See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Justice concealed 

Outrage, fury, disgust. No words adequately describe how News Hits feels about last week’s ruling by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Isidore B. Torres, who denied a request to release what has become known as the Shoulder’s report.

After public outcry over fatal shootings by Detroit Police Officer Eugene Brown — who has been involved in nine shootings in his seven year career, three of them fatal — former Police Chief Benny Napoleon asked Deputy Chief Walter Shoulders and Commanders Cara Best and Frazier Shaw to rereview the fatal shootings and one wounding.

Attorney David Robinson filed a motion with the court nearly a year ago asking the judge to order the city to release the report. Robinson represents Arnetta Grable in a lawsuit against Brown, who shot and killed her 20-year old son Lamar Grable in 1996. What’s maddening — besides that it took Torres more than a year to decide — is that in his written opinion, the judge basically states that Robinson failed to show a “need” for the report.

“If it shows that Brown’s a liar, how is that not a need?” asks Robinson in an interview with News Hits.

Maybe Torres concluded after reading the report that Brown is not lying, which is all the more reason to release it. No doubt Brown wants to clear his name.

Torres also cites an argument made by the city as to why the report should not be released: “The mental impressions, conclusions, opinions and recommendations of Police Department executives are entirely distinct from Brown’s action and therefore do not even meet the test of relevance.”

How can anyone — including a jury — determine what Brown did without hearing the results of the department’s investigation? Isn’t that what happens in criminal cases all the time? Maybe Torres expects the jury to rely strictly on eyewitnesses — which leaves only Brown since Lamar Grable is dead.

Robinson plans to ask the judge to reconsider. If Torres declines, Robinson intends to go before the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Given the conservative bent of Michigan’s appellate bench, it’s possible the public will never see the report, which is ironic since it was initially done to quell the fury over the Brown shootings. By reneging on its promise, the city has only heightened suspicion and set the public up to ask the exact question it tried to avoid: What is the Police Department hiding?

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit