Mayor’s attorney rejects extensive allegations in suit

The Dearborn Press & Guide is reporting, “The mayor of Dearborn Heights continues to deny allegations made by a former employee who says he was dismissed from his role as director of the city’s Community & Economic Development Department because he is Arab American.

“The allegations are included in a complaint filed Oct. 2 in U.S. District Court on behalf of the employee, former CEDD Director Hassane Jamal. It claims the former department head was fired from his position on July 6, 2009, despite being ‘a member of a protected class with respect to age, race, national origin and religion.'”


Former law student prevails on First Amendment claim against MSU

Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield has ruled that a former Michigan State University law school student had a First Amendment right to confront a university parking officer who ticketed his SUV, reports The Lansing State Journal.

“In overturning the conviction of the former student, 26-year-old Jared Rapp, … Manderfield said the ordinance used by authorities to prosecute Rapp was unconstitutional,” according to The LSJ.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said his office will appeal Manderfield’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Dunnings said Rapp “went way over the line” in confronting the officer.

The case stemmed from a September 2008 incident in a campus parking ramp. Rapp’s Land Rover was ticketed for parking in a space with an expired meter.

New monitor approved for Detroit police

U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. has approved the appointment of Robert Warshaw to oversee implementation of two consent decrees that settled a Justice Department lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department, reports The Detroit News.

“Warshaw replaces Sheryl Robinson Wood, who resigned in July after the FBI discovered text messages that pointed to a personal relationship between her and former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick,” according to The News.

As a bonus, Warshaw’s monitoring is expected to cost $1.1 million per year, about half of what Wood’s monitoring efforts cost. Around the time the Woods-Kilpatrick controversy was coming to light, reports surfaced that questioned Woods’ expenditures.

New Detroit police monitor recommended

The city of Detroit and the U.S. Justice Department have recommended a former U.S. deputy drug czar who has extensive municipal police experience as a new federal monitor for the Detroit Police Department, reports The Detroit News.

“Robert Warshaw of Police Performance Solutions LLC has been recommended for the post and is still subject to the approval of U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr., who is to hold a hearing Monday,” according to The News.

The monitor’s job is to endure compliance with two 2003 consent decrees that ended a case brought by the U.S. Justice Department against the Detroit Police Department. The case alleged police brutality and other civil rights violations.

The search for a new monitor began after former monitor Sheryl Robinson Wood resigned amid reports, and a finding by Cook, that she and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had inappropriate communications about the case.

Jury rejects man’s body cavity search claim against Detroit cop

Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Osman had a couple of things to say yesterday at the trial of Terence Hopkins’ civil rights claim that Osman performed a body cavity search during the course of a traffic stop while Osman’s partner, Officer Michael Parish, stood by and did nothing.

“Number one, it’s illegal.”

“Number two, it’s disgusting.”

And, after deliberating for about an hour, the jury said, Number Three, plaintiff hasn’t proved his case, finding no cause of action for Hopkins.

Hopkins’ attorney, Marvin Barnett, who had asked the jury to award his client at least $1 million, said the verdict left him “speechless.”

From The Associated Press:

The verdict in Wayne County Circuit Court marked a reversal of fortunes for the city [of Detroit], which has paid more than $700,000 in settlements to four men who brought similar claims against the officers. Those settlements were deemed inadmissible as evidence during the Hopkins case. …

Among the payments Detroit has made to settle similar claims against the officers are two of $349,000 each to two men who didn’t file lawsuits. The city’s law department handled those claims without the knowledge or approval of the City Council, and Deputy Mayor Saul Green has vowed to investigate.

In January, the city settled a lawsuit for $20,000 and agreed to instruct police officers on proper body searches after a man claimed his genitals were squeezed by Parish.

There are at least five lawsuits pending against the “booty boys,” as Osman and Parish have been derisively nicknamed in southwest Detroit.

It’s not as bad as it sounded: Detroit deputy mayor says former city attorney isn’t racist

A white high-ranking city lawyer who lost her job because she described a court as “ghetto” isn’t a racist, a black deputy mayor says, but her comment could be interpreted as such, reports The Associated Press.

From The AP:

Saul Green made his comments in a deposition in a lawsuit filed by Kathleen Leavey, who was Detroit’s interim chief counsel until she was forced to resign in January after calling 36th District Court a “ghetto court.”

“I don’t believe Kathy is racist,” Green said, according to a portion of his Sept. 4 deposition filed Wednesday in federal court. “But the term can be used in a way that has a racist connotation to it regardless of whether the person who uses it is black or white.” …

Leavey has said she used the word in a conversation with a court employee to describe the court as inefficient and poor in serving the public. The court’s chief judge, who is black, heard about it and contacted Green — an angry call that led to Leavey’s departure.

She is suing the city for more than $75,000, arguing that she was punished for free speech. Leavey says there would have been no consequences if she were a black city employee in majority-black Detroit.

Settlement evidence excluded in Detroit police ‘Booty Boys’ case

The Detroit News reports that a judge Friday called a $700,000 secret settlement in a controversial police harassment case “stunning” but denied a motion to include it in an upcoming trial of another man who also alleged an illegal body cavity search by Detroit Police officers.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Michael F. Sapala denied the request of Terrance Allen Hopkins, who alleges he was groped by the officers known on city streets as the “Booty Boys.” But Sapala wondered aloud whether Detroit politics may have contributed to a 2007 settlement involving the two officers.

“It was a stunning amount to be paid without a lawsuit being filed,” said Sapala, who then declined to say anything further about the case.

More from The Detroit News.