Police Accountability Advocates Form Coalition to Demand Justice from Detroit Police, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office
DETROIT — Today, Michigan Liberation, Color Of Change, Advancement Project National Office, The Mass Liberation Project, BYP100 Detroit, We the People – MI, and Detroit Action announced the creation of a joint coalition to demand accountability and transparency from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and the Detroit Police Department. The coalition was formed in response to the Detroit Police Department’s internal investigation into its own narcotics unit, which uncovered widespread corruption including planting evidence, lying to prosecutors, robbery, and embezzlement.
“We are calling for a full, independent investigation into the Detroit Police Department’s narcotics unit. We are also demanding the public release of records from all felony drug cases, including those filed by this narcotics unit, so that there is full transparency around the way these cases were handled” said Rai LaNier, Wayne County Director at Michigan Liberation.
Last month, an investigation by the Detroit Police Department’s internal affairs unit revealed a “pattern and practice” of corruption within the unit. Specifically, the investigation found multiple instances of officers planting evidence, lying to prosecutors to obtain search warrants, robbing alleged drug dealers, and embezzling funds to pay informants.
“Detroit law enforcement, as it stands, is failing the people it claims to serve,” said Scott Roberts, Senior Criminal Justice Campaign Director at Color Of Change. “Racist policing tactics, a lack of accountability, and rampant corruption are not just tearing our communities apart; they’re fueling a national mass incarceration crisis. Today, we are forming this coalition to take Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Chief of Police James Craig to task and to demand fairness, honesty, and transparency in our justice system.”
“These actions are not only dangerous and illegal; they represent a grave breach of trust between the police department and the community,” said Ashley Carter, Senior Staff Attorney at Advancement Project National Office. “We cannot allow the city’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens to be further subjected to the vigilante policing tactics exhibited by this department.”
The coalition hopes to ensure the integrity of the investigation into these allegations and highlight the broader impact of the accusations for the department and the community with the following demands:
- An independent probe into these damning accusations. The police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. Anything less than a full and thorough independent investigation is a miscarriage of justice.
- Immediate release of information involving cases implicated in this corruption scandal: specifically, exactly how many cases handled by the Detroit Police involving the narcotics unit officers and a timeline of events and internal decisions, beginning with when the corruption was initially discovered.
- The Office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy must immediately cease to prosecute cases reliant on evidence from this unit.
- The creation and publication of a list of officers that will be banned from providing evidence and/or testimony at hearings and trials.
- Dismissal of cases involving the officers named in the scandal, both open and closed.
- The appointment of an independent fact-finder.
In addition to these demands, the coalition has released a petition to underscore the deeply felt public outrage and the overwhelming community support for immediate action to ensure that justice is swiftly delivered on behalf of the people.
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 1.4 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.
Michigan Liberation is organizing to end the criminalization of Black families and communities of color in Michigan. We envision a transformation of our criminal justice system that will no longer produce mass incarceration or mass policing. We envision a state with the best public education in the nation, single payer healthcare which includes excellent mental health and healing services, and thriving Black and Brown communities. Michigan Liberation conducts grassroots organizing, lobbying and supports candidates that share our vision for Michigan. Visit www.miliberation.org
Advancement Project National Office is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org
The Mass Liberation Project is an effort to nurture grassroots organizing for the movement to create a world where prisons and punishment aren’t necessary. The project acts as a site of personal transformation, training, coaching and organizing strategy for those most impacted by mass incarceration and criminalization.