Mackie who seems to have come through this, politically speaking, unscathed. The jury should have been presented with a range of charges; one of which could have been failing to render live-saving aid as Clifton Lee lay dying. Here is something that I think should provide a good basis for comparison. The young man (who by the way is black) who recently struck on the head with a blunt object and killed a young woman in Ypsilanti (who by the way was white), leaving her for dead in a park; this same young man was an orphan who, apparently, was tasered on a regular basis by his foster parents when he was a child. One could argue that this young man deserves our sympathy since the brutal treatment he received as a child made him prone to violence. However, the tragic truth is that this young man’s actions prove that he is dangerous to those around him. This young man was vilified as a monster, but if one were to look deeper, one would find, I believe, that his behavior was predictable given the torture he was subject to as a child in foster care; therefor, he is probably entitled to some sympathy. The foster parents should probably be locked up for accessory to murder in this case if true justice were possible (the statue of limitations probably would prevent this.) ` My point here is that even when sympathy is justified for the perpetrators of crime, that fact does not mitigate the very real danger these people pose to others. The deputies that June 1st night in 2006 were put to a test and failed badly. The test they were put to is one they should and should be expected to get through without resorting to murder. If the cop(s) admits on the stand in court that they, “lost it” that leaves open the question of when will they lose it again and murder someone else (the same way the young man in Ypsilanti did.) The actions of government are far more consequential than the acts of a young angry man who snapped and who murdered a friend. Murdering cops are far more of a threat to society than people like that young angry man in Ypsilanti ever could or will be. We seem to have a Kafkaish type system that is very efficient at plucking off of the streets loser nobodies who most of the time are just plain stupid while at the same time leaving the people who are doing the most damage to continue wreaking havoc and mayhem on the rest of us. We should not feel sorry for or support hopefully former Deputy Joseph Eberle! There needs to be accountability somewhere and putting Eberle behind bars would be a good place to start.
       —ChuckL    May. 10 '09 - 08:05AM    #
  174. It should be noted that all deputies on the scene that night were not perfect nor robots, but ordinary human beings with emotions and “breaking points” that were put to the test by the conduct of the Lee brothers.

    Junior, please elaborate as to how exactly the conduct of the Lee brothers pushed the deputies to their “breaking points”. I take this to mean that you agree with ziggy that the Lee brothers instigated it all. How so? As I pointed out earlier, the videos show that when the Lee brothers were attacked, Clifton was on his way home and Bruce was handcuffed and sitting in the back of a patrol car – so how exactly were either of them in a position to make the officers “snap”?

    You also say that Judge Sean Cox realized that Deputy Eric Kelly reached his breaking point, which is why he only sentenced him to probation. Again, please be specific, Junior, as to what you think pushed Kelly to “losing it”. The question of whether Bruce intentionally spit on anyone is unclear. As I mentioned earlier, the intro comment to the Bruce Lee video states that he “spits on Hoy through the window”. But if this did indeed occur, the video doesn’t actually show it, but only what would have been the immediate aftermath. I find this to be a highly questionable edit of the video, as it seems that it was intentional that no visual context is provided for the supposed spitting. But even if we accept the editorializing comment as true, (the question of who authored the comment has not yet been answered), it still doesn’t explain why Deputy Kelly would be so upset that another officer was spit on. Nor can I see why the purported swearing and threats (which we have no video of) by Bruce Lee would push Deputy Kelly to the “breaking point”. If Kelly has no more control than that over his emotions, then he was definitely not fit for the job.

    I agree that it seems political that criminal charges were only brought against three officers. The Clifton Lee civil complaint (See this article ) listed Aaron Hendricks, Christopher Campbell, Thomas Guynes, Michael Mahalik, Jeffery Hankamp and Joseph Eberle as defendants. The Bruce Lee civil complaint (See this article ) listed those same officers plus Deputy Eric Kelly, Sgt. Shawn Hoy, Brian Rex, Michelle Shaffer, Sheriff Dan Minzey, and Lt. Mike Trester.

    Why wasn’t Sgt. Mahalick charged for ordering the handcuffed Bruce Lee to be pulled out of the car? Why wasn’t Deputy Campbell charged with beating up on Bruce Lee prior to that? The fact that no charges were ever filed against Bruce would strongly suggest that the “scuffle” was initiated by an act of misconduct by Campbell, but he was smart enough to take Bruce out of view of the camera, prior to that.

    I’m curious, Junior, as to what dog you have in this race. You have expressed what seems to be knowledge of the court proceedings that the rest of us have not been privy to. Did you attend the court proceedings? Your reference to the “almost three years of hell” Eberle and his family have gone through – without mentioning the five children of Clifton Lee, Jr. who no longer have a father – seems to be a Law Enforcement-centric point of view, along with some of your other comments. Do you have ties to Law Enforcement? (You can be vague in answering this to avoid exposing your identity.)

    Have you seen the video from the Hendricks/Campbell patrol car, which has not yet been released to the public? Have you viewed the “several” videos (mentioned in this article ) that recorded the Clifton Lee incident? (Only a portion of one of the “several” has been released to the public) Have you seen the three videos (mentioned in this article ) of the Bruce Lee incident? (Only a portion of one of the three has been released to the public) Have you heard the audio recordings of conversations between the deputies and the dispatchers? (mentioned in this article ) If so, please share…

       —Michael Schils    May. 10 '09 - 09:13PM    #
  175. I must respond to another point you made. You said “never at trial” did the medical examiner mention the pepper spray as a cause of death. I consider this a red herring and I will tell you why. Consider this scenario. A person driving a car has sand thrown in his face, causing him to go off the road and hit a tree, killing himself. The medical examiner would find the cause of death to be the head injuries sustained by the collision between the driver’s head and the interior of the car. The grains of sand under the eyelids of the driver would not be considered to be the cause of death. But obviously, the head/car collision would not have happened without the car/tree collision, which in turn would not have happened if the passenger had not thrown sand into the driver’s face.

    As I mentioned earlier, the pepper spray clearly escalated the situation and it isn’t clear if Clifton would have died anyway, were it not for the frenzy that resulted from Eberle’s use of the pepper spray. Nor does the record answer the question of whether Eberle still had his hand over Clifton’s mouth at the moment he died. As it seems the view was obscured at that point, there really isn’t any way to tell. Besides Eberle, probably the only person who could answer this question would be Deputy Aaron Hendricks. And he certainly wouldn’t say such a thing about a close personal friend, unless he had to.

       —Michael Schils    May. 10 '09 - 11:21PM    #
  176. This shit is over you all just are unable to accept it. How sad. But for however many times it takes I will keep repeating had Clifton Lee minded his own business things likely would have been different.

    I would love to know what the law abiding citizens of west willow think…….. not the raving maniacs of AU
       —ziggy selbin    May. 11 '09 - 02:33AM    #
  177. Ziggy,

    It is not over; the aftermath is still being dealt with. There are killer/murdering cops still with their badges that could “lose it” at any time and a chief prosecutor Mackie who will not hesitate to prosecute grandmothers for trespassing on railroad property but will allow killer cops free reign.

    As far as we can tell, Clifton Lee was one of those “law abiding citizens of west willow” and that was no help in the end.

    On another note, here is a question; why are cops wearing steal toed boots? Is it so they can kick someone in the head? And does this indicate pre-meditation to do harm?

       —ChuckL    May. 11 '09 - 03:03AM    #
  178. It might not be over to you but it is over. Btw have you bought your new crib over there in west willow chuck? didn’t think so

       —ziggy selbin    May. 11 '09 - 07:19AM    #
  179. Yes, if Martin Luther King Jr. had minded his own business, if Rodney King had only minded his own business, if those 5,000 other lynching victims had only minded their own business… the forces of “law and order” might have had mercy on them. But actually, the police are mandated by law to have mercy, to not exact punishment on the spot.

       —The Colonel    May. 11 '09 - 08:02PM    #
  180. Rodney King??????????? wtf are you talking about??Take your meds or steal some from Chuck You are very misguided to compare lynchings to the lee case or to rodney king but then you are a fundamental liar so I am certainly not surprised.

       —ziggy selbin    May. 11 '09 - 09:09PM    #
  181. I think that Mr. Selbin is seeking to have this discussion closed due to his own language, wherein he alleges mental illness on the part of a specific named person, and also lying. Not a nice way to close down a discussion, but it has worked very well before.

       —The Colonel    May. 11 '09 - 11:10PM    #
  182. You’d like that wouldn’t you colonel? What difference does it make if it is shut down? You are so fundamentally dishonest that I see little use in this discussion. The reasoning used here does border on paranoia,is full of omissions freely uses terms like murder and attacked and racist that it is really based on something other then reality.

       —ziggy selbin    May. 12 '09 - 01:09AM    #
  183. Re Posts #167 & #168: It appears the heel kick by Deputy Joseph Eberle to the head of Clifton Lee, Jr. is recorded at 2:45 of the video.

    At about :29 of the same video, a deputy appears to be kicking an object away from Lee. Does anyone have any idea what object that was? Possibly the infamous cell phone of Lee?

    I have also found it interesting that attorney Jim Fett, who represents at least on deputy thus far in a reverse discrimination action in federal court, cited 370lb. black deputy Thomas Guynes in pleadings as someone who received unfair favortism in the investigation into the Lee death for reasons that were political.

    Can anyone identify Deputy Guynes in the video?

       —Mark Koroi    May. 12 '09 - 02:10AM    #
  184. On a side note, an update on Texas patrol road rage:

    It’s demotion time for a El Paso police sergeant. This guy is one of two officers who gained an unwelcome 15 minutes of fame in April by running across rural Interstate 10 to bully and then arrest a couple of suspected TV reporters armed with cameras. The Channel 7 crew had pulled onto the eastbound shoulder to film a segment on a serious accident in the westbound lanes. When the fuss began, their videocam was already running. The unscripted reality show which started to unfold would later go viral across the continent via news sites.

    A few weeks pass, and now the sergeant has become a patrolman without the stripes, though technically this is due to a different instance of misbehavior. The police action taken against the TV crew last month remains actively ‘under investigation,’ while the complaint names the second officer involved rather than the now-former sergeant. The department instead reached back to another excessive force incident from last fall to formulate a demotion rationale.

       —yet another aging boomer    May. 12 '09 - 03:30PM    #
  185. RE: #172. Junior, I believe your assumption that the 370-lb deputy is “morbidly obese” and “physically unfit” is incorrect. Deputy Thomas Guynes is a former offensive lineman for the University of Michigan and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and that weight is not unusual for that position. I’m not sure what you mean about his weight being a danger to third parties “as evidenced in the Lee incident”, so you will have to be more specific. He is 6-foot-5, so I’ll let you be the one who tells him he needs to get in shape.

    RE:#183. Mark, I’m not sure if there is a clear view of Guynes in any of the publicly released videos. Regarding attorney Fett citing him in his reverse discrimination lawsuit as receiving “unfair favoritism”, I think the only support Fett claims for that allegation is the fact that Guynes is black and was not charged. There were of course many white deputies who were at the scene in West Willow that night who weren’t charged either.

       —Michael Schils    May. 12 '09 - 05:19PM    #
  186. I am sure Mr. Schils and Chuck L and the colonel all support this

       —ziggy selbin    May. 12 '09 - 09:26PM    #
  187. Re Post #172: In the April 9, 2009 Detroit News article “Officer Acquitted In Excessive Force Case Files Discrimination Suit” by Paul Egan it appears that three deputies involved in the Lee incident still remain under suspension:

    “Fett said Hoy had been suspended without pay since shortly after the incident. His pay was reinstated following his acquittal, but neither he nor Eberle nor a third officer who was never charged with a crime has been reinstated.”

    Deputy Aaron Hendricks is apparently the deputy who is identified as not having been charged criminally. He was reported earlier as having been suspended but not was one of the three that had been charged criminally in United States District Court in Detroit.

    I do not know the specific format of the adminisrative tribunal that these three deputies face within their department, but expect it is probably akin to the “trial board” arrangement unique to police organizations as popularized on the “Dragnet” television series. If anyone has any further information on the nature of this hearing procedure in Washtenaw County, I would appreciate him or her sharing it with us.

    I look forward to these hearings and what decisions are rendered on the charges against these three deputies.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 13 '09 - 03:30AM    #
  188. Deputies Joseph Eberle and Shawn Hoy had previously been sued over excessive use of force, according to a May 19,2008 Ann Arbor News article authored by Art Aisner:

    “Court documents also show this case wasn’t the first time Eberle was scrutinized for use of force…

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    “In 2004, Eberle and Deputy Aaon Hendricks, who is expected to testify in the case against the three officers, were both sued in federal court, accused of roughing up a 16-year old Romulus boy suspected of stealing a car in Superior Township.

    “In the lawsuit, the teen acknowledged he initially resisted arrest by running and jumping over fences but said he was struck repeatedly after lying on the ground to surrender. The deputies were also accused of intimidating the boy and standing on his feet while waiting for medical treatment until he provided the name of an accomplice.

    “The deputies denied the allegations, and the suit was setled nearly a year later, records show. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and it wasn’t clear whether the deputies were disciplined by the department….”

    I find it interesting that prior allegations of misconduct against this pair were already on file in federal court two years prior to the Lee case. One wonders what the Minzey administration did to respond internally to the boy’s allegations.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 13 '09 - 04:30AM    #
  189. Re Post #188: That should have been Deputy Aaron Hendricks, rather than Hoy, that was a defendant in the 2004 federal civil suit.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 13 '09 - 04:35AM    #
  190. Ziggy,

    Below is data taken from a 2002 BLS occupation survey showing the relative risk of death on the job for various professions. A number of 1.0 is the average and 3.4 for police means that in 2002, police were 3.4 times as likely to be killed on the job as the average worker (the average rate was 3.7 per 100,000 workers.) Notice that police are not near the top of the list! Notice that cap drivers are at 9.5 which is more that twice as dangerous as being a police officer.


    Relative Risk*

    Leading Fatal Event

    Average All Jobs


    Homicide and Accidents




    Timber Cutters


    Struck by Object

    Airplane Pilots


    Airplane Crashes

    Structural Metal Workers



    Taxi Cab Drivers



    Construction Workers


    Vehicular, Falls




    Electric Power Installers/Repairers



    Truck Driver


    Highway Crashes

    Farm Occupations



    Police, Detectives, Supervisors


    Homicide, Highway Crashes

    Nonconstruction Laborers






    Welders and Cutters


    Falls, fires




    Groundkeepers and Gardeners






    Auto Mechanics


    Highway Crashes, Homicide

    Supervisors, Proprietors, Sales






       —Chuck L.    May. 13 '09 - 06:33AM    #
  191. You are such a transparent fraud chuck. Who the hell said anything about how dangerous anything is? As if that means we should not have sympathy or concern. But then the very thing you accuse cops of being you are……you dehumanize police in order to validate your very twisted and paranoid view of reality.

    I suggested you move to west willow. That was a mistake. You actually get police response in west willow. You should move to Detroit around Gratiot and Connor(or anywhere really} and when your house has ben broken into…..several times……….your car(if you have one) has been vandalized……over and over…… you won’t get any police response. You can handle it all on your own you transparent phony.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 13 '09 - 08:44PM    #
  192. A major question that remains to be answered is how the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office initially got involved in the criminal civil rights violation investigation as to the deputies in the Lee case. The Jim Fett lawsuit alleges State Police Detective Twana Powell unfairly skewed the investigation against the deputies that were eventually under federal grand jury indictment.

    The key question may be is who initiated the federal investigation and why was it initiated at all. If the Powell report did not persuade Brian Mackie to file charges against the deputies, did Detective Powell ever attempt to get the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to review the case? Was it Powell who went to the FBI as a last resort? I would find it interesting as to who was instrumental in seeking the federal investigation of the deputies and what the motives were of those person or persons.

    At the deputies’ trial one salient feature emerges about the prosecution’s case – it relied heavily upon expert witness testimony from members of the WCSD. This was a major mistake as these witnesses were severely impeached during defense cross-examination. Also, a female deputy at the scene of the Lee incident testified inconsistent to what was in her own initial incident report regarding whether or not Bruce Lee was kicking around the time he had been lodged in the back seat of the squad car prior to him being removed by deputies.

    Whether Deputy Eberle’s action were reasonable under the circumstances was the scope of what the jurors had to decide. Given the shaky testimony of the prosecution witnesses and the general reluctance of juries to convict law enforcement personnel in these types of difficult situations, the verdict of the federal court jury was not a surprise.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 13 '09 - 09:34PM    #
  193. Re Post#175: For food and nutrition buffs, the term “red herring” is applied to herrings that have been well-salted and smoked for about ten days. The herrings acquire a ruddy color and emit a pungent odor in the preservation process by virtue of smoking.

    The idiomatic phrase “red herring” refers the training process for young scent hounds who are initially acclimated by their trainers with the strong-scented red herring and later introduced to the more mild scent of foxes and other quarry. The red herring is dragged at an angle across the scent path of the animal quarry and the hound eventually learns to ignore the stronger-smelling red herring and follow the scent of the quarry he is trained to seek. By doing this the hound becomes an effective aide to the hunter as it is able to ignore irrelevant scents.

    The expression “red herring” today is more popular to denote a diversion from the correct or proper conclusion or goal.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 14 '09 - 01:41AM    #
  194. Ziggy,

    Your only human when it comes to understanding the police point of view. The truth is that for every police officer that dies in the line of duty (1/2 due to traffic accidents, 1/2 due to homicide) many more civilians are killed by police (I believe the ratio is close to 10 to 1). People like you will believe whatever BS story the police conjure up to justify a homicide. So, Ziggy, you’re afraid of places like Detroit and you want the police to protect you from “those people” and you don’t care what methods, including murder, the police use to do it? Call me a transparent fraud all you want, your name-calling shows you got nothing to say.
       —ChuckL    May. 14 '09 - 03:07AM    #
  195. When commenting up above (10 entries ago) on the reported demotion of a police sergeant in El Paso, I’d completely forgotten about another other little enforcement matter taking place in the lone star state. This one could have some national implications in the long run:

    While parked in my driveway yesterday, a 5-minute news item broadcast on NPR followed up on earlier reports about the creative use of RICO-like statutes by police in Tenaha, Texas. In regard to using force to seize property presumed to have been acquired through illegal activities, Tenaha’s officers apply a remarkably bold interpretation to an already remarkably bold law. If you get pulled over for any reason, and you have something in your vehicle that they would like to have, it now belongs to them. If you agree, you may leave. Should you express a problem with this arrangement, they’ll say they’re more than happy to entertain you for a while by pressing money-laundering charges or by threatening (parents with) loss of child custody. It’s as if you couldn’t possibly have acquired any useful personal assets without being in the drug trade. This is especially true for those whose initial pull-over violation is DWB.

    Some of those who made an unexpected municipal tithing while driving through town ultimately got around to hiring lawyers. They ask for an assessment of Tenaha’s welcome wagon program in an official venue away from city hall. NPR additionally notes that legal discussion has reached the Texas state lege, where a few reps work at restricting the leeway local jurisdictions have in making such legal interpretations. They will try to add a touch of reform to a state that is home to the likes of Bush and the Nuge.

    As I gather from the NPR report on the bizarre, frightening police behavior in a far-away little town, we can still find a meaningful silver lining. Public awareness of Tenaha has noticeably heightened an ongoing national reevaluation of RICO-like asset seizure laws. This is very good. These laws were initially sold to us as a means to help eradicate well-heeled organized crime/drug syndicates by preventing them from using laundered profits to pay for expensive, top-tier lawyers. Instead, however, these rules too often enable legally-sanctioned corruption through their use as a strong-arm police tactic to shake down the public and toss low-level defendants into poverty. In this light, Tenaha’s boldness merely pushes the envelope.

       —yet another aging boomer    May. 14 '09 - 04:11AM    #
  196. Chuck I never condoned what happened in the Lee case. I do point out the ridiculous and yes paranoid view you and Mr. Schils and the colonel seem hell bent on putting forth.

    There were many mitigating factors in the incident. That is conveniently and completetly omitted on the little slice of internet jonestown. What is the point of comparing how dangerous one vocation is compared to another? Does that mean the cop that is killed deserves less sympathy then the cab driver? To you it seems to because you have demonized and dehumanized the cops to validate your paranoia. I am critical of the cops when I think I should be not because I have some dumb dogmatic idea of the cops always being wrong. It must piss you off that I have come here to spoil the kool aid party……but here I am.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 14 '09 - 02:54PM    #
  197. RE#192. Mark, to answer the question of how the case got in the hands of the feds, from this article regarding a forum that was held in the West Willow community,

    (Deputy U.S. Attorney Brondell) Morey said his agency, along with the FBI, received the case in January and opened it in April. He said the federal government, which had to approve the matter in Washington D.C, was forwarded the case by Mackie.

    Mackie was handed the case in September, when the Michigan State Police had concluded their own investigation. The Michigan State Police had been the lead authority in the case since the incident had occurred, upon Minzey’s request.

    So it appears Mackie received the case from the MSP in September 2006, and sat on it until January 2007 before forwarding it to the feds.

    “There was something there that the U.S. Attorney’s Office should investigate,” Mackie said of his decision to send the case to the federal government. “The Attorney General didn’t disagree.”

    Later in the article, Mackie gives the West Willow attendees a reason for sending the case to the feds,

    Morey and Mackie said the federal government can hold a grand jury investigation, which requires subpoenas and testimony placed on the record. Unlike a state grand jury, which Mackie would have had to request, witnesses are not allowed to have a lawyer present in the room.

       —Michael Schils    May. 14 '09 - 04:37PM    #
  198. RE:188 Here’s the article you quoted from regarding the 2004 federal lawsuit against Deputies Eberle and Hendricks. I commented before the election on Minzey’s inaction, here.

    It’s interesting that Eberle and Hendricks allegedly stood on the 16yr-old’s feet to try to get the name of his accomplice out of him. There must not have been available any pepper spray, tasers, waterboards, or any other “harsh interrogation”-devices.

    The newspaper reports there was a “settlement” (terms not disclosed) for this 2004 lawsuit, so the West Willow settlement was not the first time the Eberle/Hendricks duo has cost the County money. To avoid future expense, I would say it is time for the new sheriff’s administration to take measures to keep these two deputies apart. Apparently, making sure they are no longer assigned to the same patrol isn’t enough. On the night of the West Willow incident – out of the numerous officers who responded to Hendricks’s call for backup – Deputy Eberle was the first officer to get out of his car and pounce on Clifton Lee before he could get home. Unfortunately for Eberle, in his zeal to gang up with his close personal friend and show Clifton he is not the tough guy, he didn’t notice that Clifton’s fall had taken them in view of the camera mounted on the front of the patrol car.

    Eberle played it like he was coming to the rescue of a friend in distress when he spoke to the sympathetic newspaper reporter,

    “Step it up, step it up!” the voice over the radio said.

    The emphasis wasn’t lost on Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Eberle, especially since the familiar voice belonged to a fellow officer and close friend who had already called for backup and might be in harm’s way.


    “It’s scary when you hear that (police radio transmission) because you don’t know what’s going on and what you’re getting into. It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand,” Eberle said Tuesday in the federal courthouse hallway, just a few doors away from where jurors deliberated his fate.

    This picture Eberle is painting, with the help of the newspaper, is hard to square with the timeline given in this article, which has “Clifton Lee is seen walking away, past intersection out of view” occurring 46 seconds before Eberle’s car arrived. This provided more than sufficient time for Hendricks to have communicated via the radio that he was no longer in trouble, if in fact he ever was. Considering this timeline, it would seem far more likely that the “Step it up” voice on the radio was in reference to Hendricks wanting to get Clifton before he could get home, rather than to Hendricks feeling threatened by Clifton (shooting him with his cell phone?).

    Of course the obvious disparity between this picture Eberle’s painting to the newspaper and the facts on record is why Eberle declined to say this BS under oath in court, where he could be cross-examined.

    This “Starsky and Hutch”-theme of a buddy cop in distress must have played well for the “suburban” jury. As I pointed out earlier, Hendricks’ nervous testimony of onlookers “lurking in the bushes” and his insistence that “another half step” and he would have had to shoot Clifton, certainly set the stage for him to be rescued by his buddy Eberle.

    The inconsistencies between this buddy-cop narrative and the videos from the patrol cars must not have mattered in court. As mentioned earlier, Michigan Citizen Reporter Diane Bukowski warns of suburban juries who will believe the police before “their lying eyes.”

       —Michael Schils    May. 14 '09 - 09:32PM    #
  199. Re Post#197: The alleged difference between state and federal grand juries is a “red herring” as to why the feds assumed the prosecution of the Lee incident.

    The last major case I recall in which a state grand jury was empanelled in the State of Michigan was that sought by Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga to investigate various types of racketeering activities and public corruption allegedly occurring in that county in 1985, shortly after he had assumed office. The reasoning for a grand jury in that case was that citizens were understandably reluctant to give statements to law enforcement voluntarily in such criminal investigations. The grand jury has subpoena power to compel such testimony. No such justification exists in the Lee case at issue here nor was such a reason cited by Prosecutor Brian Mackie or Assistant U.S. Attorney Blondell Morey.

    The purported reason that attorneys cannot appear in a federal grand jury room but can appear in a state grand jury room as a rationale for foregoing a state prosecution is ludicrous.

    Firstly, federal grand jury witnesses may leave the grand jury room to consult with counsel outside as was illustrated during the Jimmy Hoffa case.

    Secondly, whether a grand jury witness consults or not with an attorney is irrelevant on the decision where to prosecute the case.

    Thirdly, a grand jury simply decides whether or not to return an indictment, information based for such an would be easy to obtain through police reports and coroner’s reports. There is no need to even have any grand jury in state court as all Prosecutor Mackie simply had to do is file felony charges against the deputies and present coroner’s testimony and witnesses to tesify at a preliminary examination within 14 days ater filing the charges in state court. A district court judge then must find probable cause to believe that a felony has been committed and the charged defendant as the perpetrator of that felony and the defendant would be bound over to the circuit court for trial.

    I have never heard such a lame excuse to expect the public to swallow for a county prosecutor declining to file charges in a state court. It shows me that politics rather than legitimate legal strategy was used by Mackie to avoid seeking any state charges against the deputies.

    As I have stated earlier, Mackie had — and still has — the discretion to file state charges against the deputies in the Lee case, just as there was concurrrent jurisdiction in the Rodney King and Vincent Chin cases where the FBI and Department of Justice intervened to avoid injustices in those matters. At least in the King and Chin cases state court prosecutors made efforts to seek prison time for the perpetrators in those cases, in the Lee case no such efforts were made by Brian Mackie, which I find to be wholly unacceptable.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 14 '09 - 10:58PM    #
  200. Regarding the July 26,2007 Ypsi Courier article cited at Post #197, journalist Dan Duchene noted in the article:

    “Several members of the audience were upset that the matter was forwarded to the federal government, and not prosecuted here in the county instead.”

    It appears I am not alone in the disappointment of the failure of Prosecutor Brian Mackie to take action at the county level.

    I believe that it is very possible that a Washtenaw County jury venue would have been more likely to return a guilty verdict rather than a federal court venue, especially if the jurors were from Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.

    As it turned out the indicted deputies drew Sean Cox as their trial judge, and he was very favorable to them. If a county case drew a circuit judge in Washtenaw County such as Donald Shelton or Melinda Morris, those two would likely have been more even-handed toward the prosecution than Sean Cox, although the remaining three circuit judges in Washtenaw County would have likely been more pro-deputy in their orientation.

    Lastly, the Ypsi Courier article cites the Asst. U.S. Atty. as “Brondell” Morey when my Bar directory correctly lists it as “Blondell” Morey.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 15 '09 - 04:11AM    #
  201. Brian Mackie apparently declined to prosecute the officers involved in the West Willow incident so he could save the resources of his office for cases like Catherine Wilkerson ( AU thread ) and for the conviction on Tuesday of the father for two felonies – obstruction of justice and resisting an officer – when the father was merely trying to reclaim his lost child.

    This story involving the Washtenaw Deputy who decided to shoot the father with her Taser in front of his child and a park full of children deserves a thread of its own. The father has not been sentenced yet, so maybe if some noise were made regarding this ridiculous conviction, the judge would decide to show some mercy.

       —Michael Schils    May. 16 '09 - 07:02PM    #
  202. Re Post No.198: The 2004 federal lawsuit was brought by a 16-year old criminal suspect. It was his word against that of two sworn law enforcement officers. Obviously the Sheriff’s Department did not take his allegations to be credible as no action was taken against these two deputies. There is no indication any money was paid to this plaintiff, and if some was, it may have been nuisance value to avoid the legal expense of a civil trial.

    Remember, a federal court jury found Deputy Eberle not guilty of civil rights violations in Cliftion Lee Jr.‘s unfotunate death. He never had his day in court in the wrongful death action because the County Commission and the county’s insurance carrier forked over a huge chunk of cash to the Lee estate and the Fieger firm without even taking any depositions in the matter; Deputy Eberle, I am sure, never contributed a penny to that amount even though he was a named co-defendant; I am also sure that the county never conceded fault in the Lee death.

    To date, Deputy Eberle has never been found legally responsible by any tribunal in the Lee death. His last “hurdle” will be the administrative case brought by the Sheriff’s Department. Once and if he is cleared, which I am reasonably confident he will, he will be going back to protecting local residents as he has done in the past.

    In response to Post No. 174, I am not a law enforcemnet officer, but a citizen who has followed the Lee case and concluded, as do the silent majority of all citizens who have followed this case that Deputy Eberle was and is innocent in the Lee death.

    As I stated earlier, Deputy Joseph Eberle deserves public support.

       —Junior    May. 16 '09 - 09:45PM    #
  203. Your support for the accused officers is much like ziggy’s – you decline to discuss any of the specifics regarding what happened. You completely avoided my request for you to elaborate on your claim that the conduct of the Lee brothers pushed the officers to their “breaking points”. So I will assume that your argument is akin to ziggy’s, in that you feel the officers’ actions were justified because of the “neighborhood”.

    Regarding the 2004 lawsuit, you seem to have more knowledge than is available from the newspaper article. You say no action was taken by the sheriff’s office against Deputies Eberle and Hendricks. The newspaper article states, “it wasn’t clear whether the deputies were disciplined by the department”. Yet it is clear that the two were no longer assigned to the same patrol on the night of the West Willow incident (Hendricks was paired with Campbell). Do you know for a fact that this splitting up of Eberle and Hendricks was not an action taken by the sheriff’s office in response to the 2004 lawsuit?

    Likewise, the article states that a settlement was reached over the 2004 lawsuit, but that the terms were not disclosed, which seems to contradict your view that there is “no indication” the Plaintiff received any money. Would you explain?

    You are correct that when a plaintiff’s testimony conflicts with that of sworn officers, then “all ties go to The Blues” (or in this case, “Browns”). This would seem to suggest that there must have been some corroborating evidence to support the 16yr-olds allegations – maybe several witnesses or some marks on the boy’s body to support that he was abused by Hendricks and Eberle – else, there would have been no settlement. Of course, without the videos, there would have been no case against the officers in the West Willow incidents. Deputy Eberle stated he “didn’t remember” kicking the unconscious/deceased Clifton Lee in the head. Likewise, without the videos, he would not have remembered/would have denied spraying pepper spray into Clifton’s mouth and cupping his hand over it. The videos were the whole case against him.

    You also claim that the County never conceded fault in the Clifton Lee death. Doesn’t the $4 million payoff imply an admission of fault? I believe the County should have offered an apology to the Lee family. Was no apology ever given? Leah Gunn, can you answer this? Perhaps there was no admission of fault, even after the commissioners viewed the videos, because it was feared that such an admission would open things up for more lawsuits.

    You say that after he clears the internal investigation “hurdle”, Deputy Eberle “will be going back to protecting local residents as he has done in the past”. I’m sure the citizens of West Willow would prefer to opt out of such “protection”.

    Junior, I asked you if you have ties to Law Enforcement and you replied that you are not an officer…so I will take that as a ‘YES’.

       —Michael Schils    May. 17 '09 - 05:01PM    #
  204. Re Post#201: The judge in the case you are referring to is the Honorable Archie Cameron Brown, the Engler appointee who is up for re-election next year.

    Judge Brown was the sentencing judge in the insurance fraud case of Deputies Christopher Campbell and Jennifer Reynolds. He gave both probation. If you are a law enforcement officer you should do well before Brown, however remember in the taser case the WCSD was the reporting law enforcement agency, so it is a good question as to what Judge Brown may do.

    I agree a new thread is appropriate and concur with Mr. Schils that Arbor Update generate a new thread on yet another disturbing case involving police deployment of a taser.

       —Kerry D.    May. 18 '09 - 04:18AM    #
  205. Surprise ,surprise, Mr. Schils grossly misrepresents my postition. In case there are one or two stragglers that are not drinking the Kool aid ( aside from the few other stragglers) my “position” is prsented thru out this thread.

    For whatever reasons Mr. Schils the colonel and chuckl are incapable of any objectivity.
       —ziggy selbin    May. 18 '09 - 02:32PM    #
  206. Ain’t that a kick in the head — that’s how one blogger/lawyer appropriately headlined it. A lengthy police chase last week through a section of the Los Angeles suburbs ended with the kind of incident all-too-familiar to viewers of the West Willow videos.

    The suspect, possibly concerned about parole violations, initially sped off when a cruiser tried to pull him over for an apparent traffic infraction. Other police vehicles in the area were called in right away, and soon they were all off onto area streets & freeways on a higher-speed edition of the O.J. spectacle from 15 years ago — complete with live traffic copter coverage, though without celebrity participation.

    After the passage of a number of minutes and miles, we see, from a bird’s eye view, the driver eventually crash into a parked SUV while navigating along the wrong side of a boulevard. He dashes off on foot into an apartment complex, finds high walls in the back lot, decides to give up. Just before the first officer arrives, he throws himself face down on grass with limbs extended, looking fully submissive. The officer takes a moment to observe the prone and motionless suspect. Then he delivers a quick, energetic boot to the side of the head.

    Did the officer not hear the TV chopper directly overhead? Or decide not to care one way or the other? The LA Fox News studio broadcaster, who had been commenting favorably of the coordinated effort by several departments to end the chase without roadway disaster or violence, now became almost speechless, not quite knowing what to say live on the air.

    Police officials later emphasized that the arrested and head-kicked driver was a genuine, tattooed, Hispanic gangland member. The public and the media gave this attempted rationale something less than wildly enthusiastic reception. In turn, the El Monte Police Officers Association stepped forward to argue that delivering a swift blow to the head of a prone suspect lying face down on the ground with arms outstretched is a necessary procedure to insure safety for the arresting officers.

    In regard to the West Willow incident, have we heard at any point Washtenaw police officials or deputies’ lawyers trot out a line of “reasoning” similar to the last one above? …I can’t remember all the many details in the long line of comments above.

    An added irony is that L.A.‘s head-kicking officer in question has a side business selling a line of gangland-themed clothing.,1,3648601.story

       —yet another aging boomer    May. 19 '09 - 05:14PM    #
  207. Actually killing prone suspects: that procedure delivers an additional level of safety and security to officers.

    This process is called “confirming the kill”, when used by Israeli military personnel on schoolchildren. Recently, an Israeli officer (Captain R.) was acquitted of all charges after shooting Iman Darweesh Al Hams, a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

    Subsequent to his acquittal, Captain R. was promoted to the rank of major in the Israeli armed forces, and was awarded 82,000 New Israel Shekels (roughly $17,000).

    If this procedure, “confirming the kill” is so highly successful in Israel, one has to ask when it will be introduced in West Willow.

       —The Colonel    May. 19 '09 - 07:23PM    #
  208. Maybe these folks could use that terminology kernel

    move to west willow yet you phony?

       —ziggy selbin    May. 19 '09 - 08:50PM    #
  209. Colonel- Shut it! Any such allegation is not IDF policy. Your last sentence makes no sense?! Everything does not go back to Israel. Outside of your tiny brain is an entire world, independent of Israel. I find your appraisal of the alleged case extremely truncated and trenchant (which of course it is). Why don’t you get a damn job and spare us all your ubiquitous bullshit on this blog. Your post has nothing to do with anything remoting related to west willow.

       —lies lies and lies    May. 19 '09 - 08:51PM    #
  210. It is true that “Everything does not go back to Israel”, as you say. We do not know if the police officers in West Willow received training in Israel.

    We do know that the current Ann Arbor Police Chief received training in Israel, which may or may not have led to his hiring here.

    Chief Jones’ Israeli training is, in fact, documented in the “New York Times”. This is a source which you will find it hard to discredit. Chief Jones called Israel “the front line”.

    Here is what the NY Times said, exactly, at:

    Police Chief Jones trained in Israel

    “…Barnett Jones, chief of the Sterling, Mich., Police Department, with 259 employees, was one of more than a dozen officials who went to Israel for training in April.

    “ ‘One would say it is the front line,’ Chief Barnett said of Israel. ‘We’re in a global war.’

    “Asked whether he had specific concerns because of the large Arab and Muslim population in the Detroit area, he responded delicately, saying: ‘The reality is we have a large population in our community that immediately become suspect, whether that is right or wrong, because of the global war…’ “

    —NY Times, July 25, 2005

       —The Colonel    May. 19 '09 - 09:09PM    #
  211. Well there goes the thread…

    The previous comment (#210) is not only off-topic (as was #207), but will likely spawn many replies that will also be off-topic.

    Can we try to keep the discussion in this thread on subjects related to the West Willow incident and not let the (Anti)Zionist thing splash over into here? (This is a rhetorical question, please don’t reply.)

       —Michael Schils    May. 19 '09 - 10:18PM    #
  212. There have been various analogies to other police brutality incidents in this thread, including to “L.A.‘s head-kicking officer”. There will be more analogies to Rodney King and similar cases.

    Discusing the West Willow incident in isolation, as if police brutality has never happened before, would tilt the argument greatly in favor of those who say:
    (1) West Willow is an exceptional place, and
    (2) This police brutality was an exceptional event, in response to an exceptionally bad neighborhood.

    Context is good.

       —The Colonel    May. 19 '09 - 10:59PM    #
  213. Yes, I agree, context is important, but the Israel discussion just seems to obliterate everything in its path, so care should be taken as to when and when it should not be invoked. If the contextual link to what is being discussed is not so strong, then one has to consider whether some things are worth mentioning. An alleged Israeli military procedure that involves the killing of schoolchildren is definitely worthy of a thread all its own. If raised anywhere else, it would likely seek to destroy its host by inciting the usual back-and-forth flame-war that only serves to excite those who are directly involved. But it looks like in this case it didn’t incite such (yet), so never mind…

       —Michael Schils    May. 20 '09 - 01:01AM    #
  214. Re Posts#201 & 204: I will “third” the request of prior posters that a new thread be established to address the topic of Lloyd Brumbaugh, the unarmed father tasered by the WCSD after recovering his lost son at a soccer match.

    Mr. Brumbaugh was recently convicted of two high misdemeanors and faces sentencing of up to two years in jail on each count of resisting and obstructing an officer.

    Perhaps if County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum joined in on the request for a new thread on the Brumbaugh case, the webmaster would comply; he apparently has significant clout in those matters based on prior history.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 20 '09 - 03:03AM    #
  215. Re Post #160: Journalist Diane Bukowski has retained former mayoral candidate Sharon MacPhail and attorney John Royal for her June 1st sentencing, according to the Detroit Free Press.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 21 '09 - 10:55PM    #
  216. RE:206 In the LA incident, the officer’s attorney justified the kick to the head caught on video as being a “distraction” blow and that it was justified under the department’s use of force policy.

    “The individual officer saw some movement. He feared the parolee might have a weapon or be about to get up. So the officer did what is known as a distraction blow. It wasn’t designed to hurt the man, just distract him.”

    El Monte officers, he said, “are trained to deliver a distraction blow to stop a [suspect] doing what they are planning on doing.”

    This is similar to Deputy Eberle’s attorney’s argument to the court that the punches and knee strikes by Eberle to the head and neck area of Clifton Lee were justified because of the“pictures directly from the training manual that depict officers kneeling on or punching areas near the back of neck to restrain people lying on the ground.” This apparently convinced the jury, who had asked to see enlarged photos from the training manuals during their deliberations, before acquitting Eberle.

    I would suggest that if the WCS training procedures are so vague as to allow officers to punch and knee prone suspects as shown on the videos, then they need to be changed to be more precise as to what is allowed. Lawrence Jackson, director of Washtenaw Community College Police Academy, said if the officers’ techniques aren’t working, “officers are taught to take in the totality of the circumstances and devise a different plan to get and maintain control”. IMO, this gives far to much “grey area” to the officer’s discretion. Even Eberle’s act of spraying pepper spray into and cupping his hand over Clifton Lee’s mouth could arguably be justified as Eberle merely “devising a different plan”.

    Following the LA incident, the El Monte police department’s policy of “distraction blows” was criticized for being too vague in comparison to the professional standards of other police departments. In Washtenaw County, I hope the new sheriff does a thorough review of the WCS training procedures that were so loosely interpreted to justify the actions of the accused officers.

       —Michael Schils    May. 22 '09 - 06:45PM    #
  217. The brutality of the LA incident, with the officer kicking the suspect in the head and another officer beating him with a flashlight, seems to pale in comparison to the brutality of the West Willow incident involving Clifton Lee. For one thing, the resulting injury to the LA suspect was relatively minor in comparison to the fatal result in West Willow. Likewise, the single kick and the several blows with a flashlight to the suspect in LA seem relatively less violent than the multiple punches and kicks, the asphyxiation with the aid of pepper spray, and the (possibly) post-fatal kick to the head of the suspect in West Willow. I’m not aware of any other incident on record where a suspect is smothered to death by having his/her airways blocked by too many officers piled on top of him/her.

    So why has the ACLU been completely mum so far regarding what happened in West Willow, yet the same ACLU quickly responded to the LA incident by calling for the suspension of the officer who delivered the kick?

    The answer is the difference in the media coverage of both incidents. The LA incident was captured in high resolution by a chopper from a local TV station hovering directly overhead. The incident was broadcasted to the public in all its graphic detail in real time. The El Monte Police department was not given a chance to hide the incident from the public by sitting on the video for years until the lawsuits were settled.

    Washtenaw County’s handling of the West Willow incident would seem to be textbook if protecting Law Enforcement from scrutiny were the objective. As I mentioned in another thread, former sheriff Dan Minzey did everything he could do to prevent public awareness when he refused to release the videotapes. The Board of Commissioners did all they could do to prevent exposure to the public when they paid off the victim’s family to avoid a jury trial. And as I mentioned earlier, the Medical Examiner for the County admitted that at least part of the reason for the two-month delay in releasing the autopsy report was to “let the press die down”. This article described the Eberle case as being “so shrouded in secrecy that the deputies involved were not publicly named until Lee’s family filed their lawsuit one year after the incident”.

    Washtenaw County officials released portions of the videos well over two and a half years after the incident. I remarked to somebody that I thought the released videos would cause more of a stir, to which they replied, “That’s long past, nobody cares much about that, anymore.” Even Arbor Update seemed indifferent, waiting nearly a week before granting the numerous requests to start this thread, and then abruptly shutting it down for a seemingly minor reason.

    Washtenaw County’s management of this civil rights crisis was, I’m sure in their view, successful, and will most probably be the “model” for the County in the future when something similar happens. I wish for the sake of future ‘Clifton Lee’s that there would have been a chopper overhead, broadcasting what was happening in West Willow that night to the public in real time. I’m sure the public awareness and outcry would have been sufficient to spur the changes necessary to do everything possible to make sure there would be no more victims like the Lee brothers. But now that it is only days away from the third anniversary of the incident – and we still have not gotten word of the internal review being completed regarding if the accused officers complied with departmental policies – I can’t be so sure that the necessary changes will ever happen.

       —Michael Schils    May. 22 '09 - 11:25PM    #
  218. As any neurologist can tell you, any violent trauma to the head has the capacity for causing irreversible brain damage.

    Bruce Lee’s attorney has pled in her federal court lawsuit that he sustained “possible” brain damage.

    It would likely take weeks of tests by neuropsychologists and radiologists to determine the existence and extent of any traumatic brain injury Mr. Lee might have had suffered due to the violent kicks to his head.

    Violent kicks to an arrestee’s head head should not be a permissible self-defense tactic.

       —Kerry D.    May. 23 '09 - 07:59PM    #
  219. Four weeks from today at 1:30PM, the father who was tasered, Lloyd Brumbaugh, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Archie C. Brown, after being found guilty of “ASSAULTING/RESISTING/OBSTRUCTING” a police officer.

       —Michael Schils    May. 27 '09 - 10:47PM    #
  220. Re Post #201: I have always thought it ironic that the Clifton Lee, Jr. and Catherine Wilkerson cases both involved positional asphyxia imposed by law enforcement personnel and that Brian Mackie’s office had the gall to prosecute Dr. Wilkerson for trying to help the arrestee from harm and the WCSD is not prosecuted for conduct resulting in positional asphyxia.

    Dr. Wilkerson herself has mentioned the Lee case as an example of deficient performance of police personnel that can result in tragedy.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 28 '09 - 07:14AM    #
  221. Michael Cox,the brother of U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, who sentenced Deputy Kelly in the Bruce Lee case, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor.

    Among those who may seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination are Ann Arbor’s own Alma Wheeler Smith.

       —Mark Koroi    May. 28 '09 - 10:48AM    #
  222. Michael,

    One of the reasons the County prosecuted was to head-off a civil lawsuit which could have been brought by Brumbaugh had he not been prosecuted on criminal charges. Whenever violence between police and citizens occur, the government will always want to bring criminal charges against the citizen in question to protect themselves both politically and financially. I have heard of police arresting witnesses to police abuse on trumped-up charges to prevent people from either testifying or bringing suit against the police. I believe the criminal justice system is a corrupt system that will not fix itself. This case is another example of how the police take a bad situation and make it worse. The use of violence here by police is troubling; the officer in question should not be a police officer if she felt threatened by Mr. Brumbaugh. Was he supposed to run after her with his 3 year old child in his hands? Could citizens bring suit against police preventing them from carrying tasers? Most people in this country seem to be brainwashed into believing that violence directed by government agents at citizens is an o.k. way to compel people to do something. The rest of us can only use violence when there is a clear and present threat and only in self-defense of self or others.
       —Charles Loucks, Board Candidate    May. 29 '09 - 03:13AM    #
  223. Ziggy wants to know what the “law-abiding citizens of West Willow” think… Ziggy, I think you are clueless when it comes to your knowledge of the neighborhood. It is not a crime infested area. Is is a diverse neighborhood that has no more crime than many other areas in Washtenaw County. Read the papers… more crimes stories come from the colleges campuses than WW. Yesterday’s murder… no where near WW! Same as many other crimes! You keep saying move over there and then tell me what you think. Ok,I did. I’ve lived there for 3 years, almost. Moved in just after this incident happened. No neighborhood is free of crime and WW is no exception. However, I don’t think you have a clue as to what the area is really like. Let us that live there, that abide the law, care about our neighborhood AND neighbors, be the judge of that! Thank you!
    It is clear there were some irresponsible officers that evening. When you go after a man that walked away from the scene and he is dead within minutes, and when you pull an already detained man out of a police car to beat the crap out of him because you feel he disrespected you, THAT is wrong. You cannot argue with that! Forget the entire rest of the story… the past of anyone involved doesn’t matter. Those two things there should be the main focus. The officers should be reprimanded for their actions. Plain and simple! You better pray to the good Lord above that you never have to eat your words, Ziggy!!

       —A Law Abiding West Willow Resident    May. 29 '09 - 06:12PM    #
  224. I guess our standards are different wwr. I have read of two separate shooting incidents in west willow in the last three weeks. If that happened where I live believe me no one would consider it anything but a crime infested area. Perhaps you should raise your standards.

       —ziggy selbin    May. 29 '09 - 09:24PM    #
  225. Perhaps you should stop being a closed minded racist bigot and stop speaking on things you have no clue about!
    You said in an earlier post that you associate with people in WW. Do they too have lower standards than yourself? If so why do you associate with them?
    STOP being part of the problem and starting being part of the solution and then maybe this world will be a little more equal! YOU are no better than anyone else! You put your pants on the same way everyone else does!
    It’s all too easy for someone to judge something they aren’t knowledgable of! You asked for an opinion and I gave it, it didn’t match your’s so now you are above me?? Seriously! Get over yourself!

       —A Law Abiding West Willow Resident    May. 29 '09 - 10:45PM    #
  226. Matt, may I suggest a replacement for the recently closed thread Several here have not yet received a response to our requests for a new thread regarding the trial, conviction, and soon to be sentencing of the tasered father, Lloyd Brumbaugh. (Requested here on May. 16 ’09, here on May. 17 ’09, and here on May. 19 ’09.)

    Charles raised some issues regarding this other case that I’d like to respond to, but I would prefer not to take this thread too far off-topic from matters having to do with the West Willow incident, one reason being out of respect for the person who died there that night.

    A suggestion for a title for the new thread, ( Judge Archie Brown’s calendar )

    Tasered father to be sentenced on June 24th

       —Michael Schils    May. 29 '09 - 11:04PM    #
  227. Nice try wwr but pulling the race card is not going to change my mind or make me uncomfortable about speaking out.

    How and why I associate with anyone is none of your business. I only made that known so others would know that I am familiar with the west willow area. I am not a doper or a law breaker either. When the news reports two separate shooting incidents in west willow within weeks or less of each other then by most standards that would be considered high crime. Raise your standards!!
       —ziggy selbin    May. 30 '09 - 05:48PM    #
  228. This is a “fourth vote” for a new thread on the Lloyd Brumbaugh tasered father case.

       —Junior    May. 30 '09 - 09:21PM    #
  229. Bruce Lee was arrested for attempted murder on Wednesday. He is alleged to have fired two shots at another man who was sitting in a parked car in West Willow. From an article from the next day,

    At the arraignment, Judge Charles Pope charged Bruce Lee, 33, with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, felony firearms and felon in possession of a firearm.


    He was remanded to the Washtenaw County Jail after his arraignment.

    His pre-trial is scheduled for June 3.

    The man who was allegedly shot at, and who was allegedly arguing with Mr. Lee before that, is also apparently the man who reported the incident. So he would definitely have an interest in seeing Mr. Lee being put away. I’m sure the man also knew Lee’s history and knew that the WCS would lend a very receptive ear to any allegations he brought against Lee. In the previous article, Bruce Lee’s brother says “he spoke to Bruce Lee earlier in the day and believes another man falsely accused him”.

    Time will tell (maybe) who is telling the truth here. Considering Bruce Lee’s pending civil suit and his previous experience with the WCS, I’m not sure how he can get a fair trial in Washtenaw. It also remains to be seen if these charges are examples of what Charles spoke of, and are intended to protect the Washtenaw government both politically and financially. A deal may be being worked out right now, “You drop the pending civil suit, and we’ll drop these six felonies…”

    (Thanks for the vote, Junior, and I welcome anyone else who wants the new Brumbaugh thread to go ahead and speak up. If the AU administrators here are offended by this bit of “direct” democracy I have initiated, then I apologize.)

       —Michael Schils    May. 30 '09 - 09:54PM    #
  230. Re Post #229: You’re welcome (as to the post for support for a Brumbaugh thread).

    Wow!!!(as to news for the arrest of Bruce Lee for attempted murder); I am sure there is going to be a lot of discusson about that case.

       —Junior    May. 30 '09 - 11:32PM    #
  231. It will be interesting what evidence the prosecution has against Bruce Lee to support a charge of attempted murder. We will have to wait until the preliminary examination in District Court.

    WCSD should turn the case over to the Michigan State Police for investigation to avoid a possible appearance of conflict of interest.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 1 '09 - 06:53AM    #
  232. Michael (in re. 226), please send article suggestions to too. That way all of the editors get the message, and it won’t get lost in the comment stream as easily.

       —Matt Hampel for Arbor Update    Jun. 1 '09 - 10:06AM    #
  233. Matt, should I conclude that you do not support starting a new thread about the tasered father, else you would have already started it, as you started this one?

    There seems to be a very “restrictive” atmosphere around here, lately. You closed both Co-op election threads and now I see that the sheriff’s race thread has been closed, too. This is unfortunate, because I had an opinion on the new sheriff’s “transparency” but I guess I’ll just keep it to myself.

    Somewhere, on one of these threads, I remember seeing a comment yesterday about the reporter Diane Bukowski. I believe it was by Mr. Koroi, but when I went to look for it again, it had apparently been deleted.

    I respect the position expressed by one of the “core contributors” (and I paraphrase) that if you don’t like how things are being run here, then you should start your own blog. However, I believe it would alleviate much of the confusion if the comments policy were amended to include the specific subjects and viewpoints that those who “edit” this site wish to exclude.

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 2 '09 - 08:59PM    #
  234. You’re confusing two different things: for comments, yes, we do aim to be viewpoint-neutral.

    For top-level article postings: top-level posts are always going to reflect the interests and viewpoints of contributors.

       —Bruce Fields    Jun. 2 '09 - 09:25PM    #
  235. Who is empowered to close threads of discussion?

       —The Colonel    Jun. 2 '09 - 09:41PM    #
  236. Thanks, Bruce. I’ll try to make this my only off-topic reply for a while.

    Michael, I’d like to see a discussion on the topic. I won’t create the topic because I don’t currently have the energy it will take to keep the discussion civil and relevant.

    The process of creating a blog or forum has become relatively simple. Check out, for example. If you’re interested in creating a community to discuss these issues, I’d certainly read and comment. Hopefully the new will create a space for coherent conversations, too.

    I’m also looking into ways to link out to interesting discussions taking place elsewhere using the space where our events calendar once lived.

    [edit] Colonel: Site policies and contributors are listed at

       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 2 '09 - 09:41PM   
  237. Thank you, Matt,

    Does that mean that Julie Weatherbee, Nancy Shore, Bruce Fields, Josh Steichmann, Dale Winling, Brandon Zwagerman, Matthew Wright Hollerbach, and Matt Hampel all currently have the power to intercede and shut down any discussion thread, and also to open it up?

    How about the emeritus editors, such as Ari Paul and Rob Goodspeed? Do they have any such power to open and close threads of discussion?

       —The Colonel    Jun. 2 '09 - 10:00PM    #
  238. Current editors have the ability to open and close threads.

       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 2 '09 - 10:21PM    #
  239. Who has the ability to block and unblock specific people from commenting?

       —The Colonel    Jun. 2 '09 - 10:41PM    #
  240. Colonel: I tried to reply by email, but the address you submitted does not exist. Our site policy asks that you submit a valid address.

    This thread is not for policy q-and-a, so please email for more information.

       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 2 '09 - 11:08PM    #
  241. I regret that this little meta-discussion I have started is a distraction from the more important subject of this thread, so I will be brief.

    Matt, both of the Co-op election threads you closed were started by someone else (Patti Smith). Did you get her permission to close them? I see the potential for the politics of the more “aggressive” editors to dominate at Arbor Update, as they can just pull the plug on the discussions started by others.

    That’s all I have to say on this matter out of fear that I will talk this thread into being closed, too. (This meta-discussion deserves its own thread…oh never mind.)

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 2 '09 - 11:17PM    #
  242. Well my ‘refresh’ didn’t catch Matt’s last comment, else I would have refrained.

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 2 '09 - 11:21PM    #
  243. To get back on topic, the website shows that a lawsuit was filed yesterday by Bruce Lee against Daniel Minzey. One year ago today, the other lawsuit was filed by Bruce Lee against Washtenaw County, including Minzey and several other officers.

    I’m just passing on this info, as I don’t know what to make of the lawsuit filed yesterday and its close proximity to Bruce Lee being charged with attempted murder, only a few days prior.

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 3 '09 - 03:11AM    #
  244. That lawsuit filing does not surprise me since a three-year statute of limitations applies to personal injury and civil rights cases and yesterday was the three-year anniversary of the West Willow police brutality incident.

    Bruce Lee would have to file by yesterday or any unfiled claim arising out of the June 1, 2006 incident would thereafter have become time-barred.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 3 '09 - 03:22AM    #
  245. I also should have mentioned that a two-year statute of limitations governs civil assault and battery claims so that is what would explain a June 1, 2008 filing date against the county and deputies to the extent any civil assault and battery counts were pled in that federal court lawsuit.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 3 '09 - 03:28AM    #
  246. Bruce Lee’s District Court preliminaty hearing was initially scheduled for today. I am assuming it was adjourned by the judge, which is routine.

    It should be noted that none of the bullets allegedly fired by Lee ever struck the intended victim or anyone else.

    It is surprising that WCSD is and remains the investigating agency in this case given the obvious conflict of interest due to the settlement payouts and pending lawsuits by the Lee family.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 4 '09 - 01:51AM    #
  247. It is interesting that Bruce Lee’s arrest comes convenirntly at the time that the three suspended deputies are prepaing for their disciplinary hearings when a key witness would be Mr. Lee. Makes you wonder……….

       —Kerry D.    Jun. 5 '09 - 06:05AM    #
  248. It might make you wonder but you should know most don’t subscribe to the paranoid theories here………maybe just maybe something actually happened and there is enough evidence to charge him

       —ziggy selbin    Jun. 5 '09 - 06:27AM    #
  249. Ziggy,

    In which case, the WSD should not be investigating and should defer to some other police agency. It’s easy to raise doubt Ziggy; maybe your just a figment of your imagination for all we know! Maybe the sun won’t come up tomorrow (just because it has for the last 4 billion years doesn’t mean it will tomorrow.) If the pope shits in the woods, does anybody care? And finally, yes, maybe Bruce Lee was involved in an incident but there is also a very good chance the WSD is up to something really foul, too. We will see how much reform the new sheriff is all about! And Yes, we know, interfering with a police officer in the process of swinging a night stick is a nice way to end up with a Phd (pumpkin-head- deluxe). But our point is to ask why things need to be this way! You seem to see your task as wanting to intentionally look the other way regardless of the facts.
       —ChuckL    Jun. 5 '09 - 07:24AM    #
  250. I highly doubt the wcsd is up to anything. However I would not be opposed to another agency (state police) leading the investigation. But then why shouldn’t the sheriff’s dept do it? Hell by your standards the detroit police could never investigate anything for all the settled and pending lawsuits in that city

       —ziggy selbin    Jun. 6 '09 - 07:54AM    #
    since this thread seems about played out, as a new…but just passing through…poster i thought id add an amusing factoid re the choice of a screen name of a frequent contributor…“the colonel”, an ever-predictable scamp who can turn any topic, from cops to coops, into an antisemitic rant ( as s/he tried to do far above in this thread , which even pissed off some of her usual supporters).

    just as the screen name “ziggy selbin” has been revealed to be that of a brutal hitman for the “purple gang” ( a cute choice for one who is sensibly willing to keep an open mind on the police) “the colonel”
    is most likely from a poem of the same title by carolyn forche. dealing in graphic terms with bodily dismemberment during the el salvador war, the bloody imagery obviously resonates with arborupdates colonel who is obsessed with libelously attributing similar stuff to israel…given the literary pretensions of a particular vocal member of the small jew- bashing / radical anti establishment cabal in our fair city the identity of” the colonel” is a virtual no-brainer ( just as “the colonel is herself)

       —theo    Jun. 9 '09 - 01:16AM    #
  252. theo, neither the Colonel nor Israel is the topic of this thread.

       —Matt Hampel    Jun. 9 '09 - 02:03AM    #
  253. ok matt ..fair enough in most circumstances; except that as marshall mccluhan once said “the medium is the message” ..and in the case of a few regulars on this site where they are personally “ coming from” has everything to do with how seriously their message should be taken on any topic whatsoever..obviously youre free to delete this and the previous, but if you do please do the same with # 207 ( from der kernel re israel, and there are other such above, but that really stands out) .. and note #213 from one of her/his usual supporters disavowing that post in terms not altogether unlike mine above… any case im done on this matter.

       —theo    Jun. 9 '09 - 02:31AM    #
  254. Thanks Mark, for your knowledgeable reply ( #244 & #245 ) regarding the statute of limitations, from which I see that the timing of Bruce Lee’s recent lawsuit probably doesn’t have anything to do with the attempted murder charge.

    This anonymous begging to delete comments has reminded me to adopt the practice you started of including the number of the comment your responding to in your reply. This of course provides an easy means to tell when older comments disappear.

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 9 '09 - 06:27AM    #
  255. Commissioner Jeff Irwin, in your comment in the other thread you said you believe all of the county patrol vehicles have cameras but you said you would “have to circle back to be sure.”

    Please do try to verify this, and if you would be so kind as to point me in the general direction of the documentation, I would appreciate it.

    I agree with you that there are ethical reasons to have the cameras in the cars. But until the new sheriff fixes the “problem in the culture” of his department, which he said his predecessor failed to acknowledge, I have to think the County’s Risk Management would consider the cameras to be too costly of an investment.

    For a similar situation, after the 1991 Rodney King beating, a commission recommended that the Los Angeles Police Department mount cameras in its squad cars. It installed some but soon got rid of them. ( source )

    I watched Sheriff Clayton’s presentation to the board and I admit my attention waned a bit at times, but I didn’t see anything relating to the West Willow incident, or any action being taken to prevent a similar occurrence. So I will stick with my opinion that Clayton hasn’t yet done much of anything in that regard.

    Ms. Gunn, if you’re going to call my opinion “nonsense” then you need to provide some substance rather than empty platitudes to support your claim that Clayton is fixing what Minzey didn’t. The fact that you don’t even provide a name or link for this “Officer in charge of Community Relations” you mention tells me your pockets are empty and that you should probably continue to follow your better instinct and have your fellow board members do the talking for you.

    But again, Mr. Irwin, please check on the total number of cars that have cameras and get back to me here with the info. I think you agree that this is an important matter that we should know for sure. If in fact many of the cars lack cameras, then that is a matter that should be addressed ASAP. As the article states,

    “A city with a good police department can gain a lot from squad-car video cameras. A city with a bad one can gain even more.”

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 28 '09 - 07:12PM    #
  256. The public policy in equipping police squad cars with videocameras is well-grounded in experience and advances the cause of the innocent and cogent proof against the guilty.

    The City of Dearborn in the 1990s had a company install cameras in its squad cars. In 1997, those very cameras were instrumental in providing key proof against the city in a wrongful death suit in which an innocent young motorist was killed during a high-speed chase. Geoffrey Fieger obtained a $2.65 miilion-dollar settlement in that proceeding . The young lady who died was, ironically, one Ms. Gunn. The City of Dearborn eventually ordered the removal of these cameras, claiming technical difficulties and malfunctions. I do not know if cameras were ever re-installed.

    In another Metro Detroit jurisdiction, in a nationally-publicized incident a female motorist stopped for a traffic violation later claimed she was sexually touched by a township police officer. The police videocamera unequivocally showed the motorist to be lying. She was eventually convicted of filing a false police report. The exonerated officer credited the squad cars’s videocamera with exposing the fraudulent claim and possibly saving his job and the township a potential lawsuit.

    In the Bruce Lee case, without the onsite police videocamera, there would have never been an indictment, conviction, or administrative suspension of Deputy Eric Kelly; he would have likely never been known to have repeatedly kicked Bruce Lee in the head with a steel-toed shoe and would probably still be working on the department today.

    The “knife” of police videocameras cuts both ways, but always in the favor of justice to the extent that they are in range and operable.

    I would therefore strongly recommend their use to the fullest extent possible.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 29 '09 - 06:18AM    #
  257. The Ann Arbor News reports that an Ypsilanti Township man was just killed by WCSD.

    It shall be interesting to observe any parallels are found between this incident and the Lee case.

    It will also be interesting to see if it is just another event to reinforce suspicions that it is “business as usual” as far as the use of force by the WCSD or rather a proper and reasonable restrained use of force as to this most recent death at the hands of the WCSD.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 29 '09 - 09:07AM    #
  258. “ … another event to reinforce suspicions…” What does that mean? Are you suggesting that the sheriffs shot this guy to “reinforce suspicions that it is ‘business as usual’ as far as the use of force by the WCSD”?

    Anyway the article, and the comments that follow it, paint a picture of an armed person who may have had mental and alcohol abuse issues, who shot his mother and then set the house on fire before his encounter with the police. I don’t know any more than what I read, and I suspect neither do you Mark, but from what I read there is no reason to believe there are any parallels to the Lee incident.

       —abc    Jun. 29 '09 - 05:44PM    #
  259. From the article, here’s the entire description of the encounter,

    “The interaction resulted in an officer-involved shooting,”

    Not many factual details. The new sheriff’s campaign promise of transparency is not evident here. Maybe more info will be released after Clayton makes sure his guys have all their ducks in a row.

    Regarding any parallels with the Clifton Lee incident, I agree that killing a (presumably) armed suspect who allegedly shot and killed his mother and set her house on fire is hardly comparable to killing an unarmed (except for cell phone) person who is not suspected of any crime, and is just trying to get home.

       —Michael Schils    Jun. 29 '09 - 08:58PM    #
  260. The shooting occurred about ten minutes after midnight, Sunday morning. The person killed by the Sheriff’s Department has been described as 43-year-old Ira Bevins. The deputies have been placed on administrative leave and the Michigan State Police as well as the Sheriff’s Department have their own probes of the shooting.

    My prior comment is directed to whether the skeptical public may use this incident to attempt to show that Sheriff Clayton’s administration has not effectuated the change to transform the department to a professional group of law enforcement personnel.

    Absent clear and convincing evidence that Bevins was pointing a gun directly at the deputies, I believe that their will be room for those, including plaintiff’s attorneys, to posit arguments that the onsite deputies acted unreasonably in administering lethal force.

    There are a large number of these types of cases that have presented as wrongful death claims under federal civil rights laws and very often the judges hearing these cases have allowed the issue of reasonableness of the law enforcement personnel’s actions to go to the jury to decide.

       —Mark Koroi    Jun. 30 '09 - 02:27AM    #
  261. From what I read about the guy we are all better off with him being dead.

       —ziggyselbin    Jul. 1 '09 - 09:01PM    #
  262. Update on the Bruce Lee civil lawsuit against Washtenaw County: The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s summary of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting held on July 8, contains the following.

    Executive Session

    The board ended its meeting with a closed-door executive session related to pending litigation. At the July 1 briefing, corporation counsel Curtis Hedger told commissioners that the session would provide an update on the lawsuit brought against the county by Bruce Lee. Lee and his brother, Clifton Lee, were involved in a 2006 encounter with sheriff’s deputies in the West Willow neighborhood, which led to Clifton Lee’s death. Last year, the county settled a previous lawsuit – brought by Clifton Lee’s heirs – for $4 million.

    I’m not sure why the secrecy is appropriate and why this information is being kept from the citizens, who will ultimately be paying the bill. It is my understanding that Bruce Lee is currently sitting in the WashCo jail, facing charges that include attempted murder – which of course gives the County plenty of leverage to force an out-of-court settlement with his civil suit.

    If anyone has any additional information, please post it here.

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 15 '09 - 12:36AM    #
  263. Re Post #262:

    “I’m not sure why the secrecy is appropriate and why this information is being kept from citizens….”

    The County Board of Commissioners, as other public bodies, typically convene in closed session when meeting with their legal counsel regarding matters of pending litigation so as to preserve attorney-client privilege. Otherwise, the opposing side only need to appear at the hearing and the the Board has “tipped its hand” regarding case strategy, evaluations of liabilty and damages, and counsel recommendations.

    The Open Meetings Act contains an enumerated exception to a public meeting in these types of circumstances.

    My concern thus far is the paid suspension that the suspended deputies remain on pending the adminisrative hearing they face.

    The December 4, 2008 Ann Arbor News reported that Deputy Eberle had his back pay reinstated following his acquittal by a federal court jury that had been withheld immediately following his indictment the preceding March that year. Prior to that he had been receiving his pay since he was placed on suspension. The county is, per the Ann Arbor News article, required under their labor agreement to complete their administrative invesigation within 30 days following the completion of collateral criminal proceedins which were finalized last December.

    It has now been 37 1/2 months since the suspension was imposed upon the deputies and the taxpayers are expected to continuosly fund the salaries of suspended deputies that essentially have been on an extended paid vacation with no end in sight. I have seen other departments place such officers on desk duty or performing some tasks where the cannot be a danger to the public.

    These Sheriff’s Department trial board hearings need to be held ASAP. Justice delayed is justice denied.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 17 '09 - 08:03AM    #
  264. Well, well, the legal battles continue to rage on various fronts and it appears that government forces are gaining an upper hand.

    On the Lee family side, Clifton’s estate collected 4 million dollars from apparently the county’s insurance carrier (I do not know if any deductible was paid by the county or if policy limits were surpassed). There are unconfirmed reports that Clifton Lee’s heirs are fighting over the estate monies.

    Bruce Lee still has his vaunted civil rights attorneys pressing their claims of money damages in federal court against county officials and deputies. Bruce Lee still aspires to reach his pot of insurance gold, as does his lawyers.

    However, Sheriff Department deputies must have been high-fiving each other and whooping and hollering upon receiving news that Prosecutor Brian Mackie’s office had obtained an attempted murder warrant against Bruce Lee, the West Willow resident whose obnoxious behavior toward deputies was roundly criticized the evening Clifton Lee met his unfortunate demise.

    Even better, the Ypsilanti District Court Judge ordered Bruce Lee held in the custody of the same Sheriff’s Department he is suing and whose members the Lee brothers have created so much consternation for. That means that friends and colleagues of Deputies Eberle, Hoy, and Hendricks are actually in charge of supervising and caring for the welfare of the incarcerated Bruce Lee.

    One positive aspect of the Bruce Lee jailing for the county as well as the deputies is that it may impede those trying to hold the deputies legally accountable in the federal court action as well as the disciplinary proceedings against the deputies at the county level by rendering Bruce Lee an unavailable witness.

    If the deputies can beat these disciplinary charges, they shall be reinstated. They could also expect a financial windfall from their reverse discrimination claims pending in the federal court. As for Bruce Lee, his future may be many years as a prisoner of the Michigan Department of Corrections if he should be convicted on the attempted murder charge.

    In sum, I am optimistic that this will not be
    another situation like Malice Green or Rodney King where good law enforcement personnel have been imprisoned or have had their careers ruined over their involvement in a tough situation; it will, in short, end happily for the deputies who have been put through the wringer for the last several years.

    As stated earlier, these deputies deserve our support.

    I agree with ziggy selbin and other ziggy-minded citizens: that this whole mess could have been avoided if the Lees had simply moved on along when directed do so.

       —Junior    Jul. 19 '09 - 12:50AM    #
  265. Yes, the whole mess could have also been avoided if the Lee brothers had never gotten out of bed that morning, but that still doesn’t justify the officers’ actions.

    Junior, that’s interesting that you feel that “one positive aspect” of throwing Bruce Lee in jail, is that he won’t be available as a witness, which will impede holding the officers legally accountable for the West Willow incident. So you don’t want the officers to be held responsible for their actions? I’m surprised you would admit such.

    I’m also surprised you would admit to being pleased by the fact that friends of the accused officers will have access to Bruce Lee while he is in the jail of the same sheriff’s department he is suing. Do you have any “enhanced interrogation techniques” in mind, Junior? Eberle was apparently fond of using the “undocumented” procedure of spraying pepper spray into and cupping his hand over the mouth to increase its effectiveness. Would you like to see the efficacy of similar “innovative” procedures explored on Bruce? Maybe he could be “persuaded” to drop his civil suit.

    Your distasteful characterization of Bruce Lee’s motive in aspiring to reach his “pot of gold” through the civil claim could be just as equally applied to the suspended officers and their “vaunted” attorney through their “reverse” discrimination claim.

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 19 '09 - 06:59PM    #
  266. From Tuesday, the soon-to-be-deceased newspaper reports reports that Bruce Lee will face trial regarding the shooting incident and that he “is being held at the Livingston County Jail as a security precaution”. Bruce Lee’s attorney must have requested the transfer to Livingston, as it wouldn’t seem to have occurred otherwise. But this makes me wonder why the attorney didn’t also request that the case be transferred to another court, out of Washtenaw County. Maybe the request was made but the court denied it. The newspaper article didn’t indicate which judge the case was assigned to, which is a strange omission, as such info is relevant and readily available.

    It appears the case rests on the word of the man who claims BL shot at him. From what I have pieced together, this man showed up in his vehicle at BL’s house in the wee hours of the morning with his girlfriend, who was also BL’s former girlfriend. The man alleges BL took a shot at him, which he ducked, that struck the headrest of the seat in his vehicle. When he sped away, he says BL took another shot at him. The man called the sheriff’s department as he reached the expressway.

    As Junior alluded to, the sheriff’s department and prosecuting attorney must have been thrilled to receive this call alleging such a serious crime against someone who had a pending lawsuit against Washtenaw County. I’m sure the accuser must have known of the sheriff department’s eagerness to receive his call. The article states the accuser “smiled broadly” when he identified BL to the court. This is an interesting display of pleasure considering he could be putting a man he says is “one of his best friends” behind bars for a long time.

    I would assume there will be some corroborating evidence presented at trial, such as gunshots heard from the neighbors and forensic evidence from the gun/vehicle. But maybe in Washtenaw, such proof won’t be necessary.

    The newspaper won’t be around for the results of the trial, and no other news source has shown an interest in this story, so this will most likely be the last we hear of it. Unless one of us periodically tiptoes down to the courthouse to look at the papers filed, and reports back. I would go myself, but I’ve already received two trespass notices from the WCSD, so I would prefer someone else does it.

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 19 '09 - 10:17PM    #
  267. Regarding the Ira Bevins fatal shootings referenced above, it is becoming clearer who should be responsible for these tragic series of events.

    The June 30,2009 edition of the Ann Arbor News that at the time of the shooting, Bevins who had a history of alcohol abuse, was out on bond and awaiting trial in a first-degree criminal sexual conduct case that itself was allegedly alcohol-related. That trial was slated for July 20th of this year. The judicial officer hearing the case was Engler-appointee Chief Judge David Swartz, a former member of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office. With those solid conservative credentials, you may think that Swartz would have ensured the public safety over the interests of an alleged violent felon, but it did not happen.

    While making the highly questionable decision to allow Bevins out on bond, Swartz did impose alcohol-testing as a bond condition – a smart move.

    That smart move was thwarted when Judge Swartz recently granted a defense motion to discontinue alcohol-testing as a bond condition; the defense attorney had argued that Bevins had passed all previous testing.

    Ira Bevins had reportedly been drinking heavily at the time he apparently killed his mother.

    It is certainly possible that Ira Bevins and his mother would still be alive today had Judge Swartz not made the imprudent decision of discontinuing alcohol-testing, or even releasing an alleged violent felon on bond in the first place.

    Washtenaw County Circuit Court Chief Judge David Swartz should be voted out of office.

    As to Post No. 266, trespass notices and other harassment against citizens conducting investigations at the circuit court are nothing new. Father’s rights activist Dan Debolt of Ypsilanti was banned from the courthouse by order of Judge Timothy Connors after uncovering embarrassing information about the Friend of Court; see the Ann Arbor Buzz website at for the details on Mr.Debolt’s banishment.

       —Kerry D.    Jul. 20 '09 - 06:12AM    #
  268. Re Post#266: I see nothing in the Ann Arbor News article that indicates Corey Brown’s girlfriend was with him when he was allegedly shot at, nor does it appear that the girlfriend was called as a witness at the preliminary hearing.

    I also did not see any forensic testimony or evidence referenced in the Ann Arbor News article, leading one to wonder what physical evidence ties Bruce Lee to the incident.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 20 '09 - 10:51AM    #
  269. Regarding the girlfriend, the latest article states,

    Brown, 31, said he was parked in a mini-van outside Lee’s home with the engine running and windows down when he saw Lee approach.
    “I just looked at him because he was my friend,” Brown said. “Then he pointed the gun at me and said ‘I’ll kill you … .” He said Lee also threatened to kill his girlfriend, with whom Lee also had a romantic relationship.

    I think I misinterpreted the part about Lee allegedly threatening to kill Brown’s girlfriend to imply that the girlfriend was with Brown in the vehicle when the alleged shooting occurred. But you’re right, Mark, the article doesn’t specifically indicate that the girlfriend was at the scene. The previous article quotes the detective as saying, “The two men were apparently arguing over a woman”, but it doesn’t explicitly state that the girlfriend was at the scene, either. So I stand corrected.

    The photograph of Bruce Lee in the earlier article shows that the WCSO must only know how to take pictures of white people. With the dark background and poor lighting, all that is visible is the light reflecting off the right side of BL’s face. The ominous appearance stokes the fears and prejudices of the “He’s-not-one-of-us“crowd, which is probably the intended result. (I know who took the photo because a copy is included in a “sheriffs summary” article that has beneath it the caption, “Photo by Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office”)

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 20 '09 - 05:43PM    #
  270. Surprise surprise, Bruce Lee is going to trial for attempted murder.What is really sad is how some of you cling to the bullshit. You won’t associate with the likes of Bruce Lee. You won’t move to Gratiot/Conner( where you can really live the life)let alone West Willow. Yet you spout the same lame shit. Mr. Lee will get his day in court. Wouldn’t it be something if he rejected the lifestyle he seems to have chosen an did a complet turnabout? If any of you pray, pray for that.

       —ziggy selbin    Jul. 20 '09 - 09:01PM    #
  271. Re Post#266:

    “…..[b]ut this makes me wonder why the attorney didn’t also request that the case be transferred to another court, out of Washtenaw County.”

    No surprise there. Washtenaw County juries are probably more pro-criminal defendant than most in Michigan, with the possible exceptions of Wayne or Ingham counties.

    In the Algiers Motel incident cases, the defense attorneys for the white police officers on trial were granted a change of venue to a circuit court in predominantly white Mason, Michigan (the victims were black youths). The officers were acquitted.

    I am sure the criminal defense counsel for Bruce Lee could foresee his motion for change of venue backfiring and him having to try a case in an conservative county. The same line of thought prevailed in the Kwame Kilpatrick case while it pended in Detroit’s 36th District Court.

    I am surprised the Ann Arbor News did not comment on whether or not there was corroborating witnesses or ballistics tests to support Corey Brown’s version of events.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 21 '09 - 04:25AM    #
  272. I was thinking of the judge, rather than the jury, as a reason for a change in venue. For the last several terms, the position of Chief Judge at the Washtenaw County Circuit Court has been held by a member of the Federalist Society, which has been known to have a very conservative agenda. (My post on this in another thread.) Even with a case that will be decided by a jury, the judge still has considerable influence on the outcome, as was seen at the trial of Sgt. Shawn Hoy. In that case, Judge Sean Cox, also a Federalist Society member, dropped the charge against Hoy that held him responsible for his subordinate’s conduct. (My earlier post on this.) The prosecuting attorney said that Judge Cox dropping the charge “was a significant blow to the case” and that “the case that went to the jury was not what was presented to the grand jury”.

    Judge Cox also showed his pro-law enforcement agenda when he strayed from the federal guidelines to sentence Deputy Eric Kelly to only one year of unsupervised probation after Kelly pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force on Bruce Lee.

    The conservative judges at Washtenaw could similarly influence the outcome of the Bruce Lee trial. But I see your point, Mark, that the fear of getting a more conservative jury may have prevented BL from requesting a change in venue. After all, it wouldn’t matter if the new judge were as fair as a judge could be, if the jury was stacked with ziggys and Juniors. No offence, guys.

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 22 '09 - 09:43PM    #
  273. Sheriff Jerry Clayton has been quoted in the July 23rd edition of the Ypsilanti Courier as indicating the internal investigation of the three suspended deputies is expected to be completed in 30 days; Clayton cited the heavy volume of documents to be reviewed as the source for the delay.

    The Ypsilanti Courier article, written by a freelance reporter, also does not cite any proof submitted at the District Court preliminary examination other than Corey Brown’s testimony. That article credits Brown with the assertion that wrongful death proceeds from the Clifton Lee, Jr. settlement financed the purchase of the long revolver that was allegedly used to shoot at Brown. Defense counsel Mark Kriger attacked the credibility of Brown.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 29 '09 - 07:41AM    #
  274. this message is for m schils, contact lee tooson as soon as possible he has some informatinn he wants to share with you

       —j lee    Aug. 12 '09 - 06:04AM    #
  275. Lee Tooson is an Ypsilanti activist that has been an opponent of allged police misconduct at the Ypsilanti Police Department.

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 12 '09 - 06:20AM    #
  276. I did not find Mr. Tooson’s name in the phone book and I don’t know how else to contact him. My name is in the phone book (to reach answering machine) and I can also be reached via email,
    MichaelRSchils + (“at” sign) +

    I see that Bruce Lee’s pretrial is sheduled for Monday, August 24, 2009, at 1:30 pm in front of Judge Melinda Morris.

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 13 '09 - 09:30PM    #
  277. Re Post#276: Bruce Lee was fortunate to draw Melinda Morris as her trial judge. She is even-handed in criminal cases and usually sentences with comparative leniency.

    To reach Lee Tooson you might want to contact Ypsilanti City Councilwoman Lois Richardson, with whom Mr. Tooson has been working closely with in addressing police misconduct issues in that city.

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 13 '09 - 10:19PM    #
  278. Re no. 273: The thirty days cited by Sheriff Clayton for completiion of the internal investigation has come and gone.

    It is unfair for the three deputies to have this matter hanging over their heads for well over three years while they are sidelined and cannot perform their duties as law enforcement officers.

    The Sheriff’s Department owes it to hese deputies as well as the public to get these matters reolved as quickly as possible.

       —Junior    Aug. 22 '09 - 11:30PM    #
  279. The Ann Arbor Chronicle reported today that the County Commission is considering a proposed settlement that will pay Bruce Lee and his mother a total of 1.375 million dollars with all but $125,000 coming from insurance sources.

       —Mark Koroi    Sep. 1 '09 - 02:06AM    #
  280. The Ann Arbor Chronicle and Ann both covered the proposed settlement story.

    In the comment section of the Ann article, staff Ryan J. Stanton has an interesting scoop regarding the suspended officers,

    I just got off the phone with Jim Fett. He says all three officers’ lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Avern Cohn in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Fett sounds pretty sure the county is going to fire all three of his clients any day now. That includes Hendricks, who has been on paid suspension since June 2006, and Hoy and Eberle, whose unpaid leaves were converted to paid leaves when they were acquitted of charges. Fett predicts the officers are going to be fired and then go through a union arbitration process to try to get their jobs back before going to trial, which could take a while. Even if they are reinstated with back pay, Fett says that’s not going to be sufficient; the officers are seeking damages for being “drug through the mud” for three years.

    I thought binding arbitration usually precludes going to court, but that apparently isn’t the case here.

       —Michael Schils    Sep. 2 '09 - 12:53AM    #
  281. I believe what Jim Fett is referring to is the administrative process in which the law enforcement agency makes its internal findings, usually through a board of inquiry and decides what, if any, disciplinary action may be taken against an officer. Once those findings are handed down an aggrieved deputy can usually then take advantage of rights accorded them in a collective bargaining agreement to demand appointment of a neutral arbitrator to seek reinstatement to their position and receive back pay awards etc.

    The enforcement of remedies guaranteed by civil rights legislation, however has usually been considered to ordinarily be not subject to being bargained away in the labor contract negotiation process to adjudication via arbitration and are typically decided in a court of law. The benefit to aggrieved workers is that the remedies are typically much broader than arbitration and the parties may demand a trial by jury. Fett’s cases with the deputies could potentially settle in the millions of dollars. Due to the highly political nature of these cases one would expect the county’s insurance carrier to likely attempt resolution of these cases in mediation or a similar forum to prevent possible inordinate damage liabilty exposure.

       —Mark Koroi    Sep. 2 '09 - 02:24AM    #
  282. I’ve heard a charge of “reverse discrimination” likened to a fat kid telling the anorexic one that he discriminated against him by taking the last cookie.

    But these white officers filed their case against former sheriff Dan Minzey, who is also white.

    So what would that be like, a fat kid accusing another fat kid of discriminating against him for being…ummm…FAT?

    Maybe the officers were not suspended because they were white. Maybe they were suspended because their conduct was captured on video (only some of which has been released), which showed them fatally asphyxiating one man and beating up his brother, both for no justifiable reason.

    What does “intentional interference with familial relations” mean? (The charge brought by Clifton Lee’s mother against the WCSD.)

       —Michael Schils    Sep. 2 '09 - 04:56AM    #
  283. Article posted about two hours ago at Ann –

    Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners agrees to $1.375 million lawsuit settlement with Lee family

       —Michael Schils    Sep. 3 '09 - 06:42PM    #
  284. The Board of Commissioners made a wise decision to limit the county’s potential liability and have the bulk of the settlement monies paid by its insurer.

    I can remember the City of Dearborn a few years ago was reluctant to settle with Geoffrey Fieger in a wrongful death action resulting through alleged police misconduct (although there was a conviction of an officer for negligent homicide) and instead “rolled the dice” before a jury and wound up with a 20 million-dollar verdict it later scrambled to settle while on appeal (it eventually settled for six million while the city’s appeal was pending).

    One of the commenters to the Ann article referenced above cited the allegation that Deputy Kelly, who was plea-convicted and is serving a term of probation currently arising from the federal civil rights indictment brought against him, still has an active e-mail address and receives messages at the Sheriff’s Department. I had been wondering the same thing myself as to why Kelly was not included among those investigated internally for disciplinary action as Hoy, Hendricks, and Eberle. I was aware from the Jennifer Reynolds insurance fraud case that even her felony conviction had not automatically discharged her from the Sheriff’s Department, but had only resulted in a resumption of the internal investigation that had begun earlier.

    I am however aware that even deputies that may be discharged for misconduct may have accrued vested pension and insurance coverage rights that cannot be taken from them and its possible the Deputy Kelly’s lawyers may be negotiating some severance package with the county at this juncture.

    I would appreciate anyone having any further information on Deputy Kelly’s current status to share that knowledge with us.

    I am however disappointed that it has now been over 39 months since the West Willow incident and there has been no conclusion to the administrative investigation of the three suspended deputies, who continue to cheerfully and safely draw their full salaries while their colleagues at the department have to work for their earnings. The 30-day period Jerry Clayton expected this investigation to be completed (see Post#273) expired 12 days ago.

    I, on a different note found it ironic that Bruce Lee now faces a maximum sentence upon conviction of life in prison under the Michigan Penal Code for allegedly shooting a headrest of a car when no one has spent a day in jail in connection with either his brother’s death or the battery he received. It will be interesting to find out if Brian Mackie will produce any evidence tying Bruce Lee to the shooting other than the word of Lee’s alleged romantic rival in a love triangle.

    I found a quote that James Lee made to a reporter to be noteworthy. He stated that in the weeks prior to his brother’s death there had been an atmosphere of intimidation imposed by deputies in their patrols of West Willow. It would certainly help if the county established an ombudsman that could field citizen complaints about law enforcement misconduct or, perhaps, a citizen’s advisory committee that reported directly to the County Commission that could voice residents’ concerns directly to an authoritative body. Given that the County Commission is the funding body to the Sheriff’s Department, it has a “hammer” over that entity to ensure abusive situations such as that described by James Lee do not recur.

    It would be a positive step that could prevent another family from enduring the trauma of losing a loved one due to law enforcement misconduct.

    Lastly, I have never heard the term “intentional interference with familial relations” however under Michigan law, in certain cases, a parent may recover monetary damages against a wrongdoer for emotional distress in witnessing a child being injured or killed or coming onto their child shortly after the incident.

       —Mark Koroi    Sep. 5 '09 - 04:28AM    #
  285. What I still do not understand is why the WCSD was the investigating agency in the Corey Brown attempted murder case when the chief suspect was Bruce Lee, whose family had three major legal claims pending against the Sheriff’s Department?

    I believe the OCSD should have turned the case over to the State Police or Ypsi P.D. due to the conflict of interest. They did so(MSP) in the Clifton Lee, Jr. death. It is unclear at this point whether the prosecution has any convincing evidence to link Bruce Lee to any criminal conduct in the Corey Brown case.

    To me it is absolutely disturbing that the county prosecutor, county medical examiner, and other officials have gone out of their way to delay and/or avoid taking appropriate action against the deputies involved in the Lee death. The investigative work and prosecutorial efforts of Detective Twana Powell of the MSP, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office should have been commended, however Detective Powell now is a defendant in a reverse discrimination civil rights lawsuit filed by the suspended deputies. I find it absolutely appalling that these suspended deputies expect to be rewarded with lawsuit settlement offers from the county after their conduct on June 1, 2006. The county should file some type of action against the deputies to recoup the millions in settlement monies paid out due to their conduct.

    My sympathies go out to the Lee family who, due to the questionable attempted murder case against Bruce Lee, are still suffering from the actions of the WCSD and Brian Mackie.

       —Kerry D.    Sep. 7 '09 - 05:40AM    #
  286. For gods sake if every police dept had to acquiesce there criminal investigations to other depts because of pending litigation there would be chaos…and you would probably be getting victimized by criminals in which case you might change your callow take on things

       —ziggyselbin    Sep. 8 '09 - 09:34PM    #
  287. Art Aisner reported in the Ypsilanti Courier last week that a pretrial hearng is scheduled for February of next year in the Bruce Lee attempted murder case.

    The article also reports that Lt. Brian Miller of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department is continuing a “special internal investigation” of Deputies Hoy, Eberle and Hendricks, who continue to draw their pay while under suspension since June of 2006.

    At the rate the “special internal investigation” is proceding the deputies may be eligible for retirement while that investigation continues.

       —Kerry D.    Sep. 18 '09 - 05:40AM    #
  288. ANN reports that deputies Joseph Eberle and Eric Kelly were both fired, recently, in regards to their conduct in this West Willow incident.

    I would suggest that this bit of news is worthy of its own thread but perhaps that would be considered redundant.

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 3 '09 - 09:23PM    #
  289. The firing of Deputy Kelly based on his felony conviction in federal court should have been done long ago as his guilty plea renders a discharge virtually automatic. I do not know why it took the WCSD so long to discharge him. He paid a heavy price for his involvement in the Lee case after having a prior career of achievement and faithful service as a deputy. I cannot condone his admitted assault upon Bruce Lee, but as Judge Cox noted during Deputy Kelly’s sentencing, Lee’s obstreperous behavior pushed Kelly over the edge. I am sure he will find other employment and wish him well.

    Deputy Eberle’s termination floors me. He was acquitted by a jury for a charge in which the maximum penalty was death. There has never been any convincing evidence of what caused the asphyxiation of Clifton Lee,Jr. The stupidity of having 370-lb Deputy Thomas Guynes leap on to a pile of numerous other deputies already on top of Lee had to have some bearing on what occurred.

    I am shocked it has taken 40 months for the WCSD to make a decision to fire these two deputies. That time frame alone suggests to me the WCSD did not do a reasonably competent job in investigating and evaluating these two deputy’s cases. I recall seeing somewhere that the WSCD is under a legal duty to conclude such disciplinary poceedings within 30 days of the disposition of collateral criminal proceedings involving the suspended deputies. In this manner I believe that the rights of Kelly and Eberle may have been abridged.

    I am also at a loss to understand why Deputies Hoy and Hendricks remain under suspension some forty months after the incident still with no disposition. It is unfair to them as they need to get on with their lives.

    The death of Mr. Lee was unfortunate and it appears he may have not been suspected of any criminal conduct, but the long delays in the disciplinary proceedings against these deputies are absolutely uncalled for and illustrate a badly run department that victimizes its own deputies.

       —Junior    Oct. 3 '09 - 10:22PM    #
  290. Junior, I asked you earlier to clarify what exactly you feel pushed Deputy Eric Kelly to his “breaking point”, but you never explained.

    I also question your statement that 370-lb Deputy Thomas Guynes was one of the officers who piled on top of Clifton Lee, Jr., and was at least partly responsible for causing his death. Are you sure about this? My understanding is that Guynes was only present at the Bruce Lee incident ( Guynes is quoted here as saying BL was not a threat when he was attacked by the officers.) As it is also my understanding that the two incidents involving the Lee brothers occurred simultaneously, it would not be possible for an officer to be present at both.

    Please provide your source for suggesting that Guynes was involved with asphyxiation death of Clifton Lee, Jr..

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 4 '09 - 09:19PM    #
  291. And I must comment on your mention of Judge Sean Cox reprimanding Bruce Lee at Deputy Kelly’s sentencing. ( My earlier comment on this.) I found this remarkable and clear proof of the judge’s ultraconservative persuasion. Here for days, and through both trials, he had sat there with his robe on and viewed and listened to recordings of this gang of officers beating and killing one man and seriously injuring his brother and the most important thing this judge could think of to say is how much he disliked how one of the victims behaved AFTER HE WAS HANDCUFFED!

    That’s just incredible to me and clearly shows how fortunate these accused cops were in getting this judge. Another glowing indication of which side this judge was on, was when just before he announced the acquittal of Deputy Eberle, he warned the audience that anyone who made a sound would be taken into custody. Contrast this with the large number of U.S. Marshals and courthouse security officers who shook Eberle’s hand and slapped him on the back right after the verdict, and you have the judge allowing one side to openly celebrate while forbidding the other from uttering a sound in their defeat.

    And how appropriate is it for the courthouse personnel to be openly congratulating Deputy Eberle in front of the victim’s family? I don’t know about you, Junior, but I’m deeply offended by that, and I wasn’t even there. You would have thought Judge Cox would have forbid this kind of open celebration in front of the family of the deceased, but apparently he did not.

    Let’s imagine the roles were reversed here. Suppose it was a West Willow resident who was on trial for killing a cop. Junior, do you think this same judge, before announcing the acquittal, would warn the slain officer’s family that they better not make a sound while at the same time allowing the accused killer to openly celebrate? I hardly think so.

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 5 '09 - 08:27PM    #
  292. I find it absolutely disgusting, Michael. Judicial officers and employees are supposed to maintain an unquestioned appearance of neutrality.

    It shows me that the U.S. Attorney never had a chance to convict Hoy or Eberle in federal court as the deck was stacked in favor of the charged deputies. Judge Cox only cared about extending a political favor to law enforcement since his brother will be running for governor next year and this case solidifies the Cox family’s committment to the law enforcement community.

    What we have seen and what has been so thoroughly documented on this thread is the fact that various characters at the county and federal levels have bent over backwards to ensure that these misfit deputies would be insulated from true justice in the Lee cases. These include Prosecutor Brian Mackie, Medical Examiner Bader Cassin, Dan Minzey, various high-level officials in the Sheriff’s Department, and especially Judge Sean Cox. They do not deserve to be in the positions they are in as ther have delayed or outright obstructed a fair and unbiased investigation and prosecution into to the appalling abuses of these members of the Lee family. I would expect the treatment accorded to the Lees and the West Willow commmunity in general to be consistent with how African-American citizens were treated in Mississippi during the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan.

    The justice system in Washtenaw County is a joke starting with the circuit judges and goes right down to the Sheriff’s Department. It belies the reputation of Ann Arbor as a progressive community. The recent Ann Arbor Chronicle series of a local news media employee who found himself at the whim of incompetent judicial and law enforcement officers resulting in a five-month nightmare as an inmate in the mental ward of the county jail was a needed exposure of the disgusting character of the treatment accorded arrestees in this county. The sad part is most of these “criminals” are in for such offenses as unpaid child suppport, minor driving offenses, insufficient funds checks and the like.

    I find the delay in disciplinary proceedings against these deputies to be deliberate and calculated to protect them. Watch any discharged deputy to reinstated or get a big civil rights settlement for his inconvenience.

    Clifton Lee,Jr. is dead and his brother faces a possible term of life in prison. The perpetrators are still playing the legal system for what its worth and will likely get a cash payoff from county liability insurance policies when all is said and done.

    While Ann Arbor’s liberals whine and cry over their historic districts and e-mail infractions, the African-American commmunity in Ypsilanti are in fear of life and limb from the Sheriff’s Department through vicious assaults and trumped-up criminal cases. I can’t wait to see the attempted murder trial of Bruce Lee unfold in the circuit court. I believe the whole case was likely a frame-up. I suspect the prosecutor and judge will try to delay that case as long as possible to keep Lee in jail as long as possible. Right now Lee does not even have a pretrial hearing until February of next year and will likely sit in jail over a year.

    Ann Arbor’s liberal community should be organizing and protesting the unfounded prosecution of Bruce Lee.

    The entire Lee saga is business as usual in Washtenaw County political circles.

       —Jerry Gilbert    Oct. 6 '09 - 05:09AM    #
  293. Re Post No. 290:

    The April 14, 2009 edition of the Ann Arbor News has an article authored by Art Aisner chronicling the discrimination suit filed by attorney James Fett that alleges that the Sheriff’s Department suspensions of white deputies were motivated by the Sheriff’s attempt to curry favor with black voters and further claims that African-American 370-lb deputy Thomas Guynes played a role in the asphyxiation death of Clifton Lee, Jr. but that no action was taken against him due to his race.

       —Junior    Oct. 11 '09 - 12:06AM    #
  294. Yes, I am aware of the allegation made by the officers’ attorney but there doesn’t seem to be any other support that ties deputy Guynes to the death of Clifton Lee, Jr. Is Guynes identifiable in the video? If he is, then I need someone to point him out, because I don’t see him.

    Tony Dearing and the staff at ANN issued a statement yesterday in support of the firing of deputies Joseph Eberle and Eric Kelly.

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 12 '09 - 09:09PM    #
  295. “It took far too long for the department to hold its own deputies accountable……”

    That is an excerpt from the above cited editorial.

    It is something I believe everyone can agree with.

    Do not forget that any discharged deputy can file for arbitration to seek reinstatement with an award of back pay. So expect these discharged deputies, or at least Deputy Eberle, to exercise his right to an arbitration hearing, which means the case could remain pending for another year or two.

    Other suspended deputies still remain under investigation with no end in sight. We are close to 3 1/2 years post-incident. Those deputies can likewise seek arbitration in the event of an adverse decision.

    This is unacceptable.

       —Jerry Gilbert    Oct. 13 '09 - 04:56AM    #
  296. I share your concern regarding these firings going before an arbitrator.

    Arbitrators are not required to know or follow the law in reaching their decisions. A legally incorrect ruling is not subject to appeal or correction. According to the law, a decision reached through binding arbitration must be confirmed even if there is an error of fact or law on the face of the award that causes substantial injustice to the parties.

    On the whim of an arbitrator, Joseph Eberle could be awarded his job back with full back pay, and that would be the end of it.

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 15 '09 - 10:28PM    #
  297. You are correct, Michael.

    Joseph Eberle could be reinstated with back pay by an arbitrator.

    I suspect he will because he did everything he was supposed do that night, and no one can pinpoint his actions to causing the death of Lee.

    A jury cleared Mr. Eberle, so will an arbitrator.

       —Junior    Oct. 24 '09 - 07:53PM    #
  298. Deputy Joseph Eberle was acquitted of criminal charges regarding the death of Clifton Lee, Jr.. Eberle’s employment with the WCS was terminated because he failed to follow the policies and procedures of his department. The court made no ruling on whether Eberle violated these policies/procedures, so your attempt to conflate the two issues is incorrect.

    Your pro-Law Enforcement perspective shows itself again when you say Eberle “did everything he was supposed do that night”. I assume you are aware that Eberle used pepper spray as a weapon against Clifton Lee despite the fact that Eberle had received no training regarding its use. I assume you must also be aware that Sheriff’s Sgt. Beth Gieske testified in court that Washtenaw County deputies can’t use lethal force to arrest someone accused of a minor offense and that any use of force must be justifiable to an objective observer.

    An arbitrator can give Eberle his job back without even considering the violations of policies and procedures, and without even watching the videos that captured Eberle’s actions. An arbitrator is not required to explain the decision [s]he makes.

       —Michael Schils    Oct. 24 '09 - 11:06PM    #
  299. Re Post#273: Despite Sheriff Jerry Clayton’s representation reported in the Ypsilanti Courier that the investigations of the suspended deputies was expected to be concluded in 30 days, Deputy Shawn Hoy remains under paid suspension with no end in sight. On December 1st it will be exactly 3 and 1/2 years since the Lee incident and Hoy has drawn a salary for each of those suspended days.

    It seems to me that the Lee incident is something that is not a very high priority at the Sheriff’s Department. Obviously, the department would prefer not to see Hoy punished.

    The Bruce Lee atempted murder case was something that the WCSD obviously felt was a high priority and succeeded in having Mr. Lee jailed pending trial.

    Perhaps citizens should complain to the County Commission as to why Deputy Hoy collects his pay when he has not worked in close to 3 1/2 years when other conscientious deputies who have done nothing wrong risk their lives every day on partols and investigation to earn their salaries.

       —Mark Koroi    Oct. 28 '09 - 04:32AM    #
  300. Re Post No.299:

    Sadly, Sergeant Hoy was demoted from sergeant to deputy and will have to serve a 30-day suspension without pay. On the bright side it could have been worse.remember he was acquitted of all federal charges. This is per the October 23, 2009 edition of

    Deputy Aaron Hendricks has received a 60-day unpaid suspension.

    These disciplinary actions were strongly criticized by attorney Jim Fett, who repesents the three.

    I am sure that both will file for arbitration.

    Remember that Hoy, Eberle, and Hendricks all have claims pending in federal court for civil rights violations against the sheriff’s Department.

       —Junior    Oct. 31 '09 - 11:46PM    #
  301. A Washtenaw County Sheriff Department dashboard camera arrest video strikes again!

    The video this time casts the WCSD in a more positive light as it shows Ann Arbor City Prosecutor Robert West, that vaunted foe of drunk drivers in the sobriety court, unsuccessfully trying to coax, cajole and wheedle Washtenaw County Sheriff Department deputy Brian Munsell to let him go after being stopped in his SUV on suspicion of operating while intoxicated.

    One is reminded of certain Shakspearean play where the Archbishop of Canterbury admonishes the ruddy Prince Hal that, he too, must obey the laws of the Realm.

    The ten minute sequence is available on YouTube thanks to a FOIA request by and has made West an Internet sensation garnering thousands of hits in a matter of hours.

    One of the more amusing declarations is Bobby West exclaiming “But I had only six beers all day!”

    Remember our beloved prosecutor is innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to his day in court.

       —Junior    Dec. 20 '09 - 12:23AM    #