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The Desire for More Transparent Policing

A Michigan state representative out of Detroit to looking to pass legislation that creates and implements a centralized database of Michigan police officers who have been faced discipline as an officer. This database looks to make officers accountable for their actions and will also prevent police from being able to hide their disciplinary records while seeking employment in other police departments. Critics that support the status quo believe that more laws governing the police actually require additional funding and staff to enforce existing laws that are already in place. Critics also believe that a new database would be difficult to maintain because of the wide-ranging disciplinary issues that would exist on the database, from minor ones to more serious ones.

The representative seeking to create the database, Tyrone Carter, is a veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office who served 25 years as an officer and retired in 2008. He is looking to gain bipartisan support for his proposal to have more accountability within police departments as well as statewide. He notes that he has been through not only the police academy, but also FBI training, and that officers are not trained to act in the way the officers did in the George Floyd murder. Carter does not believe that officers need more training, he believes that officers simply need to be held accountable for their actions. mi-state-seal-300x300

Original Pilot Program

The State of Michigan launched the now-famous roadside drug testing pilot program back in 2017. The roadside drug testing program started out only in 5 counties; Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw County. The program started with 31 “Drug Recognition Experts” who were assigned throughout the 12 police agencies between these 5 counties. A Drug Recognition Expert is an officer who has completed 72 hours of classroom study, along with 40 hours of field study before they are certified as “experts” by their respective police departments. These “experts” are not to be confused with expert witnesses, as the designation as a Drug Recognition Expert comes from police agencies and not a court. These Drug Recognition Experts were each given a saliva drug testing device to use if they suspect driving under the influence of drugs. If there was a saliva test that tested positive for the presence of drugs, then that sample would be sent to state lab for confirmation. iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

Current Changes

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently has approximately 600 detainees in Michigan that have been identified as “vulnerable” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These detainees are spread out between three jails in Calhoun, Monroe, and St. Clair Counties. Approximately 160 of those deemed vulnerable have been released already. The ACLU is looking to have the remaining 440 or so vulnerable detainees released amid this pandemic. To accomplish this, the ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit calling for the immediate release of these detainees because of the nearly impossible conditions and serious public health risk that these jails have. Social distancing is not an option for most all detainees when they are locked and housed in tight quarters with each other. index2-300x129

Who Is The ACLU?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded 100 years ago in 1920. Initially a group of civil liberties activists, it is now an organization that has over a half a million active members and supporters. The ACLU has 54 state affiliate offices nationwide, along with an office in Washington, DC. The ACLU in Michigan was formed in 1959, some four years after activists for social justice joined and pushed the ball forward towards officially organizing into a state office. Currently, the ACLU tackles social justice issues with its legal team unafraid to go to court when necessary. The current target of the ACLU is ICE and their detainment of so many undocumented people during this dangerous pandemic.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) have been a staple in the American car industry, serving as a labor union to auto workers in the USA and Canada since 1935. The UAW is headquartered in Detroit, MI and has almost 400,000 active members. It is estimated that there are over 600,000 retired members of the UAW. The influence and power of the UAW is vast, and so are the perks for its leaders. It looks as if its main leader took it excessively too far. Former UAW president Gary Jones has been indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy to embezzle union funds to aiding racketeering as well as tax evasion. Jones became the 14th individual charged in this investigation and its highest ranking accused of wrongdoing. This is uncharted territory for the UAW as an organization as they have maintained a clean image since their beginnings. cars-on-the-street-1-98669-m

Original Case Details

It is alleged that Gary Jones, along with other upper tier union leaders used union money to pay for luxury travel, high-end cigars and spa treatments. He is said to be responsible for over $1 million of embezzlement from the UAW. Jones and others are said to have covered their tracks by submitting fake vouchers and false receipts to receive payments. This scandal first broke in 2017 when former lead labor negotiator for Fiat Chrysler Alphons Iacobelli was indicted breaking the clean image that the UAW had once been known for. The UAW released a statement: “All UAW members including the UAW leadership are and should be angry about the charges of former UAW member Gary Jones and his alleged actions. This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a union. Jones and all who betrayed the trust of our union should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law with no exceptions.”

In a scene reminiscent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a glowing green ooze was seen pouring out of a hole in a retaining wall on I-696 just north of Detroit in late December. Exit 19 to Couzens Avenue going eastbound on I-696 was closed pending investigation and testing of the green ooze. It was discovered that the ooze was leaking from underground storage of these chemical by a business called Electro-Plating Services Inc. that was situated just above the freeway. The storage of these chemicals was found to be illegal to begin with and the investigation that followed led to the federal indictment and conviction of the owner of Electro-Plating Services Inc. freeway-6663-m-300x224

What Is The Green Ooze?

An investigation into what the green ooze actually is determined that there were numerous toxins in the soil and groundwater at the site, at very high levels. One of the toxins discovered at the site in high levels was hexavalent chromium. This chemical is associated with kidney and liver damage and can also cause cancer. Two other toxic chemicals were also present, Trichloroethlene (TCE) and cyanide. It was discovered that instead of properly disposing of these chemicals offsite, the company simply stored the chemicals in drums underground. The basement of the facility was leaking and led to this green ooze spill on eastbound I-696. Luckily, state officials have made the conclusion that the green ooze has not made it into drinking water and poses no risk to do so.

One aspect of criminal law that is often overlooked is the concept of self-defense. In the state of Michigan, an individual can use deadly force without having an obligation to retreat if they have an honest and reasonable belief that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault to yourself or to another individual. The defendant must make an affirmative defense to prove the following elements: Personal-Safety-Guides-Protect-Yourself-Against-Sex-Crimes-Pic-300x199

A. The defendant was not engaged in a crime of the time deadly force was used.

B. That you are somewhere you’re legally allowed to be and

This year, the 4th of July holiday falls on Monday, which means many people will be enjoying a long weekend. More people will be celebrating, having parties, and likely enjoying a few adult beverages. It’s a good time for most folks, but it’s important to focus on safety whether you’re having a few beers or planning a fireworks display of your own! american-eagle-with-flag-407636-m-300x225

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act makes it legal to purchase bottle rockets, roman candles, and other fireworks that can leave the ground and shoot into almost any direction. This means that any time you’re shooting off fireworks, there is a risk to adults, children, and even animals or property. Naturally, the more powerful or large a firework is, the greater the risk of injury.

Last year, more than 20,000 individuals signed an online petition calling for repeal of the state’s consumer-grade fireworks law due to not only fire and injury concerns, but even the noise and distraction caused by fireworks. In 2015, there were 67 emergency room visits as of July 8th that were linked to injuries caused by fireworks; one man died after holding a large mortar fireworks shell to his head, according to news reports.

Last week, an Uber driver allegedly ran a red light and plowed into a bus. According to San Diego police, the Uber driver en route to pick up a customer when the crash occurred, however, a spokesperson with Uber said that was not the case. The man driving for Uber was arrested for driving under the influence. iStock_000009751642_Full-2-300x253

The accident occurred just before midnight, however there were no passengers on the party bus according to news reports. The driver of the bus escaped injury, however the Uber driver suffered a shoulder injury and the front of his vehicle was demolished. The man failed a field sobriety test, and also had to be Tasered as he was reportedly combative with police officers.

The Uber driver now faces charges that include driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Uber released a statement regarding their disappointment about the accident, saying the driver had been removed permanently from access to the Uber platform, and the company’s zero tolerance policy for using or DUI while driving on the platform.

Recently, 31-year-old Keri Cache of Oakland, CA was arrested after she allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence. According to news reports, a 28-year-old man was struck by Cache as he was outside of his vehicle checking a tire. The victim reportedly careened down an embankment along the freeway after being hit. iStock_000001825952_Large-300x225

An off-duty Berkeley police officer claims he saw Cache in her Chevrolet Malibu on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 as she was driving at about 75 mph in the slow lane and weaving back and forth. Soon after she crashed into the victim’s Toyota which was pulled over on the shoulder of the highway.

According to the officer, Cache continued on and did not stop at the scene of the accident. He then alerted authorities and continued his pursuit of the Malibu as it exited the highway, then pulled into a grocery store parking lot where Cache allegedly drove in circles before leaving. After exiting the parking lot, CHP reported she ran a red light and returned to the Interstate, where she was eventually apprehended by an officer and pulled over.

On Saturday afternoon January 30, a Delray Beach man reportedly plowed through seven vehicles on Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach as they were stopped at a red light. According to news reports, 47-year-old James Dean Martin was driving under the influence when the incident occurred. iStock_000008348064_Large-300x200

Martin allegedly attempted to navigate his Ford pick-up between two lanes of traffic that were stopped at the light; Boynton Beach police were called to the intersection after witnesses reported the incident. Police charged Martin with DUI and driving on a suspended license. He was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.

None of the motorists were injured in the incident, however spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said victims and witnesses had to detain Martin until police arrived on the scene.

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