Charles Lewis, in prison since the age of 17 in 1976 for a murder most eyewitnesses testified he did not commit. He will turn 59 May 13, 2018.

Release ALL 247 Michigan Juvenile Lifers being held without sentences, in violation of U.S. Supreme Court rulings and state law

“The guards couldn’t figure out if I should even be in handcuffs, because they had no sentence listed for me.”—Lewis, who will argue his own case

Hearing in courtroom of Judge Qiana Lillard, Rm. 502, Frank Murphy Hall, St. Antoine & Gratiot

Michigan also opposing good time credits for re-sentenced juvenile lifers who have not been released, violating 6th Circuit Court ruling

By Diane Bukowski

March 23, 2018

AP Thomas Dawson

Judge Qiana Lillard

DETROIT – Charles (K.K.) Lewis, the standard-bearer for 247 Michigan juvenile lifers being held without sentences, will face off again against Third Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard and Asst. Pros. Thomas Dawson Wed. March 28, to demand that he be released on bond pending a hearing on whether he should even be incarcerated. 

He says he stands for all Michigan juvenile lifers because their trial courts have no authority under state law to hold them indefinitely without sentencing.  The Michigan 247 are those facing new LWOP recommendations from county prosecutors, two-thirds of the total 363 state JLWOPers. 


Supporters of juvenile lifers Michael Calvin and Charles Lewis at June 18, 2017 rally, Juvenile Lifers for Justice. Calvin’s wife Kim Craighead is second from right.

Lewis said that during a recent trip to Jackson Prison for special medical care, “The guards couldn’t figure out if I should even be in handcuffs, because they don’t have a sentence listed for me.”  

Lewis will finally get to argue his case himself March 28, raising thoroughly  researched legal precedents that his previous attorneys Victoria Burton-Harris, Gregory Rohl, Valerie Newman and Felicia O’Connor evidently were too timid or compromised to argue. Lewis has spent his 42 years in prison becoming a highly skilled jail-house lawyer. 

Third Circuit Court Judge James Chylinski; Lewis says he has proper jurisdiction in his case according to records.

His motion reads in part, “Pursuant to People v West, 100 Mich App 498; 299 NW2d 59 (1980), an unauthorised delay in sentencing a defendant deprives the trial court of jurisdiction to sentence; a trial court cannot simply postpone sentencing and retain jurisdiction to sentence.” 

People v. West says in part, The unique factor present in this case which distinguishes it from the others which involve the above statute is that the trial court delayed sentencing. Unfortunately, the trial court had no power to delay sentencing in this instance, since defendant was convicted of armed robbery, one of the crimes excepted by the probation statute, MCL 771.1; MSA 28.1131.” 

Lewis says he has been held without a sentence since Third Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell, Jr. granted him a sentence re-hearing on Oct. 12, 2012 after the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama (2012). The U.S. and Michigan Supreme Courts vacated his life without parole sentence in 2016, after a second USSC ruling that Miller was retroactive (Montgomery v. Louisiana, 2016.)

In his motion, Lewis also says he should have been acquitted and freed in March, 1977, citing a Michigan Supreme Court case that bars judges from independently dismissing juries without formal proceedings involving the defendant. 

“The Defendant is currently being held in prison illegally,” the motion reads. “The Defendant’s first jury was dismissed sua sponte by Judge Joseph E. Maher on March 22, 1977. All subsequent legal proceedings held after March 22, 1977 were double jeopardy barred by People v Benton, 402 Mich 47 (1979).”  

Third Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas said in a lengthy written opinion Aug. 12, 2006 that Lewis should therefore have been considered acquitted. MCL 770.1 says that a judge can vacate a conviction at any time, “when it appears to the court that justice has not been done.” 

Judge Thomas also agreed with Lewis’ contention in his current motion that the state’s failure to hold a Pearson evidentiary hearing within 30 days meant that he should have been released in 1980 as well. 

Lewis is also challenging Judge Lillard’s jurisdiction in his case. His motion says that Third Circuit Court Deputy Clerk David Baxter took it on himself illegally to deny a writ signed by Judge James Chylinksi to hold his re-sentencing there on June 20, 2013. He says that violated the separation of powers in the state judicial system. 

In both of Lewis’ trials, the juries heard from Detroit police officer Dennis Van Fleteren and numerous other eyewitnesses that they saw another man, not Lewis, kill off-duty officer Gerald A. Sypitkowski with a shotgun blast July 31, 1976. The Detroit Free Press confirmed those witness statements in an article from the scene the next day. 

During a federal court hearing on the ACLU’s Hill v. Snyder case March 22, lead plaintiff Henry Hill, now free after 37 years in prison, pursuant to U.S. Supreme Court rulings outlawing mandatory juvenile life without parole, spoke to VOD on behalf of the Michigan 247 he left behind. He singled out in particular juvenile lifer Michael Calvin, who he said should never have been sentenced to JLWOP at the age of 15. 

Henry Hill of Saginaw, free after 37 years of unconstitutional JLWOP sentence

“I think the state is violating the U.S. Supreme Court rulings that require a ‘meaningful opportunity for release’ for juvenile lifers,” Hill said. “Many of the 247 don’t even meet the criteria for life sentences. Michael Calvin is one of them. The actual shooter in his case was released over 30 years ago. Michigan doesn’t follow its own laws, only what works for them, not for us.” 

Lewis estimates that at least 20 percent of juvenile lifers are actually innocent, leaving them in a quandary because if they are resentenced, they must face the parole board. 

Michigan’s parole board is notorious for demanding excruciatingly detailed statements of guilt from prisoners, as a chief condition for their parole. 

Attorney Anlyn Addis told VOD that some juvenile lifers absolutely refuse to admit guilt even if it means they will never be freed, while others compromise and lie to re-enter the world. 

Atty. Deborah LaBelle

The federal hearing also considered the plight of 53 juvenile lifers who have been re-sentenced to terms of years, but not yet released, because the state of Michigan is now contesting a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court ruling that good time and disciplinary credits must be applied to reduce their time in prison. They are also being denied rehabilitative programming to prepare for parole. 

Michigan has the second highest number of juvenile lifers in the world, Atty. Deborah LaBelle told U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith. She and ACLU attorney Daniel Korobkin also argued for class certification of ALL the state’s juvenile lifers.  

The state wants to exclude the Michigan 247 from that certification. Michigan and Louisiana are considered the two states in the U.S. with the most recalcitrant policies regarding juvenile lifers. 

Some of Charles Lewis’ supporters outside Frank Murphy Hall before his hearing Oct. 11, 2016.

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(The officer in the video above was later identified as Lonnie Wade.)

By Calvin Hodges

March 23, 2018

Lonnie Wade at arraignment.

In October 2017 at the Meijer Store on Eight Mile Road in Detroit, a person who was later identified by the news media as David Bivins was brutally assaulted and illegally arrested by a Detroit Police Officer. This officer, later identified by the news media as Lonnie Wade, was working in the capacity of a private security officer, while in his full City of Detroit police uniform and in the possession of City of Detroit police equipment and property at all times during the course of the incident.   

The primary purpose of police officers and their requisite training is to use the powers granted to them under State law  to enforce felony criminal and misdemeanor laws by apprehending  and arresting  persons who have committed violations thereof,  by paramilitary methods if necessary. Meanwhile, the primary purpose of regular Security Officers under State law, who may have limited formal training if any, is to detain persons by reasonable force ONLY, who have been observed to have violated “Retail Fraud felony and misdemeanor laws” while acting as an agent of their employer.  

Other misdemeanor detentions are not authorized under State law, only others involving felonies affecting them as an agent or as a private citizen under Common law. This is unless the security officer and their employer have been authorized under a separate state or federal statute and have received in most cases training similar to regular police officers, to operate generally on campus like settings and other semi-public places. 

Since then another incident of police brutality and excessive force has been documented as having occurred on March 11, 2018 at a business named “Ottava Via” serving retail alcohol for consumption on the premises on Michigan Avenue in the City of Detroit.  Purportedly, while off –duty, a City of Detroit Police Commander identified as “Timothy Leach,”  in civilian clothes and working as security for the business had an altercation with a male patron identified as “Michael Karpovich.” Leach allegedly severely injured Karpovich, then failed to render aid to him and did not report his actions to the proper persons as required by the City of Detroit Police Department Policies.     

Detroit Police Cdr. Timothy Leach

It has already been determined that police working second jobs should not be employed by entities which may be covered under their police powers including those that provide alcohol and tobacco products for sale. Previous court decisions, and the rules and regulations of most reputable police agencies, indicate that this should be the policy as such employment conflicts with the public interest and leads to corruption.

 Moreover, courts have ruled in many cases that it is almost impossible to determine or separate when an off -duty police officer as a private person detains or attempts to detain a person, or as a private security officer detains a person as an agent of his employer under a State law, whether or not such a person has been merely detained or has been detained or arrested by the off duty officer as a law enforcement officer “Under Color of State Law.” This is a much higher and constitutionally held standard involving “due process rights” for the person detained. 

Finally, the current DPOA contract, the “MASTER AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF THE DETROIT AND THE DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION 2014 – 2019” lists on pages 66 & 67 in Section 42, “OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT,” examples of types of regulated employers which are prohibited for second jobs. It also says in the fourth paragraph that officers in engaged in second jobs should not use city uniforms or equipment in their performance of those second jobs. 

 Also there are similar provisions concerning outside employment by City of Detroit Police Supervisors contained in their contracts as well. See “Master Agreement 2014-2019 between the City of Detroit and Lieutenant & Sergeant Association” pages 17 & 18 Section 14. Outside Employment, and the “Master Agreement 2014-2019 between the City of Detroit and Command Officers Association” page 11 Section 13. Outside Employment.

Also being ignored are provisions contained in the 2012 City of Detroit Charter see page 18 Section 2-106.1 2.d “Ethical Standards of Conduct.”

(See attachment for the rules cited above at

Mike Duggan (l)celebrates second mayoral victory with
Wayne Co. Sheriff Benny Napoleon (formerly Detroit police chief), and current Police Chief James Craig at right. One city for WHO?

 In conclusion the question should be asked why have Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig, DPOA President Mark Diaz, LSA President Mark Young and COA President Aric Tosqui authorized or otherwise permitted these type of employment arrangements? They are an assault on their contracts and violate the City Charter. They put the general public, the Detroit taxpayers and the poor underpaid and overworked police officers themselves at risk at jobs which history shows they are not properly suited for, and are barred from holding under specific provisions in the current DPOA contract, the LSA contract, the COA contract and the City Charter.

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Police fired 2o times in dark backyard

P.R. Lockhart

March 21, 2018.

Stephon Clark. 22, with his two young children.

SACRAMENTO, CA–Officers say they mistook Stephon Clark’s cellphone for a gun. Activists want more answers.

Police killings of unarmed black men helped fuel the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Now a new tragedy — the shooting death of an unarmed black man in his own backyard — is raising new questions about how much things have changed, if at all.

On Sunday, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot in the backyard of the home he was staying in with his grandparents. Police officers were purportedly responding to reports of a man breaking car windows.

According to a press release issued by the Sacramento Police Department, a helicopter tracking a suspect directed the officers to Clark, who ran towards the house after being confronted by officers. The police department said Clark turned and began to “advance forward with his arms extended, and holding an object in his hands.”

The officers, who are said to have thought the object was a gun, then fired 20 rounds at Clark. It’s unclear how many of the shots hit Clark, but other facts aren’t in dispute, and they’re disturbing: After the shooting, officers waited several minutes for backup before moving to handcuff Clark and beginning medical treatment. And the only item he turned out to have been carrying was a cellphone.

The shooting has sparked public outcry both locally and nationally. And, nearly four years after the death of Michael Brown sparked the rise of Black Lives Matter and brought more attention to racial disparities in police shootings, the Clark case serves as a stark reminder that even as national attention has waned, unarmed Black men and women continue to experience deadly encounters with police.

There are a lot of questions and few answers about the Sacramento shooting 

Clark’s grandmother Sequita Thompson recounts horror from the window behind the backyard where he was killed by police.

What happened immediately before Clark’s shooting remains unclear, and his family and community are demanding answers.

”He was at the wrong place at the wrong time in his own backyard?” Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, said to the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday. Thompson also said that though she heard the gunshots, she never heard the police ask Clark to drop what he was holding. Clark’s family also said that they were not immediately told that their relative was the man killed in their backyard.

At a city council meeting in Sacramento on Tuesday, local activists argued that the police department’s multiple statements on the shooting have only added to the confusion. “They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a ‘tool bar,’ whatever that is,” Tanya Faison, founder of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told reporters. “Then they put out that he had a wrench, and then they put out that he just had a cellphone. They need to get it together.”

The officers who shot Clark have each served in the Sacramento Police Department for less than five years, and were placed on paid leave while the investigation continues. Both officers were wearing body cameras. A local ordinance requires that footage from the cameras be released to the public within 30 days, and the department says that it plans to release video and audio from the helicopter in the near future.

Clark’s shooting is the latest in a troubling pattern

Clark’s death follows several high profile police shootings of black men in recent years. According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, some 230 people have been shot and killed by police in 2018. 38 of those people were identified as Black in news reports.

Research has shown that there are significant racial disparities in police use of force. While these disparities are most commonly attributed to issues like implicit bias and systemic racism, recent research has also noted that specific factors like high levels of housing segregation and economic inequality also play a role in where police shootings occur and who they affect.

“It’s not just about how individuals interact, but how society is structured,” Michael Siegel, the author of a recent study examining the relationship between housing segregation and structural inequality to police violence, told the Intercept earlier this month.

At this point, it is unclear what the results of the police investigation will be, or if the officers will face charges for the shooting. But when police officers shoot civilians, it is rare that these cases lead to prosecution. As Vox’s German Lopez has noted, police are given wide latitude to use force and only have to reasonably perceive a threat at the time of the shooting for their actions to be legally just.

Grandmother Sequita Thompson (seated) leads Clark’s family in prayer vigil.

Lists of killings by law enforcement in the U.S. (Wikipedia)

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Maryanne Godboldo–carry on her battle for our children.



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ANOTHER FLINT? An aerial view of the proposed new Criminal Justice Complex at E. Ferry and I-75; new housing has also been placed there.

Housing already built in allegedly polluted east side area, I-75 at Ferry

City Council has now voted to put new “Criminal Justice Complex” there

By Ron Seigel


March 17, 2018

Council Pres. Brenda Jones campaigns for U.S. Congress

DETROIT — In late January Brenda Jones, council president of the city of Detroit, announced she was running for the congressional seat in the 13th district, formally held by retired Congressman John Conyers.

She declared in a colorful way, “My platform for congress is the same urban agenda I have always championed JONES –Jobs, Opportunities, Neighborhoods, Education, and Safety.”

Last year, well before she ran for congress, Hilanius Phillips, a former Detroit Head City Planner attended a public meeting she organized and raised some very serious questions about public safety.

Phillips warned that air pollution in the area slated for housing on the east side of Detroit around East Ferry and the I-75 Expressway could produce the same health problems as the water pollution that caused the Flint water crisis.

He has specifically said that because residents would get air pollution from the medical waste incinerator, a liquid waste plant, and traffic from the expressway, those living there could face sickness, breathing problems, and lead poisoning, while the children could also develop learning disabilities.

At that particular meeting Jones claimed the city never approved the housing there and she publicly promised to investigate the matter.

For months as a free-lance reporter I made continuous calls to Jones’ council office to find out about the investigation she promised to make. She was always unavailable. After many attempts to get information, I was finally referred to an aide, who told me she knew nothing about it and could not speak for the council president.

Hilanius Phillips outside Council hearing Sept 17, 2012, opposing Belle Isle state takeover.

The housing was built in that area. Then, last summer Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans set up a land deal, where a new Wayne County Criminal Justice Complex would be built precisely in the center of the area Phillips warned about, the intersection of East Ferry and the expressway.

The location was unanimously approved by the Detroit City Council, with Jones herself voting for it. Before this issue can go forward, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners also has to approve putting the complex there. One hopes there will be some serious deliberation before they make such a decision.

If Phillips is correct about the environmental hazards of the area, anyone incarcerated in the Criminal Justice Complex, employed there, or even entering it to testify, could be affected.

Phillips, who is African American, is particularly concerned about how Black people will be affected.

“As a disproportionate number of inmates are Black as are those in the newly constructed housing,” he said, “it appears that beyond [brutal] policing, Black lives do not matter, when it comes to environmentally racist land projects.”

However, as John Donne and Ernest Hemingway would have put it, no racial group can say the bell only tolls for other groups. It would toll for all of them.

Protest against Flint water crisis/Photo: Record Eagle

It would seem that blue lives wouldn’t matter, since the complex would contain guards, a sheriff’s office and police working there eight hours a day.

The complex would contain a court with prosecutor, lawyers, court clerks, secretaries and witnesses. It would even have high officials, such as the warden, the sheriff and the judges.

To some extent this may turn out to be an equal opportunity disaster, a catastrophe affecting all.

If these projects are indeed dangerous, Council President Jones may be facing criminal charges. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette declared the Flint Water Crises occurred because officials in charge of the water system failed to “placed the health, safety, and welfare of citizens first” and had a “preoccupation with data, finance, and cost” at the expense of average citizens.

A number of state officials involved in the Flint situation have faced prosecution from the Attorney General’s office on charges of involuntary homicide.*

If the same conditions develop in Detroit at the East Ferry housing or the Criminal Justice Complex, Detroit officials may be in the same boat.

In her congressional campaign, Council President Jones must answer whether anyone investigated the environmental safety of the eastside area, as she promised, and if so what they discovered.

The voters have a right to know.



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Thelonious Searcy (r, seated) listens as his attorney Michael Dezsi plays Vincent Smothers’ confession, taped by private investigator Scott Lewis, into the record. Smothers is on stand with head bowed. Asst. Pros. Thomas M. Chambers is at right.

By Diane Bukowski

Former hitman takes stand on behalf of wrongfully convicted Searcy

Offered “only the possibility of more time”–Smothers

“I really do believe he’s going to come home”–Edna Richardson, Searcy’s grandmother

VOD broke this story June 10, 2017

March 19, 2018

DETROIT – Against his attorney’s advice, former Detroit hitman Vincent Smothers, the confessed killer of four people in the notorious wrongful conviction of 14-year-old Davontae Sanford, took the stand in a packed courtroom today to testify that he, not Thelonious Searcy, murdered Jamal Segars on Sept. 6, 2004.

Vincent Smothers begins his testimony regarding the killing of Jamal Segars March 19, 2018.

Searcy has been in prison for 14 years, leaving a young wife and two small daughters behind. He fought his conviction vigorously all along, on a pro se basis, and finally attained today’s evidentiary hearing in front of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny, his trial judge, after Smothers’ confession surfaced.

“I’m really happy and excited,” Searcy’s grandmother Edna Richardson said. “I really do believe he’s going to come home.” Richardson has played a key role in Searcy’s battle, hiring private investigator Scott Lewis and maintaining her grandson’s records at her home. Searcy’s daughters  said they were thrilled, but nervous at the same time, hoping that the hearing will result in their dad’s release. 

Searcy’s court-appointed attorney Michael Dezsi said he was astonished when Smothers took the stand himself. He said Smothers’ attorney Gabi Silver earlier advised him to take the Fifth Amendment instead. Dezsi had planned to have private investigator Scott Lewis testify about the taped confession he took from Smothers in his place.

Silver appeared briefly in court, then left while her client told the story of his murder of Segars during a Labor Day weekend “Black Party,” consisting of hundreds of cars packing Conner and Gratiot Avenues by City Airport. Smothers said the killing was not a hit. He said cars were stopped bumper to bumper when he approached Segars, an alleged drug dealer, from behind on foot. Smothers said he shot Segars multiple times until he got to the driver’s side door, where he took several hundred dollars Segars was holding.

Smothers said he had an accomplice, Jeffery Daniels, who died about two weeks later in a case involving the sale of fake drugs. He said Daniels only fired his gun in the air once. Afterwards, Smothers said, he gave Daniels both guns to take back with him. Smothers said he lived in the suburbs.

He said after he shot Segars, a Detroit police car began pursuing Daniels on his way back to the car he had come in, but it crashed into a burgundy-colored Marauder that was coming out of a store parking lot. He said that t

Searcy’ s cousin Richard Searcy (l) and brother Vaughn Thompson (r) join grandmother Edna Richardson. 

he passenger in the police car got out and began firing at Daniels, but that both he and Daniels managed to get back to their cars and leave the area without being arrested.

“Did anybody promise you anything to get you to testify today?” Dezsi asked Smothers.

“Only the possibility of more time,” Smothers said calmly. He remained composed throughout his testimony. He appeared to have aged significantly since his incarceration. Asked by prosecutor Thomas Chambers whether he confessed because he didn’t have anything to lose, he said “Fifty to 100 years isn’t life.”

Smothers is currently serving that sentence for the murders of eight people. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has never charged him for the four murders she claimed Sanford committed, in an east side “drug house” on Runyon Street in 2007.

Searcy’s daughter LaShyra Thomas and grandmother with Edna Richardson.

Smothers confessed to Detroit police about those killings shortly after Sanford, 14 at the time, was convicted. Sanford served nine and a half years in prison despite that fact that eyewitness reports initially taken by the Detroit police, and later exposed by the Michigan State Police, showed from day one that he was not the killer.

“It’s very hard to do prison time when you’re guilty, but it’s twice as hard if you’re innocent,” Smothers said. He has said he now regrets his crimes and wants the families of the people he killed at least to know the truth.

Smothers said Michigan State Police also questioned him about the murder of Jamal Segars while they were re-investigating the Runyon Street murders at the request of the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic. They had Smothers’ written confession to the Segars murder at the time, Smothers said.

“They told me that if they got off into that investigation, it would stop Davontae’s case, so I recanted it at the time,” Smothers said.

Prof. David Moran (l), who heads the U-M Innocence Clinic, joins the family of Davontae Sanford to announce filing of motion for relief from judgment that led to his release.

Professor David Moran, head of the U-M Innocence Clinic, earlier told VOD that it would be “improper for him to comment” on Searcy’s case, as well as that of Charles Lewis, a juvenile lifer with an innocence claim who has served 42 years in prison. Moran sent an unsolicited JPay email to Searcy telling him they could not represent him.

Dezsi also introduced into evidence some of Smothers’ numerous prior attempts to let criminal justice officials, including Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and police, media outlets, and even Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder know that he, not Searcy, killed Segars. 

Smothers said he received no response from any of those he contacted. In previous stories, VOD has described how he finally contacted Searcy indirectly, sending him a letter to let him know he was responsible for the Segars murder. At today’s hearing, Dezsi had him identify two notarized affidavits he signed in Dec. 2015 for Scott Lewis, including one with a map of the area on which he identified the route he and Daniels took before and after the killing of Segars.

During today’s hearing, private investigator Scott Lewis’ taped interview with Smothers about the Segars murder was played over the objection of the prosecutor. Smothers identified it for the record. VOD was the first media outlet to publish this interview on June 10, 2017, after Scott Lewis forwarded it with Mrs. Richardson’s permission.

Lewis himself took the stand to testify how he contacted Smothers for the interview, through the warden of the prison where Smothers was located, and also the process he went through to get the affidavits used.

Judge Kenny ordered the hearing to continue Thurs. March 22, at 10 a.m., although it is listed on the Register of Actions at 9 a.m. The Michigan State Troopers who interviewed Smothers are among those set to testify. Later, Marzell Black, Smothers’ co-defendant in the killing of Rose Cobb, commissioned by her police officer husband, is expected to take the stand to testify to his knowledge of Smothers’ involvement in the Segars killing.

Related stories:


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Gwen Mingo (r) and niece Courtnee Seely after court victory March 14, 2017

Judge Millender stops eviction, finally acknowledges documents showing Mingo’s mortgage paid off in 2006, after 3rdCC refused to do so

Atty. for Madison Capital Funding, LLC threatens Mingo before hearing, but loses anyway

By Diane Bukowski 

March 16, 2018

36th DC Judge B. Pennie Millender

DETROIT – On the brink of eviction from her classic Brush Park home due to a fraudulent mortgage foreclosure, community leader Gwendolyn Mingo finally got a judge to acknowledge documents showing that her mortgage was paid off in 2006.

Thirty-Sixth District Court Judge Pennie Millender thereby stopped her eviction by Madison Capital Funding, LLC, a company with $9.1 billion in assets. The judge set the next hearing on the matter for April 5 at 10 a.m. A jury trial is still possible though not likely.

“Your honor, the mortgage was paid in 2006 when my husband passed,” Mingo told Judge Millender March 14. “We had what you call credit life insurance which paid the whole mortgage to Washington Mutual. I have documents that have never been seen by any judge or ruled upon. The U.S. Constitution provides that no citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.”

As head of the Brush Park Citizens District Council, Mingo led a decades-long battle to save the homes of the region’s Black majority residents from a white supremacist takeover.

During this hearing, she was up against Madison Capital Funding, LLC, a national finance company with $9.1 billion in assets, represented by Southfield-based attorney Eric K. Wein. Wein appears to have been an independent hired gun for Madison Capital, unassociated with any law firm. Prior to the hearing, Mingo said, Wein took her outside the courtroom and brutally threatened her.  She said the company has been harassing her daily with multiple phone calls.

In her answer to Madison Capital’s eviction complaint, Mingo noted among other issues:



Judge Millender reviewed Mingo’s documents and read them into the record, actions which Third Judicial Circuit Court judges earlier refused to take. The documents  consisted of two simple letters from Washington Mutual and Chase Banks. Washington Mutual said in its letter, “You have paid off your mortgage and the mortgagee no longer has an interest in your home.” (See filing by Mingo at .)

HQ of Madison Capital Funding, LLC is in Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Mingo explained that while her case was in circuit court, Judge Robert Ziolkowski was about to rule in her favor, but was suddenly removed from her case by then acting Chief Judge Patricia Fresard, who assigned the case to Judge Lita Popke. Mingo said then the key documents went missing from her file, and later the entire file disappeared.

Then the Michigan Supreme Court instituted a mandatory e-filing procedure for several Circuit Courts including the Third Circuit.

“Judge Fresard wouldn’t acknowledge the hard copies that I gave her; she said they had to be e-filed,” Mingo said. “I asked her could I read them into the record. She denied me the opportunity to read them into the record. All I’m saying your honor, if you have documents saying your mortgage was paid off the court should consider those documents. That is a denial of due process.”

Mingo said she tried to e-file the documents 27 times, but the system rejected them 27 times. She said later Chief Judge Robert Colombo ordered that the e-filing be waived, but her judge refused to comply.

“She would not recognize his order,” Mingo said. “She would not entertain these documents. She said she would lose her job if she even recognized that they exist.”

Gwen Mingo at her Brush Park home. She led a valiant campaign to stop the takeover of the storied Black neighborhood.

Wein sputtered that there had been a sheriff’s sale, he had the sheriff’s deed, and Madison Capital had bought the property at auction. They waited out the six-month redemption period during which Mingo would have had to pay for the house again, and then took eviction action.

But Judge Millender said, “It does seem there are documents that she paid the mortgage so I don’t think I have any jurisdiction over this matter. . . .you guys have to do a quiet title action. I am looking at two documents, one reads ‘the mortgage is paid off, the mortgagee no longer has an interest in your home,’ issued Jan. 29, 2008. There’s something in here from Chase that reads $0 is due on all charges.”

Millender added later, “I’ve had a couple of cases where the Wayne County Treasurer sold properties they didn’t even own.”

Millender adjourned the hearing until April 5 at 10 a.m. to give Mingo a chance to get a copy of her verification of mortgage, and give Wein the opportunity to double check the documents Mingo presented.

Black residents of Brush Park were driven out by arson and other means during the city’s corporate gentrification campaign.

Afterward, Wein approached Mingo and her niece Courtnee Seely again, complaining about the cost to his company of getting needed documents, and saying he needed her Social Security number.

After VOD threatened to tape the conversation, he went away.

Mingo told VOD thousands of Detroit residents continue to be summarily removed from their homes using similar illegal methods.

“For years I fought the illegal displacement of the residents of Brush Park,” Mingo said, referring to the time she was head of the Brush Park Citizens District Council. “It seemed to follow a pattern. The residents were all packed up, but they were really homeless with no money to move and no place to go. They were supposed to get $18,000 each in moving expenses from the city but they never did. There was supposed to be a relocation office set up in the neighborhood, but it never was. Most of the people forced out from Brush Park and the Brewster projects didn’t live long afterward.”

Mingo, who was a teacher, said she had worked all her life and was mortified to be victimized by the fraudulent eviction action taken by the banks and courts.

“Leaders across the nation have to come together to stop this,” she said. “There is no middle class anymore, just the super-rich. They are exterminating us, like they did in the concentration camps.”


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Detroit cop Robert Bulgarelli (l) who invaded Searcy’s grandmother’s home to arrest Searcy on wrongful charges, terrorizing his young wife and two young daughters. This is an old photo of the “Big Four” as they were known on Detroit’s streets. They still operate as “The Gang Squad,” “The Special Response Team,” and under other names, contributing  to the epidemic of mass incarceration and wrongful convictions.

By Diane Bukowski

March 13, 2018

Vincent Smothers repeatedly confessed on tape and in written affidavits to the murder for which Searcy has served 14 years 

Searcy has fought for exoneration during all those years, also based on police use of “snitch” witness and false crime lab reports

Send letters of support for Thelonious Searcy, #535985 to Presiding Criminal Judge Timothy Kenny, at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, #602, 1441 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226

Thelonious Shawn Searcy, a/k/a “Skinnyman”

DETROIT–A long-awaited evidentiary hearing during which Thelonious Shawn Searcy, a/k/a “Skinnyman,” and his court-appointed attorney Michael R. Dezsi will challenge his 2004 first-degree murder conviction is currently set for Mon. March 19, 2018 at 9 a.m. in front of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny.

“An ever present peril for the criminal justice system is the conviction of an innocent person,” Searcy says in his July, 2016 motion and brief asking for the hearing.

“Under our judicial system, two propositions are clear: Justice is the search for truth and the judicial system is staffed by fallible human beings who inevitably err. As a consequence of these two conflicting propositions some means must exist to exonerate those legally guilty but actually innocent—balancing the interests in finality and efficiency with the interest in fundamental fairness.”

Searcy, 38, has been in prison for 14 years for the murder of Jamal Segars and the wounding of Brian Minner during a crowded “Black Party” Labor Day weekend event in the streets around Detroit City Airport. He and his family have always maintained his innocence, testifying that he was with them at a family barbecue at the time of the killing.  But it was not until his grandmother Edna Richardson hired private investigator Scott Lewis, formerly a well-known investigative news reporter, that a break in his case finally came.

P.I.  Scott Lewis

Atty. Michael Dezsi

Lewis interviewed Vincent Smothers, a self-confessed hitman who committed the four Runyon Street murders in 2007 for which Davontae Sanford was wrongfully convicted. Smothers admitted on tape and in affidavits that he also killed Segars, that Searcy was not involved.

Since Smothers’ attorney Gabi Silver has advised him to invoke the Fifth Amendment, Lewis told VOD that attorney Dezsi expects him to take the stand to testify to the validity of his taped interview with Smothers, as well as the affidavits and other evidence he obtained in the case. 

“Dezsi has held the title of Metro Times Best Attorney since 2011,” says his website. “He has been called upon to handle some of the highest profile and complex cases seen in the courts.  Dezsi has appeared and argued cases all over the country in both state and federal courts. Dezsi has trial expertise in both high stakes criminal and civil trials with a reputation for aggressive strategies for his clients.  He has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of his clients.”

Lewis interviewed Smothers on tape as below.

Searcy, who had no previous criminal record, had been fighting his case without success on a pro per basis since his incarceration. After filing numerous motions, he received a letter from Smothers sent through an intermediary, dated Aug. 22, 2015, stating that he had just become aware that Searcy was charged with a crime Smothers committed.

Later, Smothers executed a notarized affidavit dated Dec. 21. 2015 in which he said, “I’m coming forward with this information about the murder of JAMAL SEGARS, because I heard it’s a innocent man sentenced, for this crime. I want to tell the truth about every vile murder I committed in the city of Detroit. I want to give all my victims’ family closure for their loved one’s death.” 


Smothers sent letters confessing to the Segars murder to Detroit police and prosecutors, along with several media outlets, without a response. He said he and a partner, Jeffery Daniels, who was killed two weeks after the Segars murder, were responsible.

Davontae Sanford is not the only common link between his and Searcy’s cases.

DPD Sgt. Dale Collins

AP Patrick Muscat 

Detroit Police Investigator Dale Collins, known for his use of “jail-house snitches,” was involved in both, and Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Muscat prosecuted both Sanford and Searcy. Searcy’s current prosecutor is listed as Thomas Chambers.

Meanwhile, Searcy filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing and new trial based on “newly-discovered evidence” July 22, 2016, citing Smothers’ confession as well

Detroit Police Sgt. Kevin Reed

as allegations that the prosecution’s chief witness was actually a “snitch” whose charges in a gun case were dropped in exchange for his testimony. He says the “snitch’s” uncle executed an affidavit swearing that he heard a conversation between his nephew and a young woman offering to pay her for testimony that she saw Searcy commit the murder.

Neither of two Detroit police officers who engaged in a shoot-out with Smothers’ accomplice, nor Segars’ friend Brian Minner, who was in the car with him, could identify Searcy as the shooter in the case.

Searcy also contends that ballistics evidence used at the trial was faulty, produced by Kevin Reed, the Detroit police officer whose error-ridden work in the Detroit crime lab led to its shutdown in 2009. Reed was not qualified as a forensic ballistics expert at the time.

But Searcy’s motion lay dormant in his file until Judge Kenny belatedly ordered the prosecution to respond to the motion on June 8, 2017. The prosecution agreed in its response that an evidentiary hearing was in order and recommended that the court appoint attorneys for both Searcy and Smothers.

Kenny was still reluctant. His assistant told a family member of Searcy’s that he planned to issue an order without a hearing. Later, however, an official with the Office of the General Counsel confirmed that the evidentiary hearing would indeed be held.

Atty. Gabi Silver represents Vincent Smothers

Smothers was at a prelude to the full evidentiary hearing Jan. 29, 2018, during which the final date of March 19 was set. But Lewis told this reporter that Smothers’ attorney Gabi Silver recommended that he invoke his Fifth-Amendment rights when he takes the stand March 19. Therefore, Lewis said Searcy’s attorney Michael R. Deszi plans to put him on the stand to testify regarding the taped confession and affidavits given by Smothers to Lewis.

Smothers did not testify in Davontae Sanford’s case, either, despite his offer to do so and earlier, Silvers’ offer to testify in his stead. But the Michigan State Police investigator’s report on the Sanford case, which cited Smothers’ confession, as well as broad publicity and an ongoing campaign led by Sanford’s family, eventually forced Pros. KymWorthy to withdraw the charges against Sanford “without prejudice,” and Judge Brian Sullivan  to agree. Both officials, however, continued to support their original findings in the Sanford case, Worthy in a live-streamed press conference and Sullivan in his order, which questioned the validity of Smothers’ confession.

Later, Sanford’s devoted stepfather Jeremaine Tilmon was killed in a highly questionable case, and Sanford himself was shot in the leg while at the Martin Luther King Apartments.

So it is clear that public support for Searcy will be vital during his hearing March 19 in front of Judge Kenny, Room 602 of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, 1441 St. Antoine at Gratiot.

Related stories:’s-task-force-continues-battle-to-expose-crime-lab-crimes-in-protests-at-fed-bldg-city-council/

#FreeTheloniousSearcy, #JailCrookedCopsProsecutorsJudges, #FreeCharlesLewis, #FreeAllWrongfullyConvictedPrisoners

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Wakanda’s king T’Challa


Margaret Kimberley,

BAR editor and senior columnist

 March 7, 2018 

Eric Killmonger

VOD editor note: VOD earlier published a stock Vanity Fair review of this movie, but I didn’t see it until afterwards. I wish I had, because although I enjoyed the movie itself, I grieved for the death of T’Challa’s young cousin from California, Eric Killmonger, who believed that Wakanda’s resources of vibranium and technology should be spread across the world to his people through armed struggle. As he said, he preferred to die as did his ancestors on the slaveships rather than be taken prisoner.

In the end, T’Challa speaks in front of a United Nations-style forum to call on all nations to join together peacefully with the aid of Wakanda’s technology. Whether that is possible is highly unlikely. What would this murderous U.S. superpower do if it got its hands on vibranium? Same thing it did in Libya, under a Black president, by destroying a country that wanted self-determination for the African continent, and by viciously assassinating its heroic leader, Muammar Gaddafi. As Hilary Clinton gloated, “We came, we saw, he died.”

 “Questioners are ‘hoteps’ who are too woke to have fun.”

South African President Nelson Mandela and Libyan Pres. Muammar Gadhafi after first U.S. bombing in 1987; Hillary Clinton later gave the orders to assassinate Gadhafi in second wave of US/NATO annihilation of Libya.

The desire to see a black face in a high place is a legacy of slavery and the century of Jim Crow segregation that followed. The psychological impact of America’s apartheid is enduring, and unlikely to end without true revolutionary change.

Black people are loath to do anything that might dim the luster that emanates when one of the group becomes rich, famous or successful in some realm that was hitherto off limits. Celebrities, athletes, CEOs and presidents are exempt from question or critique and are protected by millions of people who feel affirmation through their presence.

Anyone who grew up in the 1950s or 1960s can recall when the sight of a black person on television was cause for celebration. The words “There’s a colored person on television,” were like magic. It isn’t difficult to understand why this would be the case. Black people were either absent from mass media altogether or were demeaned and demonized on the rare occasions when their existence was acknowledged.

“A CIA agent is depicted as being an ally to an African nation.”

Black Panther’s CIA agent.

In light of this sad history it is not surprising that the recently released Black Panther film has been such a huge commercial success and emotional touchstone. But the story line is problematic for politically conscious people. Among other things, a CIA agent is depicted as being an ally to an African nation. That plot point alone is questionable.

But any attempt to dissect the plot, discuss its political implications or do anything other than sit in rapt awe is met with contempt and even anger. The Black Agenda Report team is accustomed to the epithet “hater” being applied to any analysis of the black and successful. This time a movie, not even a person, stands in for millions of people and their desire for validation.

The release of this film was anticipated for months. Audiences immediately raced to theaters to ensure they missed nothing before plot spoilers ruined their experience. Some dressed up like characters or wore Afrocentric clothing. The cry went out, “There are colored people on screen!”

This columnist experienced personal blowback from a group who had not even seen the film. After informing them that there was some controversy about it I was immediately met with anger. I was reminded that the black actors and designers and producers and directors and make-up artists were all experiencing great success. I was also informed that advanced African societies did exist. I had not said otherwise but now the fictional land of Wakanda represents Egypt and Zimbabwe and Meroe and Ethiopia and any questions surrounding the fictional nation are now said to reflect on the real ones.

“This time a movie, not even a person, stands in for millions of people and their desire for validation.”

At least one Black Agenda Report reader felt compelled to warn against “picking each other apart.” Others point out it is just a movie and ask why we are opposed to entertainment. Questioners are “hoteps” who are too woke to have fun.

There are even some who decry purchasing bootleg copies of the movie. Millions of people who purchase counterfeit movies now refuse to do so lest the Disney corporation lose a few dollars and stop putting black people on screen. No one should care about their bottom line but millions of people do now because there is a new black face on high.

There are always serious issues surrounding imagery in media. If nothing else, Black Panther exposes the truth of Hollywood’s product. This movie is just one of 18 that are based on Marvel comics characters. Black Panther defenders rightly point out that they have already paid to see characters like Iron Man, a defense contractor, or Captain America, a creation of the military industrial complex, or Thor, a deity who is white and blonde. Do the politically conscious eschew these movies altogether or are they only problematic when black people are included in the dubious politics of fantasy action movies?

“Millions of people who purchase counterfeit movies now refuse to do so lest the Disney corp. lose a few dollars and stop putting black people on screen.”

The reaction to the Black Panther movie is understandable given the overall production quality of the film, and the attractiveness of the setting and the characters. But the lack of political education amongst ourselves is the bigger issue here. Without that the desire for justice and inclusion can be reduced to seeing people who look like us. We may ignore a problematic political message in a film or even worse support a president who destroyed the advanced African nation of Libya. That real life villain was a black face in a high place too.

Patrice Lumumba, revolutionary leader of the Congo, murdered by CIA.

Corporate produced entertainment is just one part of a corrupt system that tells us up is down and bad is good. We can’t separate our movie going experience from anything else. There are very few Americans of any race who know that Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with the help of the CIA. There are few Americans who know his name at all and therein lies the biggest problem.

We can’t stand on historical truth that we don’t know. We can’t decide when to succumb to the desire to have fun and when to ask hard questions if we don’t engage in serious political study first. The liberation movement was crushed two generations ago precisely because the masses questioned everything they had been taught to accept.

“There is no such thing as just entertainment.”

It is natural to want to see ourselves. It is beneficial to the psyche and the words “Wakanda forever!” are proof. But this limited experience can’t substitute for what we need, even in the context of wanting to have fun. In an ideal world black people wouldn’t depend on Disney at all. But we don’t own the means of production and we are left with whatever the corporate markets dictate.

Black Panther is not as defenders say, “Just a movie.” If it were there would not be so much discussion surrounding it and fans would not be so excited. There is no such thing as just entertainment. It is quite political but the politics won’t be good if that fact isn’t acknowledged. Perhaps we do need to reject most of the media we can access. That is a thorny issue and it is not for the faint of heart. And the people who pose the question should not be dismissed as haters because they dare to speak the words.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at

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Good Panther, Bad Panther

“Black revolutionary consciousness is merged with white and bourgeois “



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Harriet Tubman is depicted in Underground Railroad sculpture by Ed Dwight in Battle Creek, MI

By Eddy “Precise” Lamarre  | 

March 10, 2018 10:59 AM EST


Harriet Tubman walked thousands of Black people out of slavery into freedom. She is truly the greatest freedom fighter to have ever lived. The idea of Harriet Tubman still inspires and motivates to this day. GirlTrek, a national public health nonprofit and movement, is honoring Harriet Tubman with an epic 100-mile trek from the Eastern Shore of Maryland crossing the Mason-Dixon Line into Delaware also known as the Underground Railroad.

This trek is known as “Harriet’s Great Escape” and culminates today, March 10, 2018, on Harriet Tubman’s birthday.

Ten Black women from across the nation set out on March 5, 2018, for this freedom walk. Slavery may not be the main issue these days but freedom from disease, stress, and depression are reason enough to bring awareness to what GirlTrek is accomplishing.

“Now, it is even more important that GirlTrek works to re-establish walking as a healing tradition. We believe that, as women, we are going to have to also liberate, one, ourselves and then come back and be examples and liberate our family. And one of the things we say is that, if Harriet Tubman could walk herself to freedom, we can certainly walk ourselves to better health,” said Vanessa Garrison, co-founder of GirlTrek.

Ten Black women who walked 100 miles to commemorate Harriet Tubman. Photo: Facebook–LeNiece Woods

When we talk about superpowers many times they seem intangible or just out of reach; however, when we take stock of the strength and wherewithal that exists in the DNA of Black women, we have to salute and honor it.

“We realized that we can’t just talk the talk. We will show and prove that 2018 is about radical courage and unshakable sisterhood. We’re walking the Underground Railroad. To reach 1 million Black women by 2020, we knew we needed to be even bolder and hold this unprecedented trek. Harriet Tubman saved her own life first and then went back time after time to save the lives of others giving us the blueprint for the work GirlTrek does today. This is radical self-care at its core,” says GirlTrek co-founder, T. Morgan Dixon.

Today we honor the legacy of Harriet Tubman and support the 10 women who have taken on this great task of this 100-mile walk to freedom. They truly are our superheroes.


Baltimore, MD–3/10/18–A portion of Wyman Park Dell was renamed “Harriet Tubman Grove, ” honoring Maryland native Harriet Tubman, an American hero and celebrated “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. The ceremony was held on the 105th anniversary of her death. At left, Council Member for District 14, Mary Pat Clarke addresses a large crowd. At right is Duane “Shorty” Davis, a founding member of Baltimore Bloc displaying a Harriet Tubman t-shirt he’s wearing. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun Staff.

Baltimore Sun

By Kevin Rector 


March 10, 2018

Baltimore, MD–A portion of Wyman Park Dell was renamed “Harriet Tubman Grove, ” honoring Maryland native Harriet Tubman, an American hero and celebrated “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. The ceremony was held on the 105th anniversary of her death. At left, Council Member for District 14, Mary Pat Clarke addresses a large crowd. At right is Duane “Shorty” Davis, a founding member of Baltimore Bloc displaying a Harriet Tubman t-shirt he’s wearing. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun Staff.

More than 200 local residents and elected leaders gathered in a tree-lined corner of Baltimore on Saturday to rededicate the space, which had long venerated two Confederate generals, to the famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

“We stand on the shoulders of this great woman,” said Ernestine Jones-Williams, 71, a Baltimore County resident and a descendant of Tubman who spoke on behalf of the family. “We are overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Thank you, and God bless you.”

The ceremony in Wyman Park Dell, on the 105th anniversary of Tubman’s death, took place feet from the now-empty pedestal of a large, bronze, double-equestrian statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Marvin “Doc” Cheatham demands action on Baltimore police war against the Black community.

The statue had stood in the park since 1948, but was removed in August amid a national reckoning with Confederate symbolism and monuments.

That reckoning began in large part in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof shot nine African-Americans to death in a church in Charleston, S.C. It grew in August after a white supremacist rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Lee in Charlottesville, Va., led to the death of a counter-protester after a neo-Nazi sympathizer allegedly drove into a crowd.

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration removed four Baltimore monuments with ties to the Confederacy — the Lee-Jackson monument, a monument to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney at Mount Vernon Place, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue and the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway — days after the Charlottesville rally in an unannounced, overnight operation, citing “safety and security” concerns.

At the event Saturday, city officials and local residents acknowledged the events in Charleston and Charlottesville, but largely focused on more local efforts to have Baltimore’s statues removed, including a grass-roots petition drive.

They said the removal of the statues has embued the spaces where they once stood — like the Harriet Tubman Grove — with their own symbolic power.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

“Since the removal of the Lee-Jackson statue, this park has become a gathering place for city residents of all backgrounds to meet, talk and enjoy the location as a space that symbolizes hope and positive change,” said Ciara Harris, a Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks official. “Harriet Tubman Grove will provide the city an opportunity to correct historic injustice to a Maryland native. Our city is properly recognizing an African-American hero.”

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke called Tubman, who was born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore but went on to lead many other enslaved people to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a “heroine and beacon for all ages.”

Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, a longtime civil rights leader who has been working to get Tubman recognized in more official ways across the city for years, thanked the community for its work in renaming the grove.

“You did what needed to be done to say, ‘Yes, we need to move on,’ ” he said.

Jackson Gilman-Forlini, 28, of Abell, who is studying how society re-contextualizes monuments and memorials over time as part of a master’s degree in historic preservation at Goucher College — and who served on the task force formed by Pugh last year to study the removal of the city’s Confederate monuments — said the rededication was a great thing for the city.

“Monuments are seen as permanent, sort of monolithic structures, but inherently their meanings change over time, and really the removal of these monuments was not so much about monuments in general, but about the kind of values that we as a society want to promote,” Gilman-Forlini said. “This is now the next logical step in the process of asserting those values, those positive values of inclusion, of tolerance, of speaking out against prejudice.

“These kind of gatherings in many ways are much more powerful than new monuments may necessarily be, because these are about community action and about the experience of the individual working in a community to assert positive values,” he said. “In that way I think this is really the best thing that we could be doing right now as a means of healing past injustices.”

Detroit’s Underground Railroad monument stands on the banks of the Detroit River, commemorating those who escaped slavery by crossing into Canada.

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