Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

News From the WTF Files

this sort of speaks for itself

SAGINAW — A 21-year-old who tried to pass off pancake mix as cocaine has been found guilty in the deaths of two men.

Matthew T. Deshone was found guilty of first-degree murder and firearms-related charges in the November 2005 deaths of Demario K. Sherman and Franscoir D. Shepherd, both of Saginaw.

Prosecutors said Deshone and an associate, 25-year-old Joseph Villarreal, had gone to Sherman’s apartment to sell him an ounce of the dry pancake mix. The Saginaw News says Sherman made a sudden move and a skittish Deshone shot him.

Saginaw television station WNEM says Deshone later shot and killed Shepherd, who had overheard him discussing the failed deal.

Defense attorney James Piazza argued that Deshone witnessed both slayings but that the men were killed by Deshone’s friend Freddie Williams, who himself was shot dead in July 2006.

Deshone will be sentenced to life in prison May 8. Villarreal pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and will be sentenced April 24.

No. For real. You gotta have absolutely NO respect for someone’s intelligence to think they’d believe pancake mix was coke. I’ve never personally seen, or touched cocaine in my life, but I sure as hell know Bisquick when I see it.


This one…this is some face-palm type stuff. I’m glad H doesn’t battle anymore.

DETROIT — Police are looking for a Westland man who killed a rapper this week after taking offense to something said during a rap contest.

The incident happened Monday in a home located in the 180000 block of Bradford on the city’s east side. Police say there was a rap battle, in which participants come up with insulting rhymes aimed at their competitors.

Police say 28-year-old Antoine Tramble became angry at something a 27-year-old rapper said, so he left the home and then returned with a gun. Tramble opened fire, killing the man, police said. The victim’s name has not been released.

Tramble then fled the home and escaped in a blue conversion van, investigators said.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact Detroit Police Homicide at (313) 596-2260; or the anonymous Crime Stoppers hot line at (800) SPEAK-UP.


An Open Letter to Kwame

Dear Mayor Kilpatrick,

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, I beg you (and I don’t beg): step down.

As someone who grew up in Detroit, is proud of her city (in spite of it’s faults), and won’t let nary a non-Detroiter talk bad about her hometown, you are making it damn hard for me to keep my head up when I tell people where I’m from.

You’re an embarrassment. You’re embarrassing me, you’re embarrassing your family, you’re embarrassing your supporters (if you have any left), and, most importantly, you’re embarrassing the city. Let’s not mention the fact that you’re embarrassing yourself with this pathetic cling to power. You even tried to play the race card. Granted that move isn’t new, or even surprising, for you. You’ve tried hard to model yourself after your mentor and idol Coleman Young, even to the point of stealing his trademark race baiting, us-against-them tactics whenever there was some bad news about Detroit. The difference is, Coleman Young never brought his city to shame.

Oh, he wasn’t perfect. The man had his share of scandals and failures (The People Mover, for instance), but nothing that reached the international scale that this has. And we can’t blame this on the fact that news of your infidelity has been spread all over the internet. No. Detroit has always been under the world’s magnifying glass thanks to the Big 3. What we do may not make the big waves like New York City or LA, but it makes a ripple, and we all know that a ripple is all that is needed to create a tidal wave.
This scandal of yours is making it impossible for the city to continue to trudge forward. As though that weren’t hard enough given the state of Michigan’s economy to begin with. Step down so we can move on. Please.

I’m ashamed to say it now, but I voted for you your first time in. Sure, I knew about you. I knew that you were shameless about cheating on your wife. But I was young and dumb back then. You had that swagger that is pure Detroit, and I was enchanted by it. How could I, who cut my political teeth during the Clinton administration, say no to someone who spoke my language? I watched as you took out your earring when polls showed that older women just didn’t trust you, they thought it made you look like a thug and unprofessional. I should have listened to my elders. I laughed and pounded fists with my fellow Detroiters when you defiantly put your earring back in after you had won. But something inside of me silently questioned how far you really would go to get what you wanted.

I guess I got my answer. Two cops fired for getting too close to information that would expose your extra-marital affair(s?) and a stripper killed, possibly to cover up your misdeeds.

You claim they want to lock you up forever.  You’re being charged with eight counts of perjury. That’s fifteen years max for each count. Did you think they’d just lump it all together? Just because you kill six people at the same time doesn’t mean you can narrow it down to one count of murder. You’re a lawyer, you should know better. Emphasis on “should”, because apparently you chose not to use that Florida A&M University education when you went on the stand and lied under oath. What’s worse is that you somehow coerced Christine Beatty to do the same. I wonder what you told her to get her to cover for you after tossed her aside when you were done with her and went back to your wife. Or maybe you did that just to keep up appearances. We already know you’re not beyond that at all.

So, once again Mayor Kilpatrick, I ask you, please step down. Face this as a private citizen like the man you claim to be. Let go of the office so we can move on. That will be the only thing that can save your reputation, mangled as it already is. And it is the best thing you can do for Detroit so we can move on. The world should be focused on the fact that one of our high school bands was chosen to perform at the Beijing Olympics, not on the fact that you couldn’t keep your philandering private.


She Who Must Not Be Named

a vacation….of sorts

I’ll be at my sister’s house this week. The Kid has the week off of school and rather than having her sitting around our house bugging me, she gets to sit around my sister’s house and bug BW, which she does with amazing skill.

So I may not be blogging much this week. No second life for me either (*cries*). but it’ll be nice to spend some time around my parents and sister.

I think…

Kwame is in good company

Ah men. When will you ever learn? When you’re married, especially if you’re in a position of power, stop thinking with the little head and start thinking with the big one (that would be the one on your shoulders for those of you who are delusional enough to actually believe that you’re that impressive…you’re not).

So right along with Spitzer, and that pastor who drove across three states to hit a titty bar, The (dis)Honorable Mayor of Detroit finds himself with more compatriots on the “couldn’t keep it in my pants” wagon.

I opened up my RSS reader this morning to find out that Democratic Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow’s husband got caught up in a prostitution ring. Granted, his crime wasn’t nearly as impressive as Spitzers. He laid down a measly $150 for oral sex from a 20 year old at a local Residence Inn. Once again, a man got caught up responding to a Craigslist ad offering sex.

Now…why does this sound so familiar…hmmm…

OH! That’s right! A cop was busted for hiring a prostitute over Craigslist just two months ago. Men. Learn from this. STOP CRUISING FOR SEX ON CRAIGSLIST! THEY’RE ALL COPS!

“But, NKA,” you say, “that’s not the same as sending text messages to your lover, then firing a respected police officer, killing a stripper and committing perjury to cover it up.”

And you’re right. But Kwam-ster is hardly alone in his two-way trysts. Oh no no! And it’s not just American men who are too stupid to do these sorts of things discreetly either. Nope. The Finnish suck at it too. And just like Kwame, he refuses to resign over the incident. See, idiocy is international.

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Kwame gets indicted on 12 counts of perjury

I have to admit, I didn’t think Pros. Kym Worthy was going to do it. But she did. And damn if I ain’t glad. This, my friends, is one fine example of hubris. Take note.

Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has filed 12 charges against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, accusing the mayor of perjury and both of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office, among other charges in connection with the text-message scandal.

“Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, peoples lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked and the public trust trampled on,” Worthy said. “This is as far from being a private matter as one can get.”

The announcement could take the text-message scandal, once relegated to civil court and accusations of privacy and freedom of the press, into a criminal matter that could send the mayor and Beatty to prison. A perjury conviction can bring a prison term of up to 15 years.

The charges alone could only add more pressure to Kilpatrick to step down — something other politicians, business leaders, pastors and the public have suggested for weeks.

Kilpatrick was spotted leaving the city-owned Manoogian Mansion around 10:15 a.m.

Kilpatrick is the first mayor of Detroit to be charged with a crime while in office. Under the city charter, he can only be removed from office if he is convicted of a felony.

Kilpatrick has repeatedly vowed not to resign; Beatty resigned in February and has been looking for work since then.

Worthy’s investigation stemmed from the aftermath of the city’s decision to settle claims made by three former Detroit police officers, two of whom had won a $6.5 million whistle-blower verdict against the city last September after they claimed they were punished for investigating claims against the mayor and his bodyguards.

Former Deputy Chief Gary Brown said he was fired after investigating claims by Harold Nelthrope, an officer who said he feared for his life after he passed on concerns about the mayor’s bodyguards.

After the trial, Mike Stefani, one of the officers’ attorneys, obtained a copy of the text messages sent and received from Beatty’s city-issued SkyTel pager. He had asked for them during the preparation for the trial but did not receive them.

During negotiations over his attorney fees, Stefani told one of Kilpatrick’s city-paid lawyers that he had the messages and was going to tell the trial judge. That information spurred the lawyers to quickly reach a settlement on the case a little over a month after Kilpatrick had vowed to appeal.

As part of that settlement, the officers got a total of $8.4 million and Stefani was required to turn over all copies of the text messages to the mayor’s attorney — and agree never to talk about them.

When the city council approved the settlement, however, it was not told about the text messages or the secret deal meant to hide them from public view.

Then in January, published excerpts of the text messages strongly contradicted Kilpatrick and Beatty’s testimony that they did not have a romantic relationship and did not fire Brown.

Kwame Kilpatrick: Sellout

I made a promise to myself to not blog about Hizzoner anymore. Fact of the matter is, Kwame doesn’t need bloggers or media to make him look bad. He’s doing a good job of that himself. He’s used up every legal path to block the release of his text messages, and has been slapped down at every turn too, even though he wrote a memo to staff back in 2000 letting them know all electronic communications would be a matter of public record (though he’s trying to weasel out of that one too).

But this…this needed repeating.

Partly because I agree 10001% with everything the author is saying (hell it’s something I’ve said myself in less eloquent ways). And partly because I was reading Seriously McMillan’s blog about how she was accused of being “whitewashed” (for my ethnically impaired readers: sell out) because she demands that we set a higher standard for ourselves.

It’s time we set the record straight about what a sell out is when it comes to the black community. This is a good place to start:

“Don’t let them talk about y’all’s boy!”
—Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, 2005

Mama Kilpatrick, I’m talking about your boy. In his new book, Sellout, The Politics of Racial Betrayal (Pantheon Books, 2008), author Randall Kennedy examines how and why various African-American figures have been labeled as such. Kennedy, an African-American Harvard law professor who has been called a sellout by some, urges a more thoughtful, discriminating use of the label. Merely having views contrary to conventional black positions does not make one a sellout. “A sellout,” he says, “is someone who betrays something to which she is said to owe allegiance.” In a racial context, a sellout “is a disparaging term that refers to blacks who knowingly or with gross negligence act against the interest of blacks as a whole.”

That said, and with all due reflection, I declare that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is a sellout. “Y’all’s boy,” as his mother tagged him when coming to his aid in a tight re-election contest, has sold y’all out.

Last week’s revelation of text messages exchanged between Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty bore that out. The texts revealed that long-standing allegations of a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty are true and that they lied about it under oath.

The revelations are the most stinging blow for Kilpatrick, the charismatic hip-hop mayor who knows how to skillfully manipulate image to inspire his following, but they are not in themselves the reason I call him a sellout. Bear with me.

Since early in his administration, rumors of bad behavior have percolated around Kilpatrick. Another book, Deconstructing Tyrone (Cleis Press, 2006) by Natalie Hopkinson and Natalie Y. Moore, which explores black masculinity in the hip-hop generation, devotes its entire first chapter to Kilpatrick and his woes. Moore, who formerly worked at The Detroit News, covered City Council during Kilpatrick’s first administration and became familiar with the ongoing soap opera. The authors, who by and large defended Kilpatrick, wrote that he “is a symbol of both the coming generation of black leadership and the city of Detroit itself: postmodern, postindustrial, so black it’s postblack.”

It’s a clever bit of writing that bespeaks Kilpatrick’s charisma. Moore, who developed a professionally adversarial though personally friendly relationship with the mayor, wrote that, “Kilpatrick is so affable that it’s hard to walk away from him without a tingling feeling.”

Given what we know now about the smooth-talking mayor, I wonder exactly what parts he was trying to tingle. The Natalies objectively allowed the mayor’s own words to carry much of the argument. Regarding the rumored wild party with strippers said to have taken place at Manoogian Mansion, they quoted Kilpatrick saying: “If I was 60 years old, if I came from the ‘country club community,’ if I came out of an established private firm or something like that, none of these would get the lift that they have. … I guess it’s believable that a 32-year-old black man with an earring would have parties like that. It’s so unfortunate. I’m here to fight that stigma.”

In other words, y’all are getting down on me just because I’m young and black. It is this exact point that shows why Kilpatrick is a sellout. Kilpatrick has played the racism card again and again to protect himself. He’s used code to do it, but every black Detroiter knows the code. After he was found responsible in the whistleblower suit last August, he said: “I think my reputation rests with the city of Detroit. Being that there was only one [Detroit juror], I guess I will have to talk to her.”

There he goes again; from Detroit means you’re black and sympathetic, not from Detroit means you’re white and adversarial. In his 2005 re-election campaign he played Hendrix as the brother the white business interests of the suburbs were behind, while he, Kilpatrick, was blacker than thou. He fanned the fire of city-suburb enmity to solidify his base.

All of this so he could sell us out.

And as the truth came out last week, where was the larger-than-life mayor? Did he stand tall to face the music? Did he admit to his wrongdoing. No, he went into hiding and again made excuses that did not address the issue. He released a statement saying the charges were five and six years old and that he and his wife had worked things out. Yet it was just last August that he sat in court and lied about it. It was September when he pointed the accusatory finger of racism.

In the end, it’s not his affair with Beatty. That’s between him and his wife. It’s wasn’t even the lies about his affair — although lying under oath in a court of law may turn out to be the legal linchpin that brings him down. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said last week that her office will conduct an investigation into that aspect. It isn’t even the $9 million in legal fees and payouts to wrongfully terminated police officers. Although in a cash-strapped city that has closed police and fire stations, laid off police officers, cut the city work force and initiated a trash fee, the money would have come in handy.

Where Kilpatrick sold us out was in his constant crying of racism as an excuse for his own foibles. If he were white, he implied, no one would be after him. All the while he sat in City Hall texting messages with his lover when he should have been attending to the city’s business. Every false claim of racism undermines the next African-American with a just claim. Every false claim of racism turns a knife in the wounds of those who have been destroyed by racism. Every false claim of racism sets Detroiters back when business-decision makers don’t know if they can trust the man in Manoogian.

Every false claim of racism belies the pain of Africans who were captured and enslaved, those who endured the lash as they labored as chattel, those who didn’t get an even break, were denied the vote, who marched and got beaten, who sacrificed some little pleasure so their children could someday be somebody, who saw a young man with so much promise who might lead our city to dignity and plenty.

He was just putting on a show as he knowingly and with gross negligence acted against our interests as a whole.

That’s why Kwame Kilpatrick, by even a stringent definition, is a sellout.

If Kilpatrick were either convicted or recalled from office (I can’t imagine that his inflated ego would allow him to quit), then City Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. would run city government until an election could be held. I don’t know what kind of mayor Cockrel would be. I do know that he has mostly conducted himself in a low-key businesslike manner. He seems to get it that he is a public servant — though surely warts will appear once the spotlight shines on him. He at least deserves kudos for not ranting, raving and making a spectacle of himself during this Kilpatrick malaise. That’s smart politics, if nothing else.

(Written by Larry Gabriel)

Kwame’s Address To The City

Text from the speech and my own commentary

Mayor: I want to start tonight by saying to the citizens of this great city, I’m sorry, for all of you who have believed in what we’ve been doing here since 2002, to all of you who have believe in me and my leadership, to all of you who have stuck with me through very difficult times, to all of you who have prayed for me, I’m sorry. For the embarrassment, and the disappointment, the events of the past few days have caused you. For what you as my supporters, many of you, have had heard as you travel around our city to beauty shops and barber shops, from what you have had to hear when you were at church this past Sunday, from people who know that have supported me. To those of you have not always been Kwame Kilpatrick supporters but who lift up our city, who live in our city, who support this town in various ways, I truly apologize to each and every one of you individually and to the whole city. Most of all tonight, I want to make a public apology to my entire family. And specifically to the four people who I love the most in this world. First I want to apologize to my sons, Jelani, Jalil and Jonas, for the first time in my life I had to have a conversation with my 12-year-old twin sons about very grown-up things. It was without a doubt the hardest conversation that I ever had in my entire life, finally and most importantly, I want to make a public apology to my wife, Carlita, who I fell in love with when I was 19 years old. We decided to build a family together and we did that. Our marriage has not been perfect, but it has been great. Now I put her in a situation, which many couples deal with in the privacy of their own homes, but in our case it is on the front page of the newspaper, this dynamic, strong, caring woman, has been forced to go through this very difficult experience because of me, I truly apology to you.

(Translation: I am truly sorry that I was caught doing what half the city knew I was doing anyway.)

As many of you know, I am not the type of person who displays my emotion in public. But I have to tell you, I have felt more emotion in the last week than I have in the past 20 years. I have been truly hurting. I have been hurting because I know that many of you are hurting and most of all, I am hurting because I know my family is hurting and I’m responsible for that. Over the past few days, there has been some speculation of who is in charge of the city, make no mistake about it, since 2002 I have been in charge of the city. There have been ups and downs, there have been hills and mountains and valleys, but through it all I remain in charge of the city. I believe we’ve built a team here that understands the mission and focus and committee we must have to serve our citizens, we have done some amazing things but we have a lot of work left to do. Over the past few days there has been a lot of speculation about me resigning from office, let me be clear tonight, I would never quit on you, ever. We have a lot of work to do and with your help I’m going to continue to lead this city in getting thew work done. I am truly blessed and grateful that my wife is beside me tonight she has personal remarks of her own to make.

(Translation: Regardless of the fact that I lack any recognisable moral character left, I’m going to keep my position as Mayor because I know the people of Detroit will let me get away with murder…hey, what do you know, you HAVE!)

Carlita Kilpartrick: It is very difficult for me to talk to you at this moment but I want to let you know what is on my heart tonight. Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. Like all people, we are not perfect. But through our commitment to God and to each other my husband and I will get through this. Yes I am angry, I am hurt and I am disappointed, but there is no question that I love my husband. With the help of our pastor and others, we have been having very difficult, very frank discussions to work through some very painful issues. Most couples who work through problems in their marriage are able to do so privately; unfortunately that option is not available to us. Our family has endured the most painful and intrusive week of our lives, our most intimate issues have been laid out for all to see, for all to comment on, for all to dissect and analyze. However this private matter is between me, my husband, and God. We are deeply committed to working through this issue together as a family. As his wife, I know how committed my husband is to the city of Detroit. I am asking the citizens of this city to be committed to him and our family and to the continued growth of the city. Allow our family the space and privacy that is essential to anyone when they work through these very personal issues. Lastly, I would like to thank each and every one of you for all of your prayers and uplifting words.

(Translation: Yeah, I’m sticking with him, but that’s because I’m not giving up this comfortable life, plus I’m not raising these damn kids by myself. But don’t call me a dumb broad, he’s not getting any ass for a LONG time. Nah, he’s going to suffer for this. I’m not letting him forget this. Not for a long time.)

Mayor: This has been a very difficult time for my wife and my family, I would ask that from this point forward if you have to attack someone, attack me. I would ask that you don’t follow my wife, don’t film my kids going to school, I ask you not to have helicopters flying around our home, I ask that you leave them alone. I am the mayor, I made the mistake, I am accountable. Because there are legal matters pending at this moment, unfortunately I am unable to discuss any of those issues at this time. But I do have some personal words I want to share with you tonight. Over the past week our marriage has been open up for public view. This has been a situation where yes, it has been embarrassing; yes, it has been painful; but through all of that, through the grace of God we have also had a feeling of thankfulness and freedom, we have committed to moving forward together to make our marriage better and stronger. Last week was the first weekend since I took office in January 2002 that I just put everything aside and focused only on my family. I know people have been wanting to hear from me, but I needed to do that first. I want to thank the people of Detroit for their patience and allowing us to have that time, we as a family needed to do that. I told my sons this past weekend that when you make a mistake you learn from it, you get up, you dust yourself off and you keep moving forward. Detroit, I am determined that we will keep moving forward, I am determined to continue the tremendous progress we are making in this city. In the worst economic conditions since the great depression, Detroit together we have managed to do great things. We have paved more streets than ever, we have built more new houses than ever, we have balanced our budget and wiped out a $300 million deficit, we have developed 75 buildings downtown large and small, we have built seven new hotels, we have built three new rec. centers in neighborhoods that have not seen rec. centers in 20 years, we are building out our riverfront and we are not stopping now. Detroit, please continue to pray for our family, for our city and for our continued progress. God bless you, Detroit, I love you and I’ll see you at work tomorrow.

(Translation: I’m in the dog house. I know it. If you want to go after me, fine, but leave the family alone [best thing he said all night]. That said, I will now distract you by flashing something shiny at you in hopes that you notice as I make my escape.)

She’s a better woman than me, that’s for damn sure.

So Carlita Kilpatrick (wife of Kwame Kilpatrick) is supposed to be doing the good wife thing and standing by her man when he addresses the city tonight.

Now if that were me, that wouldn’t be happenin. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not just because dude cheated (openly, multiple times), but because he perjured himself, and last I looked, that’s something of a major crime. I made it this far without ever dating someone with a criminal record (beyond juvenile offenses that don’t fall under felonies in the adult system), I couldn’t see becoming the Mayor’s wife only to have him sent to prison for lying about getting some side booty.

I wonder how long it will take for them to demand a recall vote on him…I got 10 that says they won’t. Detroiters, as much as I love my city, are notoriously dumb when it comes to elected officials.