Ongoing towing scandal leads to FBI arrests of two Detroit cops

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

The FBI arrested two Detroit cops on Wednesday in connection with an ongoing investigation into a towing scandal that has rocked city hall.

Lt. John F. Kennedy, 56, of Rochester Hills, and Officer Daniel Vickers, 54, of Livonia, were charged with bribery after agents searched their homes earlier in the day.

They’re accused of accepting bribes from an unidentified towing company. In return for the bribes, they steered towing work to the company, federal prosecutors allege.

Kennedy, who is an internal affairs lieutenant tasked with investigating dirty cops, is accused of accepting more than $14,000 in cash, cars, and car repairs beginning in 2018. Vickers allegedly received $3,400 in bribes.

If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison.

That makes eight Detroit cops charged in connection with the towing scandal. Officer Deonne Dotson, who was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison in July, was the last of six cops to be sentenced in an extortion scheme. The others – Charles Wills, James Robertson, Jamil Martin, Martin Tutt, and Anthony Careathers – have served time in federal prison.

The FBI investigation, dubbed Operation Northern Hook, is also focusing on ties between the towing industry and Detroit city council members Scott Benson and Janeé Ayers and former councilman Andre Spivey, who resigned last month after he pleaded guilty to conspiring with an unidentified staff member to commit bribery.

Spivey and the staff member collected more than $35,000 in cash bribes from an undercover agent or confidential informant on eight different occasions between 2018 and 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The FBI raided the homes and offices of Benson and Ayers on Aug. 25. They have not yet been charged.

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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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