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 [email protected]
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