Celebrating a non-indictment

It was a curious sight. There stood Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick last week, defiant at his City Hall news conference, with an air of victory and vindication accompanying his reaction to news that state Attorney General Mike Cox would not file criminal charges against the mayor or his team. The event felt like a pep rally, with dozens of mayoral appointees loudly applauding their leader.

For starters, the state’s top prosecutor stated clearly that the alleged “wild party” at the Manoogian Mansion is nothing more than “urban legend,” without a scrap of evidence to indicate such a party ever occurred. But all the chest thumping seemed distinctly out of sync with what the investigation did find. For example, there was the question of extreme overtime abuse by the mayoral security squad, until recently headed by one of the Kwamster’s high school buds. The AG determined it was impossible to prove criminal intent because management of the unit was so poor and no written policies existed to actually violate.

And then there’s the controversy surrounding the firing of Deputy Chief Gary Brown, an accomplished 26-year veteran who led the Police Department’s internal investigations unit. The firing and subsequent actions have already resulted in two lawsuits against the city.

“In short,” declared Cox, “while a number of decisions made were arguably shortsighted and the indications of bad judgment or inexperience, there is not any evidence of an obstruction of justice or other criminal wrongdoing.”

Hooah! Let’s par-tay!

Brown’s attorney, Mike Stefani, contends he’s got a clear case of intimidation and obstruction, and is champing at the bit to take depositions.

In any event, despite reports that parks are getting cleaner, vacant lots are getting mowed, and development is sprouting from rubble like a chia pet on Rogaine, the events of the past few months have brought into high relief an unsavory side to this administration, which at best has bumbled badly and opened the city to lawsuits that could end up costing it a lot of money. Is this really a time to celebrate?

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