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Tag: Detroit

A Chat With U.S. District Court Judge Terrence G. Berg About Being Shot During Attempted Robbery at His Detroit Home


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Terrence G. Berg is a mild-mannered, thoughtful guy who knows plenty about crime.

Before being appointed by President Barack Obama as a federal judge in 2012, he was a federal prosecutor and acting U.S. attorney in Detroit.

In March, he got a first-hand account of what it’s like to be a crime victim. While on his front porch in the University District in northwest Detroit, two men approached and told him they wanted to gain entry to his home. His wife and son were inside.

Berg resisted. One of the men pulled out a gun and shot him in the knee. Both then fled. The case went unsolved until this month when the shooter was charged.

Berg is walking again after undergoing surgeries, though his knee tightens up on him if he sits too long. He works out to stay fit. But the avid jogger isn’t sure he’ll ever jog again.

Berg sat down the other day with Allan Lengel to talk about the ordeal and its impac

FBI Arrests Man Suspected of Robbing an Armored Truck in Detroit

cash2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The FBI has arrested a man suspected of stealing more than $500,000 from an armored truck in Detroit’s Greektown, the Detroit Free Press reports. 

The FBI arrested the man Thursday afternoon at a home in Detroit, but declined to release more information.

The man is accused of dressing as a security guard and stealing several bags of cash from an armored truck on Nov. 28.

No one was injured in the theft.

New Border Patrol Leader of Laredo Section Officially Takes Helm

laredo-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Laredo Section of the Border Patrol officially has a new leader.

The Laredo Morning News reports that Chief Patrol Agent Mario Martinez was sworn in during a special ceremony.

Martinez, a 26-year veteran of the agency, will oversee a 171-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and 1,800 agents and support staff.

“I am honored to lead the men and women of the Laredo Sector Border Patrol. I look forward to working with our law enforcement partners to integrate operations that are beneficial to the community in which we serve,” Martinez said.

Martinez most recently worked at the Detroit Sector, where he was the chief patrol agent.

Other Stories of Interest

Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office Takes Time Out to Celebrate Its 200th Anniversary

l-r from the top: Ross Parker; Judge Gerald Rosen; The crowd; U.S. Attorney McQuade

l-r From the top: Ross Parker; Judge Gerald Rosen; The crowd; U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT —  Federal court, more often than not, is a pretty serious place.

But on Wednesday, judges, prosecutors, attorneys, courthouse staff and members of the media gathered on the first floor of the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Detroit to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The crowd included some former U.S. Attorneys: Saul Green and Jeff Collins and Judges Terrence Berg and Stephen Murphy. Some of the federal judges included chief Judge Gerald Rosen, Judge Paul Borman and Judge Bernard Friedman.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade delivered some remarks, calling the U.S. Attorney’s Office the best law firm in the state. Ross Parker, a former chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a columnist for ticklethewire.com, gave a talk about the history of the office.

Parker is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office e in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008.″

The “Dirty Politics” Behind the Imprisonment of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr.

This Michigan Department of Corrections record shows his earliest  and latest release dates as never at the bottom right.

. Vince Wade is a former investigative reporter for WXYZ and Fox 2. He now lives in California and runs Informant America, described as ” a blog about the shadowy world of law enforcement informants with particular focus on . . . Richard Wershe, Jr.” This investigative story is republished with permission. It is part of an ongoing series on Wershe.

By Vince Wade

The story of Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe, Jr. is an epic tale, sprawling and complex. It is a challenge to keep the story straight because there are so many players, so many events. It is a challenge to tell you about it.

It is much more than a story about a white teenage dope dealer in the black underworld. It is every bit as much a tale about police criminality, political corruption and what appears to be a decades-long vendetta, a dark and chilling conspiracy within the criminal justice system against a teenager who dared to help the FBI put politically-connected dope dealers and corrupt cops in jail.

It appears to be an organized violation of one man’s civil rights over his entire adult life. There are dozens of important events and hundreds of characters in this story.

Two key episodes were Wershe’s 1988 drug trial and his 2003 parole hearing. This lengthy blog post touches on both. Those bothered by how long it takes to read this should remember Rick Wershe has lived with all of this every day, 24/7, in an 8 X 12 prison cell for the past 27 years.

Featured_screen_shot_2015-09-11_at_10.39.42_pm_18471Ricahrd Wershe Jr. in court Sept. 4

A fierce, fast-moving battle of legal briefs is now being fought in the Michigan Court of Appeals over the re-sentencing of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. who is serving a life prison term for dealing drugs. Hitman murderers, serial rapists and habitual child molesters have been let out of prison by the Michigan Parole Board during the nearly three decades Rick Wershe has been kept behind bars. Others convicted of selling far more dope than Wershe ever saw in his life have been in and out  of Michigan prisons during his time behind bars.

Many Detroit news organizations have been wrong in their reporting dating back to when Wershe was convicted. Last Friday, for instance, two Detroit TV stations reported a Court of Appeals-ordered postponement of Wershe’s re-sentencing was a setback for Wershe. That is wrong. All parties agreed to the delay and Wershe’s defense team breathed a sigh of relief that the fast-moving court battle had slowed to give them time to hone their legal briefs.

The entire basis for demanding that Wershe remain in prison is the claim that his drug crimes were so vast, so deadly, that he poses a menace to society. If that claim can be shown to be false, there is no evidentiary basis, no factual basis for keeping Wershe in prison one more day.

Mike Duggan’s Letter

There are thousands of pages of documents related to Richard J. Wershe Jr., also known as White Boy Rick, in the files of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The most damning by far is a letter from former Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor Mike Duggan to the Michigan Parole Board. Duggan is now the Mayor of the City of Detroit. In that letter Duggan urges the Parole Board to keep Wershe in prison until he dies. The Feb. 17, 2003 letter is dated several weeks ahead of Wershe’s one and only parole hearing since he was sentenced to mandatory life in 1988 for possession of eight kilos of cocaine.

The law was later changed to life with the possibility of parole.

Featured_whiteboyrick_8100Richard Wershe as a teen and now.

The three-page letter purportedly written by Duggan contains serious allegations in stunningly harsh language about the crimes and misdeeds of Richard J. Wershe, Jr. The use of the word “purportedly” will be clear later in this article.

In Michigan politics and in its courts, the name Mike Duggan has marquee value. He made a name for himself as the number two man to Ed McNamara, the late Wayne County Executive. McNamara was an old-school machine politics boss and he taught Duggan how to use the levers of power.

Read more »

American-Arab Advocate: More Transparency Needed Over FBI Spy Planes

fbi-logBy Fatina Abdrarraboh
for Detroit News

Earlier this month, The Detroit News reported about a series of missions by an FBI spy plane over Dearborn. The plane, which is outfitted with a night vision camera and listening device equipment, flew over a portion of Dearborn and Melvindale for multiple nights. Melvindale has a growing Arab-American population. The section of Dearborn that was flown over have two mosques around the flight pattern of this particular spy plane.

The FBI claims that the flights over this area were not for surveilling the community and are routinely used to track drug dealers and violent extremists. In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge of Metro Detroit Paul Abbate stated, “The FBI does not employ aviation assets to conduct mass surveillance, nor to target specific communities…Further, the FBI Detroit Field Office is not aware of any specific or credible threats within the local Detroit Metropolitan Area.”

Given a lack of transparency regarding what spy planes are really doing, as well as the FBI’s track record locally, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Since the FBI stated there were no specific or credible threats, why were they flying over one particular area for multiple nights? Given that the FBI has used the problematic practice of sending informants into mosques, are they also able to take pictures of cars in one location, like in a mosque parking lot? When using their listening equipment on the spy plane, are they listening and capturing private cell phone conversations?

In recent years, the ACLU uncovered a 2009 FBI memorandum stating that Dearborn was on their radar “because Michigan has a large Middle Eastern and Muslim population, it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment by terrorist groups.” There is no evidence to suggest that this mapping has ceased, even though there is not a single conviction involving a local Muslim going abroad to join an extremist group in the past decade from the community’s approximately 300,000 people.

Our respective organizations’ constituents, Metro Detroit, and indeed the country have much at stake in the pursuit to ensure individual rights and liberties are protected. We appreciate The Detroit News’ reporting, which provoked questions about the spy plane as well as similar issues prior to this. Investigative reporting is what differentiates open and democratic societies from totalitarian ones. It is media which helps to keep the nation’s citizenry informed in order that we can be more aware when holding our government accountable.

To read more click here. 

Fatina Abdrarraboh is director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan.

 

ICE Agent Fatally Shoots Detroit Man

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — A federal law enforcement agent shot and killed a man Monday on Detroit’s northwest side , WWJ reports.

WWJ reports that the agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was part of a joint federal task force that was serving an armed robbery warrant in the 9500 block of Evergreen near W. Chicago around 1 p.m.

WWJ reports that Detroit  Police Chief James Craig said the ICE agent, who  shot the man, about 20, was “responding to a threat.” He did not immediately elaborate. It was unclear if the man was armed.

WWJ’s Russ McNamara reported  that Craig was “trying to calm” neighbors at the scene who were demanding answers. Craig promised a thorough investigation.

“Let us do our job. We’ll do it as quick as we can. I don’t want this to be a two, three-month (investigation),” Craig said.

 

 

FBI: 2 Detroit Cops Accused of Stealing from Drug Dealers, Dispensaries

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– Two Detroit cops are accused of stealing drugs, money and property during warrantless raids and bogus arrests during a four-year crime spree that ended with their suspension and the disbandment of the city’s narcotics unit.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court, alleges that Lt. David Hansberry and Officer Bryan Watson targeted drug dealers and marijuana dispensaries, intimidating them and stealing their drugs, money and other possessions.

Also under investigation was Detective James Napier, 35, who fatally shot himself in front of his parent’s home in January.

According to the feds, the cops would “identify themselves as law enforcement officers performing official law enforcement duties in order to coerce their victims into complying with their demands and to encourage their victims to flee, leaving behind their controlled substances, money or personal property.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said today that the allegations shouldn’t reflect poorly on the many hard-working officers who bravely and honorably perform their duties.

“The vast majority of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department are honest and hard-working, but these defendants betrayed their oath and their fellow officers,” Craig said. “We are committed to the highest standards of integrity, and we will remove any officers who do not live up to those high standards.”

The FBI handled the investigation.