DETROIT — It’s not easy making friends in one of America’s most dangerous cities.
Since becoming chief of the Detroit Police Department in July, James Craig has become a thorn in the side of criminal enterprises after making five highly publicized drug sweeps and averaging 35 weekly raids.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Craig received a death threat via social media Friday.
“We need to clap him out,” Craig said the man wrote, which is slang for shooting someone to death.
Craig spoke defiantly about the threat Sunday, saying he would not be deterred.
“We will find you,” Craig said, “and we’re going to dismantle your criminal enterprise.”
Saying the FBI has unfairly targeted fans of a Michigan rap group as criminal gang members, attorneys for Insane Clown Posse filed suit against the bureau Wednesday, the New York Times reports.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit claims the gang designation was unwarranted and has lead to harassment by law enforcement.
Four of the fans, known as Juggalos, also filed suit, saying they were unfairly targeted because of the music they like.
One of them, Brandon Bradley, of California, said he was pulled over by police several times because of his Juggalo tattoos and clothing.
“I’m a peaceful person and I try to live my life right,” he said.
The FBI declined to comment on the lawsuit, but in the past said Juggalos have a history of violence.
DETROIT — The FBI is searching for bone fragments and other human remains at an industrial area on Detroit’s east side, WXYZ reports.
Crews in HAZMAT suits searched the area Thursday and plan to resume today.
WXYZ conjectured that it’s possible that human body parts were being sold but provided no evidence or attribution.
The industrial site, International Biological, is owned by Arthur Rathburn, a suburban man who worked in the anatomy department for the University of Michigan from 1984 to 1990.
Agents also searched his home.
DETROIT — The ATF is protecting art in Detroit.
Arsonists struck the world-renowned open-air exhibit – the Heidelberg Project – at least seven times since May 2, burning down entire homes that are used as installations.
The ATF on Thursday announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
“Arsons can have a devastating effect on the community, our chief concern is for families in the surrounding homes and for the lives of the firefighters who respond to these fires,” Daryl McCrary, acting ATF special agent in charge, said in a press release.
DETROIT — The Nigerian man known as the “Underwear Bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, hasn’t given up the fight to go free.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday heard arguments from his lawyer Travis Rossman, who wants his client’s guilty plea tossed. He wants him to undergo a competency hearing, according to the Associated Press.. He also argued that the punishment — multiple life sentences — was far too harsh considering the only person injured on the Christmas Day flight in 2009 was his 26-year-old client.
The prosecution, as expected, disagreed.
In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel wrote:
Abdulmutallab’s four life sentences did not violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The magnitude of his crimes—seeking to kill 289 people on behalf of a violent terrorist organization; his complete lack of remorse, which actually is pride in his mission; and his future dangerousness, make the … life sentences proportional to the crimes. The defendant’s sentences were substantively reasonable for the same reasons.
This is a Christmas story, but it really began just before Thanksgiving in 1987, at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta.
The Cuban inmates had rioted and had taken control of a sizeable portion of the penitentiary. The catalyst for the riots happened years before that in 1980.
The Mariel boatlift, a massive exodus of Cuban refugees from Cuba to the US, had among its refugees, convicted criminals. Fidel Castro had apparently thought the boatlift was an opportune time to decrease his prison over-crowding.
Upon arrival in the US those Cubans who were determined to be criminals were detained and placed in US penitentiaries with no clear plan as to what to do with them in the long term.
This uncertain future led predictably to unrest and ultimately to the prison riots.
When the inmates rioted and took control of part of the Atlanta Penitentiary, they also took some of the staff hostage.
The FBI was tasked with negotiating with the inmates and providing SWAT teams should it become necessary to retake control of the penitentiary by force and rescue the hostages.
SWAT teams from many of the large offices were called to respond to Atlanta. Our Detroit team was one of those teams.
So on a cold, rainy November night, an Air Force C-141, flying a circuit, landed at Detroit Metro Airport to pick up our team. Already on board were teams from Pittsburgh and Cleveland. We arrived in Atlanta early the next morning.
The Atlanta Penitentiary is a foreboding place. It was built in phases beginning in the late 1800s, into the first few decades of the 1900s.
It has 60-foot walls with watch towers on each corner. Upon our arrival we climbed to the top of one of the watch towers and looked down into the prison yard. It looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” movie.
Inmates were walking around the yard, all carrying homemade weapons: long-knives, swords, etc., made from scrap metal and sharpened on some of the prison machine tools.
After seeing that scene, we all assumed we were going to be in Atlanta for awhile. We knew we would prevail if it came to having to use force. After all they had made the critical tactical mistake of bringing knives to a gun fight. But they had hostages and a large supply of non-perishable food in their control.
The next morning I was walking to the Penitentiary administration building for the shift change briefing when I saw a tent where free coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts were being served. It was the Salvation Army tent. The Salvation Army was there every day of the insurrection including Thanksgiving serving coffee, donuts, smiles and kind words. I’ve been on a lot of SWAT operations, but I had never been offered coffee, donuts or kind words from the neighborhood in which we were operating.
DETROIT — It’s been about a decade since the “Detroit Sleeper Cell” case imploded and ended up being a big embarrassment to the Justice Department and the FBI.
You might recall, shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, four men were charged in Detroit with operating a sleeper cell that was plotting to pull off terrorist acts. In 2003, two of the four men were convicted of terrorism charges.
But the defense learned that the government withheld information that might have helped their clients, and eventually in 2004 U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen vacated the terrorism convictions. Essentially, the judge concluded the case was nonsense.
The Retro Report, a documentary organization, has partnered with the New York Times, to produce an 11 minute, 45 second documentary, “The Detroit Sleeper Cell.” The documentary was released Monday.
The documentary takes a look back at the case and talks to some key players, including former prosecutor Keith Corbett who assisted the lede prosecutor RIchard Convertino on the case.
“I think we overreacted in the post 9/11 world,” Corbett says in the documentary. “I think we were looking for the boogeyman under every bed. I think in hindsight a couple deep breaths would have server everybody better.”