On June 04, 1984, Detroit Police Officer Eugene J Williams shot and injured his wife Officer Pamela Hatter Williams. Williams was suspended with pay from the department.
A WOMAN AGAINST THE SYSTEM
BY GARY YOUNGE
The Nation and by Agence Globale
December 19, 2008
(Nov. 17, 2010 – This article is being re-published due to a recent attack on Bukowski related to her conviction in this case.)
On election day James Willingham, 42, was driving home from the polls in Detroit around 3:30 pm on his motorcycle when he was allegedly hit by a police car with such force that he struck and killed a pedestrian, Jeffrey Frazier, and then crashed into a pole and died from the impact.
When Diane Bukowski, a white journalist for the black newspaper Michigan Citizen, heard the news on a black radio station, she rushed to the scene on the corner of Justine and East Davison. The first print reporter to arrive, she showed her credentials and started taking photographs. A female state trooper yelled at her from across the street, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” Bukowski again identified herself as a journalist. “I didn’t cross any police tape,” says Bukowski. “I was just doing my job.” The trooper grabbed the camera, deleted the photos, handcuffed Bukowski, arrested her on a single misdemeanor count of obstructing an investigation and took her to state police headquarters, where she was held for about an hour.
And so it was that as the polls were closing in Michigan and the nation began to bask in the warm glow of a post-racial society, a white woman was cuffed and fingerprinted because she tried to tell the world about two black men who had just been killed.
For all the dreamy talk of the journey we are on to transcend race, only a handful like Bukowski are actually paying for the ticket. Not just because she’s a white woman who works for a black newspaper and got arrested, or because the victims she was writing about were black, but because she is a white person who is prepared to take on the mess that white supremacy has built.
Extinguishing race as a meaningful category demands that we first get rid of the racism that gives it meaning. In that respect, the symbolic resonance of election night in Chicago — joyous as it was — can be understood only within the systemic neglect and harassment of that fateful afternoon in Detroit. The two scenes do not contradict but complement each other. A black man in the White House seemed so unlikely precisely because a black man in prison or dead at the hands of the police is so much more likely. What individuals do in the privacy of the polling booth pleasantly surprised some of us; but the outrageous things institutions do in plain sight no longer turn heads. Race describes the protagonists; power shapes the narrative.
“I’m happy that Barack Obama got elected,” says Arnold Reed, Bukowski’s attorney. “It’s a start. But he’s not the savior. He’s not standing on the corner of Justine and Davison. The battle that transcends race in this country is between those who have and those who have not. Diane’s reports have given a voice to those who have not.”
Bukowski cuts an intriguing figure. An insatiable gum-chewer, she strides through the roughest areas of black Detroit in single-minded pursuit of her stories. She is 60 years old and stands at around 5 feet 4 inches. A few days after her arrest, her charge was ramped up to five felony counts of assaulting, wounding, battering, resisting, obstructing or endangering five troopers, carrying up to ten years in prison. The idea of this small woman single-handedly battering five armed troopers would be funny if it weren’t so absurd. The charges were reduced to two troopers following a preliminary exam.
The police claim they didn’t hit Willingham. They say the accident on election day occurred when Willingham raced away from them on a stolen motorcycle after they tried to pull him over for speeding.
Given a choice between their account and Bukowski’s, I know which one I would believe. She reported on the murder of Brandon Martell Moore for the Michigan Citizen. Brandon, 16, was shot in the back by an off-duty cop as he left a mall. Brandon had never been in trouble with the law before. But the cop who shot him had. In 1971 Eugene Williams, who is black, was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident while under the influence of alcohol. In 1979 Williams shot and killed a 31-year-old man during a neighborhood brawl. Five years later he shot his wife, but she lived. Williams stayed on the force. The senseless death of a black teenager at the hand of a wayward cop is clearly not a newsworthy story in Detroit. The city’s two main newspapers needed less than 200 words to write up the whole story in which they failed even to mention Brandon’s name and quoted only the police.
Were it not for Bukowski, who pursued the case relentlessly, Brandon would have died without a trace. Thanks to her reporting, the community demanded answers.
So there is a reason the Detroit police don’t like Bukowski. She refuses to let them do their job the way they see fit. During her years at the Citizen she has broken several stories, including one about the “Booty Boys” — police on Detroit’s Southwest side were conducting illegal cavity searches of black men in public on city streets. She also broke the story of Eugene Brown, a cop who ran amok in black areas during the ’90s. Her work was used by federal authorities when they imposed a consent decree on Detroit police. Nonetheless, all these police officers, most of whom are black, remain on the force. “This is clearly an attempt to intimidate me,” says Bukowski of her arrest. “They are trying to cover up what happened.” Without her, they would get away with murder, literally.
At Detroit’s 36th District court, where Bukowski’s preliminary exam was heard, almost everyone is black — the public defenders, judges, security guards, defendants, cashiers, stenographers, ushers. Once the system is up and running, the race of those who operate it is as secondary as the race of those who fight it.
Gary Younge, the Alfred Knobler Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the New York correspondent for the Guardian and the author of No Place Like Home: A Black Briton’s Journey Through the Deep South (Mississippi) and Stranger in a Strange Land: Travels in the Disunited States
Killings by Cops on the Rise as Detroit DA Refuses to Prosecute
Four killed in July alone; Green candidate to challenge Worthy in November.
The Michigan Citizen
News Report, Diane Bukowski
Posted: Aug 12, 2008
DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appeared solo on the Aug. 5 primary election ballot, and families of children and men killed by the police during her tenure are asking why.
Two Democratic Party contenders, defense attorney Portia Roberson and Detroit Medical Center executive Maurice Morton, withdrew from the race in April.
Roberson, who cited the “changed political climate” in Detroit as the reason for her withdrawal on her website, later became chief assistant corporation counsel for the Detroit Medical Center, headed by former Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan. Morton, previously deputy chief of drug operations under Duggan, moved to another position out of state, according to a fellow church member.
‘Worthy needs to go’
“Worthy needs to go,” said Rayfield Moore, Shelton Bell, Sr.’s next door neighbor. Bell’s only child, 16-year-old Shelton Bell, Jr. was the first of four men killed by law enforcement officers in Detroit this past July.
Moore was elated to learn that in November, Detroit criminal defense attorney Matthew Abel will run against Worthy on the Green Party ticket.
Worthy has not charged a single Detroit police officer with murder since — as an assistant prosecutor — she prosecuted Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn for killing Malice Green in 1992. There have been dozens of killings during her tenure.
She did unsuccessfully prosecute Michigan State Trooper Jay Morningstar for the 2004 killing of Eric Williams, a homeless man, in Detroit’s Greektown.
“We must charge based on facts we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Worthy said in a statement. “We do not have a quota system for charging police officers. Each case is evaluated on its own merits.”
The July killings are still under investigation, Worthy said.
She did not comment on the June 2 killing of 54-year-old Tommy Staples, Sr., a community mentor who regularly mediated when youth were stopped by the two officers who killed him. According to his autopsy report, Staples was shot two times in a front shoulder, two times in a back shoulder, once in a foot, and once in the top of the head. When his wife and son arrived at the scene, they found him under the officers’ car.
Worthy defends record
“In 2006 and 2007 we charged 36 Detroit Police Officers with felonies and misdemeanor offenses,” Worthy said. “Currently in 2008 we have charged officers with crimes. These cases reflect both on and off duty misconduct. The crimes range from felonies such as involuntary manslaughter, criminal sexual conduct, child sexual assault and domestic violence assault offenses.”
That is small comfort for Bell, Sr. His son, the father of a two-year-old boy and a six-month-old girl, was killed July 1 at a BP gas station at West Chicago and Schaefer by an off-duty Detroit police officer. The autopsy report shows that Bell, Jr. was shot ten times, five in the chest, three in the back, once in the head behind his right ear, and once in his left arm. None of the shots were at close range. Bell, Jr. had no intoxicants in his system according to the toxicology report.
The police department said that Bell, Jr. demanded the keys to the unidentified officer’s car. Police said the teenager had a gun, but his uncle said that an officer he knows told him that Bell never had a chance to pull it.
Videotape shows teen running away from cop
A blurry gas station videotape of the scene shows a figure running up to the officer’s car at the pump, then immediately running a good distance away towards the street, turning to face the officer and collapsing. Bell’s companion was later released without charges.
Bell, Sr. said he rode his bike to the scene and saw his son’s body directly behind the back of the officer’s car, not at the site shown in the videotape. He said the body lay there for five hours while police and coroner officials laughed and joked. Bell said the family plans to ask their pastors, the Rev. Jim Holley and the Rev. Keith Butler respectively, for assistance in obtaining justice for their nephew.
Bell, Sr. said his son had a “fascination with the streets” and was released from a youth detention facility only three weeks before he was killed. But he said that he was kind-hearted, and looked up to by the youth in the facility, many of whom attended his funeral at New Light Missionary Baptist Church.
DeAngelo, a friend of Bell, Jr’s., who asked that his last name not be used, said, “He was a good person who was trying to stay out of trouble, although he did get into it. He always talked to me and asked for guidance. It was just a tragedy. I don’t know why the officer to emptied his whole clip into him.”
Other police killings include:
- On July 14, police killed a man they claim emerged from a house at Indiandale and 14th streets, pointing a gun at them. They alleged that he and three others were involved in an earlier drive-by shooting and carjacking. They said they arrested the three others, and tracked the fourth man with a dog to the house where they killed him.
- On July 18, 35-year-old Robert Hill, backpack strapped on, rode his bicycle to an apartment building at Appoline and Buena Vista. Hill and his bicycle were rammed by a police car into another vehicle. The officers claimed that Hill pulled a gun, and when they ordered him to put it down, he pointed it at them and they shot him to death.
- On July 20, at 4:30 a.m., an off-duty Wayne County Deputy Sheriff shot two men, killing one, who allegedly began firing their guns into a southwest side party the sheriff was at. According to published reports, Victor Akrawi, owner of the house, said that the two men wore masks and that when he removed the mask on the dead man, who was from Clinton Township, he did not know who he was. No one at the party was hurt.
-On Dec. 26 last year, Rose Cobb was shot to death outside a CVS pharmacy on East Jefferson as she sat in her car, waiting for her husband, Detroit police Sgt. David Cobb, to come out of the store. Vincent Smothers, a self-admitted hit man, later confessed to the killing, saying that Cobb hired him to kill his wife, and that Cobb’s girl-friend’s son, Marzell Shawn Black was also involved. Black has also been charged, but Worthy refused to press charges against Cobb, despite police officials’ contention that they had enough evidence to charge him.
Worthy said, “We cannot comment on this matter due to an ongoing investigation regarding the death of Rose Cobb.”
It is not uncommon, however, for the prosecutor’s office to claim an investigation is ongoing when it is actually over.
Police records showed that the case against officer Eugene Williams, who was moonlighting off-duty as store security when he shot 16-year-old Brandon Martell Moore in the back at the Bel-Aire mall in November, 2006, was closed in January, 2007. However, Worthy’s office continued to claim long afterwards that the investigation was ongoing.
Moore’s father, John Moore, Sr., said, “The investigation into my son’s case was incompetent and a decision was made too quickly. Williams had already shot his own wife and slammed a little boy at Cody High School into the wall. How can you pay someone to represent the people when they allow cops to get away with shooting us? Pretty soon, we’re going to start shooting back, and there’s going to be an all-out war.”
Williams also killed two other men previously while off-duty.
Worthy later refused to prosecute officers in the 2007 deaths of Jevon Royall, 30, outside his apartment complex on 12th and Euclid, and Artrell Dickerson, 18, outside the Cantrell funeral home, despite abundant eyewitness testimony that the killings were unprovoked.
Worthy refused to prosecute killer cop Eugene Brown
In March, the families of the three men killed by Officer Eugene Brown in 1994, 1996 and 1998 confronted Worthy’s representative James Gonzalez, chief of the homicide unit, with the recently-released results of the Shoulders Report investigation into Brown’s conduct. The Report recommended that Brown be charged in the killings. Gonzalez said their office had had the report all along.
In response to the families’ demands for charges, Worthy’s office issued this statement: “Under the previous two administrations, there were investigations into the shootings that involved former (sic) Detroit police officer Eugene Brown. All of these investigations resulted in no charges being brought against him. Since taking office, there has been no new evidence submitted to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy by any attorney or civilian.”
Arnetta Grable, Sr., mother of Lamar Grable, killed by Brown in 1996, later told Gonzalez that all his office needed to do was look at the civil trial transcripts in her son’s case, which showed conclusively that his killing was unjustified. The Grable family won a $6 million award in the case after both state appeals and the state Supreme Court upheld the verdict. The family of Darren Miller, killed in 1999, reached a $3 million settlement.
Detroit Officer who Killed Unarmed 16-year-old has Killed two Others
Black Press USA - 1 hour ago by Diane Bukowski
Special to the NNPA from the Michigan Citizen
December 20, 2006
DETROIT — The Detroit police officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Brandon Moore at Detroit’s Bel-Air Mall Nov. 26 is Officer Eugene J. Williams.
A 35-year veteran of the force, Williams has killed two others during his tenure with the department, in 1971 and 1979.
Informed sources have independently identified Williams, whose badge number is 4174, although the police department has refused to do so while an investigation proceeds.
According to published articles and court records, Williams also shot and wounded his police officer wife in 1984 in a domestic dispute, and wrongfully knocked out four front teeth of an innocent 16-year-old Cody High School student in 1989.
“I want to address Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings,” said Moore’s father John Henry Moore, Sr. “Why is this man still on the force, after doing all this damage to people’s lives? If my son had shot him, he would be in jail or where he is now, deceased. Brandon was only starting his life, and he had a promising career, but this officer can still go home and take care of his family.”
Earlier reports indicated that the officer who shot the younger Moore was on administrative leave.
However, Williams answered the phone Dec. 12 at the Traffic Enforcement Unit on Mt. Elliott, where he is assigned. He would not confirm that he is the officer involved, but he did not deny it. He would not discuss whether he worked on or off-duty at the National Wholesale Liquidators store.
Moore was killed there after he and a group of friends were ejected from the store, got in a dispute with Williams, and then ran after the officer produced a gun.
“No, we don’t speak to people on the phone about things like this, according to department policy,” said Williams. He declined a personal interview.
Second Deputy Chief James Tate had not returned a call for comment about Williams before press time.
Bobby Pidgeon, a media spokesman for National Wholesale Liquidators, said the chain was waiting for the results of the police investigation in the case.
“We understand six young men attacked the off-duty officer,” said Pidgeon. He hung up when asked whether the officer was working for the chain at the time.
Desiree Stinson, a friend of the Moore family, said her children frequent the store and have seen Williams working there since Moore’s killing. A former 911 operator, she said that police department employees are not allowed to moonlight on security jobs because such jobs represent a conflict of interest.
The source who identified Williams said he did not have department permission to work at the store, which is required for any off-duty work.
“I don’t understand why he hasn’t been charged,” said Stinson.
“If it had been one of us, we would have been under the jail. But they figure it’s just another Black kid who’s probably a hoodlum. Now they’re finding out he was a good kid who had never been in trouble. Where is the outrage about a grown man shooting a kid in the back?”
According to a Detroit Free Press article published in 1984, Williams, who was hired in 1970, was fired from the Detroit police force in 1971 after being involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident while under the influence of alcohol.
After he appealed, the department reinstated him in 1974.
On June 5, 1979, Williams shot and killed 31-year-old Glenn C. Grace while off-duty, during a neighborhood dispute on the southwest side, according to a lawsuit filed by the Grace family. Grace was an auto mechanic with four children.
Both sides in the suit agreed that Grace and a friend, Lloyd Woolfolk, who was a Ford autoworker, had gone to the home of Carolyn Broadnax on Liebold, to confront her brother about an earlier ejection from a party.
Both sides also agreed that Grace was armed and under the influence of alcohol.
According to court documents, Williams provided one version of the killing. He said he was visiting Broadnax at the time and both were standing on her front porch when Grace shot at the house across the street. Grace then confronted the two on the porch, pulling out his gun and threatening to kill them.
Williams shot Grace in the head and shoulder, killing him.
In a different account of events, Woolfolk said the conversation he and Grace were having with Broadnax had taken a friendly turn, and that Grace never displayed or pulled his gun or threatened the two on the porch. He said Williams never identified himself as a police officer, instead crept behind Broadnax, and fired at Grace without warning.
Due to legal technicalities, a judge refused to admit a plaintiff’s witness list including Woolfolk, and the case appears to have been dismissed.
A city attorney defended Williams in the case.
On June 4, 1984, Williams shot his wife, Pamila Hatter Williams, in the side during a domestic dispute, according to the Detroit Free Press and court records involving their 1987 divorce. Her right leg was at least temporarily paralyzed as a result.
His wife was also a police officer who had been preparing to return to work along with 125 others called back from lay-off.
Williams was suspended with pay, but it is unclear whether he was ever charged in the incident. His wife said she used a pair of scissors to cut up William’s police uniform and never intended to harm him. Williams said she lunged at him with the scissors. His divorce records claimed it was a knife.
Williams sued his wife for divorce in 1987, and expelled her from their Rosedale Park home. Wayne County Register of Deeds records show that she quit claimed the home to him in 2004, and that there have been several tax liens on the property, including an IRS attachment of nearly $40,000. A contact number for Hatter Williams was unavailable.
In 1989, 16-year-old Robert Valentine was walking down the halls of Cody High School in Detroit, when Williams and his partner accosted him, according to a lawsuit filed by Antonia Walker. The officers mistakenly thought Valentine had been involved in the incident for which they had been summoned to the school. A school investigation later said he was not connected.
“Officer Eugene Williams took him, flung him head and face first against a wall, where plaintiff struck his face, mouth and head . . . breaking off four front teeth with the impact,” says the suit.
“Then he fell to the ground and was struck by the officers again without reason or provocation.”
The suit said Valentine was suspended but later readmitted after an investigation showed he had nothing to do with the original incident. The suit was dismissed after a settlement for an undisclosed amount.
For years, the Detroit Police Department has allegedly been developing a computerized system to monitor officers like Williams, who have had repeated incidents involving possible brutality.
The U.S. Justice Department monitor has also required that such a system be instituted. The most recent report available, however, indicates that the system is not operational.
HISTORY OF VIOLENCEEugene J. Williams:-
Fired from force in 1971 after a fatal hit-and-run accident while under the influence of alcohol. Reinstated 1974.
-Shot and killed 31-year-old Glenn C. Grace while off-duty, during a neighborhood dispute, June 5, 1979.
- Shot wife, Pamila Hatter Williams, in the side during a domestic dispute, June 4, 1984.
- Flung Cody student Robert Valentine against a wall, where he struck his face, mouth and head . . . breaking off four front teeth, 1989
- Killed 16-year-old Brandon Moore at Detroit’s Bel-Air Mall Nov. 26, 2006.