Low-speed pursuit

How slow can the Detroit Police Department be in investigating assault charges? We found out at the Board of Police Commissioners meeting last Thursday, and let's just say the grass at Zug Island grows quicker.

Roosevelt Dean, one of the panhandlers alleging that he was beaten by members of the Greektown Merchants Association's private security force, filed his complaint in March ("Men in black," MT, May 10, 2006). Two others, Otis Jones and Debra Hart, filed complaints in January. All three say they've seen no response from the police. So last week, Dean paid a visit to the Board of Police Commissioners.

"Is there a time limit on making a complaint and having the police investigate it?" he asked, his hand pounding the lectern.

Commissioner Jim Holley told him they were unfamiliar with his case. A spokesman at the department's Office of Chief Investigator, however, told us Dean's file had been sent to the board within the past month.

News Hits is still trying to find out who dropped the ball on that one.

Commander Brian Stair of the department's Internal Affairs Division says his officers started investigating Jones' complaint two weeks after it was filed. When they found that his alleged assailants were not laid-off Detroit cops as had been believed, but instead were former transit cops for the Detroit People Mover, they handed the case to the investigations office. Four months later, it's still open.

There was no word on Hart's complaint.

On another front, members of the Coalition Against Police Brutality and the Greektown Merchants Association met at the Atheneum Hotel last week. Coalition head Ron Scott presented the association with a list of demands, including monetary compensation for the alleged victims' injuries and a "sensitivity training" program for security team members.

Association spokesperson Joyce Wiswell — who told us the association has found no evidence that the alleged attacks actually occurred — says the meeting went well.

"Everyone involved thought it was a good first step," she says. "No conclusions were drawn, no real action was taken on the list of demands yet."

Scott concurs. "A lot of people got stuff off their chests," he says. "But we're not going to back down" on the list of demands. He plans on taking that list to GMA president Steve Georgiou within the next few weeks.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]