Home News Detroit police in row with county prosecutors over threats to kill officer

Detroit police in row with county prosecutors over threats to kill officer

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Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.  File photo.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. File photo.


Detroit Police claim that Wayne County prosecutors are breaking procedure when it comes to a case where a man allegedly threatened a police officer on social media, something prosecutors say simply isn’t true.

The incident has arisen in the aftermath of an incident where a 38-year-old Detroit man threatened to “kill that pig” in the comments section of a photo showing a DPD officer giving school supplies to children.

The suspect -who was detained on a probation violation warrant- could face a two-year felony, according to DPD Deputy Chief David LeValley.

“We submitted a warrant package to the prosecutor’s office, and they indicated they’d be reviewing it,” LeValley said. “The assistant prosecutor we delivered it to said it would be up to superiors in the office whether they’d file charges. That’s unusual. Most of the time, when we take warrants over, the reviewing prosecutor decides whether to bring charges. I don’t know why they’re changing the procedure in this case.”

However, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said LeValley’s interpretation of the conversation between an assistant prosecutor and the officer tasked with the case was inaccurate.

According to Miller, the assistant prosecutor “said that he was going to speak to the lawyers in his section regarding investigation and the law” and that “there is nothing unusual about that.”

The incident sparks yet another feud between the two law entities, in which DPD claims the prosecutors are not charging people for speaking out against the police in a threatening manner.

Prosecutor Kim Worthy says that Detroit police have conducted “substandard” investigations, kicking back several suspect cases, including one where she said the officers failed to read Miranda rights.

“There were two men who were arrested and taken into custody on traffic warrants,” Worthy wrote in a statement. “The men were in custody and were not free to leave when they were questioned by police officers. The law requires that Miranda warnings must be given in that situation.”

Worthy also said that the man who posted “All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter!!!! Kill all white cops!!!!” while vacationing in Puerto Rico couldn’t be charged, either.

“The law requires that the threat must have been made in Wayne County,” Worthy said at the time of her decision. “There is no evidence that establishes that the statements on Facebook were made in Wayne County. We do not have evidence from Facebook, or otherwise, that proves the suspect was in Wayne County at the time the Facebook posts were made.”

These are just a few of several cases where DPD feel slighted by the inaction of prosecutors to continue with charges in incidents where police were allegedly threatened on social media.

However, the National Association of Police Organizations says the recent attacks against police justify the hypervigilance.

“According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 61 hours,” the letter said. “Moreover, preliminary data from the (fund) indicates a 52 percent increase in the number of officer firearm-related fatalities from August 2015 to August 2016. The Dallas shooter who killed five police officers and the Baton Rouge shooter who killed three officers both posted threats to law enforcement on social media prior to the attacks.”

“In the wake of these killings, it is indefensible that your office would not take these social media threats seriously.”

Worthy has since reached out to the NAPO president to discuss the cases.

 

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