Another crooked Detroit cop convicted in bribery scandal involving tow trucks

So far, the investigation has led to criminal charges against a former councilman and at least five cops

click to enlarge A Detroit police squad car. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
A Detroit police squad car.

A former Detroit police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to committing bribery in connection with an ongoing investigation into a towing scandal targeting city officials.

Daniel Vickers, 54, of Livonia, faces up to five years in federal prison after admitting he conspired with former Detroit Police Lt. John Fitzgerald Kennedy to steer work to an unidentified towing contractor in exchange for money and other valuable items.

“Today’s plea represents our commitment to holding our law enforcement officers to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism," U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison said in a statement. “Our citizens deserve nothing less.”

Kennedy, who used to be in charge of investigating professional misconduct in the police department, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in August and is awaiting sentencing.

The pair conspired to commit bribery by getting Kennedy to use his influence as a supervisor to encourage others officers to make referrals to the towing company, even though it wasn’t on the city’s rotation of qualified towers.

Federal authorities have not publicly identified the tower, whom Vickers called the “Godfather.”

“The actions of these former officers are completely unacceptable for a Detroit Police officer,” Detroit Police Chief James White said. “We appreciate U.S. Attorney Ison’s work to rid our city of corruption and will continue to collaborate in any investigation of alleged wrongdoing by our officers. It is a top priority of my administration to ensure that Detroit citizens can rely on our officers to act ethically.”

Vickers is the latest former Detroit cop to plead guilty as a result of the FBI’s ongoing investigation, dubbed Operation Northern Hook, that is targeting ties between the towing industry and city officials.

Former Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey was the first public official to be sentenced to prison for his role in the scandal. Spivey was sentenced to two years in prison for accepting more than $35,000 in bribes.

The FBI also raided the homes and offices of Councilman Scott Benson and former Councilwoman Janeé Ayers in August. They have not yet been charged.

So far, the investigation has led to criminal charges against at least five current and former Detroit cops.

In a previous towing scandal, six Detroit cops were sentenced in an extortion scheme.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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