Entries in Detroit (37)


Detroit Mayor: 'We Will Come Back' From Bankruptcy

Cornelia Schaible/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- In an exclusive interview on ABC’s This Week, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he hopes the city’s decision to file for bankruptcy will provide a new beginning for Motor City.

“I’m surely hoping that this will be a new start.  Detroiters are a very, very resilient people,” Bing said. “Detroit is a very iconic city, worldwide, and our people will fight through this. And we will come back.”

The city of Detroit made history on Thursday when it became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. Detroit’s emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr filed for Chapter 9 protection, citing the city’s $18 billion in debts to over 100,000 creditors.

Bing, a former NBA basketball player, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos he is unsure what role the federal government will play in Detroit’s comeback.

“Well, I think it’s very difficult right now to ask directly for support,” Bing said. “I have gotten great support from this administration.  I’ve got great support from a lot of the different departments within the administration. They have been helpful, but now that we’ve done our bankruptcy filing, I think we’ve got to take a step back and see what’s next.”

“There’s a lot of conversation, a lot of planning, a lot of negotiations that will go into fixing our city,” he added.

On Friday, a judge ruled the bankruptcy filing unconstitutional, saying it threatens the pension benefits of retirees. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette plans to appeal that ruling on behalf of the Gov. Rick Snyder’s office.

Sunday morning, Bing told Stephanopoulos that lawyers shouldn’t “dictate what’s going to happen” next in Detroit.

“Well, I’m not a lawyer. And I’m glad I’m not at this point in time. But I’m hearing — I am hearing that, you know, that the federal constitution will trump the state constitution,” he said. “But whatever happens, we can’t allow lawyers to dictate what’s going to happen in our city and its comeback.  We’ve got to throw away a lot of the bickering and fighting amongst us and do what’s best to bring cities like Detroit back.”

The mayor told Stephanopoulos that Detroit’s problems set a precedent for other cities across America.

“There are over 100 major urban cities that are having the same problems that we’re having,” Bing said. “We may be one of the first, we are the largest, but we absolutely will not be the last. And so we’ve got to set a benchmark in terms how to fix our cities and come back from this tragedy.”

Bing also discussed what the city’s money woes mean for the Motor City’s future and sent a message to Detroiters that “the cavalry is coming.”

“We’ve got to make sure that those people understand that we care about them. That we’re going to reinvest in our neighborhoods and give them the things that they need,” Bing said.

“I think our city is going to come back.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  And we’ve got to be very strategic in whatever we do that we can’t fix it all overnight.  People need to understand that,” Bing cautioned. “We’ve got to better communicate that to people and let them know that the cavalry is coming.”

In the past 50 years, Detroit’s racial landscape has gone from approximately 80% white residents to 80% African-American. When asked to respond to what Washington Post reporter Keith Richburg wrote - which read in part “Older Detroiters are correct that the city was surrounded by a ring of often-hostile white suburbs, in a largely conservative state that had little time for a poor, destitute, Democratic and black city… The governor’s appointment of an emergency financial manager… is again seen as a hostile, racist takeover by the state over the city’s elected black leadership” – the mayor said he did not want to make this a “black and white issue”

“It’s a financial issue, and it’s green. We’ve got to get some funding that’s necessary to help us fix our problem right now,” Bing said. “The polarization between our city and our suburbs is something that’s been going on for the last 60 years. We’ve got to change it.”

“Once again, if Detroit fails, doesn’t make it, then all these surrounding suburbs are going to feel the brunt of it also,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Extreme Kidnapping' Is No Risk-Free Thrill

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Being pulled out of a car at gunpoint by masked men while heavy metal music plays in the background would be a nightmarish experience for most people.

Not so for the increasing number of people who pay hundreds of dollars to experience it.

“It’s more or less a thrill entertainment of a kidnapping scenario,” said Shanel Hill, a professional abductor for the Detroit-based company called Extreme Kidnapping.

For about $500, you can get the four-hour “econo-kidnapping” package, or spend thousands of dollars for more deluxe packages that can run a full day.

“Some people come to us because they want to lose control,” Hill said.

The company’s founder, Adam Thick, says he was inspired to start the company nearly a decade ago by The Game, the 1997 movie starring Michael Douglas as a wealthy investment banker given the gift of a “game” that brings excitement into his life.

Law enforcement experts, however, say the excitement created by the all-too-real kidnappings could create real-life danger.

An alleged abduction in New York City made headlines earlier this month as police investigated whether the incident – in which a man with a plastic bag over his head and another wearing a mask forced a woman into a minivan at gunpoint – was a hoax staged to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was.

“What you’ve done is create a situation where both the police, the victims and the fake bad guy could be harmed,” ABC News analyst and former FBI special agent Brad Garrett said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


70-Year-Old Detroit High School Girls' Basketball Coach Shoots Attackers

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(DETROIT, Mich.) -- The 70-year-old girls' basketball coach of a Detroit high school shot two teenage attackers who tried to rob him as he was escorting two players to their cars, police said.

The coach was allegedly approached by two men who brandished a gun at him as he was walking two players to their cars near Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School Friday night, ABC's Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV reported.

The coach, who police said has a concealed pistol license and is reportedly a reserve police officer, then pulled out his gun and shot at his attackers.

One of the attackers died from the shooting, while the other was rushed to the hospital, WXYZ reported.

Both of the coach's alleged attackers attended Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, but one of the students had recently been expelled and was not allowed to be on school grounds, WXYZ reported.

The coach was not a teacher at the school.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Massive Pileup on Detroit Highway Leaves Three Dead

Steve Allen/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- At least three people were killed Thursday morning in a chain reaction accident on a highway in southwest Detroit.

Two of the deceased were children, according to Michigan State Police Captain Monica Yesh, who couldn't confirm if the victims were all in the same vehicle.

The pileup on Interstate 75 involved dozens of cars and stretched for more than a mile.

Yesh said whiteout conditions were likely to blame.

"There was a huge snow squall that came through, probably only lasted 15 to 20 seconds, pretty much took everybody's sight away," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rocky Marquez: Nationwide Manhunt for Escaped Inmate

ABC News(DETROIT) -- A nationwide manhunt is underway for a career criminal who has twice escaped from jail by switching identities with other inmates.

Authorities did not notice Rocky Marquez, 34, was missing from a Detroit jail until five days after he walked out the front door undetected.

"Mr. Marquez does have a bit of a head start, but we have the best of the best working on this case and I'm confident Rocky will be put behind bars," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Frederick J. Freeman.

A fugitive apprehension team along with the U.S. Marshals and other police agencies are searching for Marquez.

According to police, on Jan. 20, Marquez switched ID wristbands with another inmate, who was about to be freed on bond. Marquez then simply walked out of the Wayne County jail.

"He's smarter than your average criminal. He's somehow getting inmates to cooperate with him to use their identities to walk out of jail," Freeman said.

This was not the first time Marquez staged a jailbreak.

According to U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez, Marquez pulled the same stunt in a Phoenix prison eight months ago when he switched wristbands with another inmate who he had befriended and who had a similar complexion and build.

"He obviously has a penchant for getting out of jail and wanting to stay out of jail, but hopefully we can put an end to that run here soon," Gonzalez said.

Marquez was arrested in Detroit after the U.S. Marshals tracked a car they believed he was using to the city.

Marquez, whose criminal record includes drug smuggling, perjury and witness tampering, was awaiting extradition to Phoenix when he escaped last week.

Officials from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said there would be an investigation into the reasons for Marquez's escape.

"We have policies and procedures in place that should have prevented something like this from happening," the sheriff's office told ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Google Camera Captures Man Pointing Gun From What Looks Like House Where Infant Found Dead

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Google's effort to revamp its mapping system took an eerie turn when one of its Google Street View camera trucks captured a young shirtless man pointing a gun at a Detroit street.

In September 2009, Google's camera snapped photos of a man with a gun standing on the porch of the house that appears to be the house where a 17-month-old child was found dead in a closet under a pile of clothes this summer.

There are four other people standing behind the man with the gun, all gazing toward the camera, which was lodged atop a Google Street View mapping car.

All parties on the porch look young, perhaps in their teens. The series of photos shows how they all turn to look at the Google truck as it passed by.

A meteorologist from Maryland, Jacob Wykoff, who stumbled upon the photo on Reddit, told ABC News that he found it frightening.

"Anytime you see a gun pointed at a cameraman it gets kind of scary," he said. "Detroit kind of has a reputation nowadays for doing that kind of stuff. It wasn't that out of the ordinary."

Ordinary or not, the death of the 17-month-old child at what looks like the same house in the Google Street View photo still strikes a chord in the Detroit population. According to police, it hasn't been determined exactly how the infant died, and no one has been charged in her death.

People have been speaking up on the DetroitYes forum, saying this is the house where Zyia Turner, the young child, died last June.

One person commenting had compared each house on the block with that in the Google image and found that the photo and the alleged crime scene matched.

"Noticed some similarities. Same cream-colored brick, same tapered shape to the brick columns, same green Astroturf glued to the porch, same wrought-iron security door, same gutter security camera and the same neighbor's fence."

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy told CBS Detroit, though, that this photo left many unanswered questions and offered no evidence that a crime had been committed in this house.

"Was it this person's home? Because you do have a right to bear arms in your home," Worthy told CBS Detroit. "Certainly, it looks like he's on a porch that's attached to a home, so that would not be a legal issue."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Detroit Babysitter Flees Cops with Baby in Arms

Courtesy Ferndale Police Department(DETROIT) -- A Detroit man caught driving a stolen car while babysitting a 21-month-old infant led cops on a high-speed chase, crashed the vehicle and then fled on foot with the baby, which he handed to a woman bystander before police caught him.

Vilary Reed, 23, was driving a stolen Ford Crown Victoria on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road when he was stopped by police shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday.  Though initially he stopped and complied with officers, he decided at the last moment to take off in the car, leading cops through the side streets of the city with the tot in tow, according to a police report.

“Reed ran through stop signs, sped, and lost control and crashed at Pennington and Pembroke,” police said in a report.  “When Reed emerged from the car, he was carrying a 21-month-old baby boy in his arms.  Reed ran from police while carrying the baby.”

As Reed darted from the enclosing officers, he must have decided that the baby was slowing him down.  So, he handed the baby to a woman who was standing in her yard, then ran on.

“He handed her the baby.  The baby was crying.  He just told her to hide me!  Hide me!” John Abner, the husband of the woman to whom he handed the baby, told ABC News' Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV.

Officers were soon able to apprehend Reed following a chase through several other yards.

After Reed was captured, the baby was examined by Ferndale Fire Department paramedics and finally returned to his mother.  The baby is the son of the suspect’s live-in girlfriend, and he’s now back with his mother while Child Protective Services is investigating the incident, WXYZ reported.

Reed is a parolee, previously convicted of fleeing and eluding police.  He also has previous convictions for receiving and concealing stolen vehicles, according to police.

The case had now been turned over to the prosecutor’s office for a determination of charges, police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


A Dozen Body Parts Discovered in Detroit-Area Sewer

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- A construction crew in suburban Detroit on Wednesday morning found around a dozen body parts 50 feet deep in the city's sewer.

"This morning, they go down to begin their work and they get down to a large grate at the 50-foot level and they see the body laying down there," Sterling Heights Police Department Lt. Luke Riley told ABC News in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "They call us, we go out and then get people down there to start the process of looking at them.

"There were maybe a dozen softball-sized pieces of a body," he said. "No arms or leg or torso -- nothing like that. Definitely a Caucasian. We're not sure if it's male or female."

Some of the body parts had a tattoo on them, he noted, something officials hope may help them in identifying the body.

"At least six or eight of these pieces had part of a tattoo on them," Riley said. "Once the medical examiner collected them he was able to clean things up and take a look at them and with photographs of these pieces we can tell it's a tattoo. We can't tell what it's a tattoo of, but there are two pieces that match up -- it's like a puzzle and we don't have all the pieces to it."

Riley said the construction crew had worked at the same site -- near 15 Mile Road and Schoenherr Road -- on Tuesday and no one saw the body parts until Wednesday morning.

The body parts, he said, may have flowed to that location from two lines in nearby Macomb County and Oakland County. The entire sewer line, he said, runs about 21 miles and ends up at the Detroit water treatment plant.

A stretch of 15 Mile Road near the site was closed down Wednesday for several hours.

According to Riley, the crew members who made the discovery handled the situation "very professionally."

"They knew the seriousness of the situation," he said. "They were very professional about it. They didn't, you know, lose it or anything like that."

After the discovery, he said, "these workers actually went back down and accompanied the fire department personnel to process the scene."

It is not the first discovery of body parts in the Detroit metropolitan area this summer. The decapitated bodies of a man and a woman were found in July in the Detroit River and a canal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Detroit Brothers to Get New Trial in 1987 Killing

ABC News(DETROIT) -- Two Detroit brothers, convicted of murder 25 years ago, have now been granted a new trial, but a judge Monday declined to release them from prison.

In 1987, Robert Karey, an elderly marijuana dealer, was murdered at the back door of his Detroit home. Two brothers, Raymond and Thomas Highers, both now 46, were convicted of the killing in a three-week trial the following year.

But last Thursday, Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon threw out the convictions and ordered a new trial after a 2009 Facebook post prompted new witnesses to come forward. Two of those witnesses said they saw Karey being shot by two black men at the back door of his house. The Highers brothers are white.

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At a hearing Monday packed with friends and relatives, Talon was expected to release the brothers on bond as they await their new trial.

But he delayed a ruling on their release for two weeks while he seeks a recommendation from pretrial services based on their behavior while in prison. Meanwhile, prosecutors are appealing his decision to overturn the original conviction.

"It's been terrible, absolutely horrible," Scott Highers, Raymond and Thomas's little brother told ABC's Detroit affiliate WXYZ. "We've lost both of our parents. They're deceased. Growing up without your older brothers -- you know, I'm the baby, they're someone to look up to -- I never had the chance to do that."

During their 25 years in prison, the Highers brothers committed several offenses, including drug possession and starting fights.

The key witness in their 1987 trial was Thomas Culberson, a security guard who went to Karey's home to buy marijuana on the night of the murder. Culberson said he saw two white men fleeing the scene in a car, and later identified Raymond Highers as the driver and Thomas Highers as a passenger.

After a former Detroit resident, Kevin Zieleniewski, came across a Facebook post by Mary Evans about the men's life sentences in 2009, he reconnected with a former law school friend, John Hielscher, who told him decades ago that he had been at Karey's that night, and that Karey had been killed by black men, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Hielscher agreed to testify at an evidentiary hearing in March along with his friend James Gianunzio, who was also at Karey's when the shooting happened.

Hielscher and Gianunzio testified that they were at Karey's back door when they saw armed black men approach them and heard a gunshot before they fled, according to the Free Press.

Their testimony raised doubts over whether the Highers brothers were the white men Culberson saw fleeing.

On Thursday, Assistant Prosecutor Ana Quiroz argued in court that there was a conspiracy to free the Highers brothers, and that the new witnesses were not credible, according to the Free Press. Prosecutors argued in the original trial that the Highers brothers, who had bought marijuana from Karey before his murder, killed him in a dispute over money.

Judge Talon set a new hearing date of Aug. 13, when he said he would issue his decision on the brothers' release, WXYZ reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Off-Duty Cop's Gun Accidentally Fires, Killing Woman

ABC News(DETROIT) -- A friendly hug at a Detroit house party proved fatal for a woman after she accidentally discharged an off-duty cop's handgun.

Adaisha Miller, 24, attended a fish fry at the home of an off-duty Detroit police officer on Saturday and, at around midnight, began to hug or dance with the officer from behind and accidentally set off his gun, according to Detroit police chief Ralph Godbee, Jr.

The police department didn't release the name of the officer, but said that he has been cooperative with an internal investigation launched in the wake of the shooting and is shocked at what happened.

Godbee said that the officer had been concealing his department-issued .40 caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic hand gun in a holster in his waistband when Miller placed her hands on his waist. Godbee indicated that Miller had seemingly touched the gun in some way, causing it to fire. There is no safety switch on the weapon, he said.

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"I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying this but for the sake of transparency, it is possible for the trigger to be manipulated with that type of holster," Godbee said. "Typically the barrel is facing down, but the preliminary investigation indicates that there was some manipulation along the officer's waistline that he did not control and subsequently the weapon discharged."

Godbee said that there was no indication from evidence or witnesses that the officer had placed his hand on the weapon. The investigation will include forensic analysis by the Detroit State Police and a medical examiner's report.

"He is very remorseful of the incident and the tragic nature of this young lady losing her life in the manner she did," Godbee said.

Miller's mother, Yolanda McNair, told the Detroit Free Press that she has been told different versions of the events leading up to her daughter's death and can't understand why the officer was armed at his own party.

Police department spokeswoman Cassandra Lewis said that the prosecutor's office would decide whether any charges would be pressed in the case.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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