Guest Writer Joseph Williams
This time it’s personal! Many of you know me as a long-time advocate for people affected by the “criminal justice system.” For over 30 years I have served men and women in prison, in transition from prison and their families. Naturally I am very much aware of injustices that occur within the “criminal justice system.” Now my own family has become embroiled in a battle with the Oakland County criminal justice system. I live in Detroit, by the way.
On February 8th, my 25-year-old son, Stephen, was stopped (profiled I believe) by an Oakland County deputy, while driving on 8 Mile Road. The reason for the stop was his expired license tab. His car window was broken, he was tasered, arrested, had his car impounded and was charged with a felony for police obstruction. My son has never even had a misdemeanor charge in his life, in case you are wondering.
Stephen’s version of the events differed greatly from the arresting officers’. Therefore, our attorney (a former Oakland County police officer) petitioned the court for a copy of the dashboard camera video to determine who was telling the truth. After waiting for a month we were told that, in violation of their own policy, the officer had stopped the video before the incident which led to the tasering and arrest occurred. When asked why he stopped the video camera, he could not offer a good reason. Actually, he could have remotely restarted the camera at any time but did not. Additionally, the officers gave conflicting testimony during the arraignment in district court.
We have haggled with the Oakland County prosecutor since February in attempt to get the charges dismissed for lack of evidence, but they have refused in an attempt to cover their asses. They fear we will pursue a civil case against them, and at this point they are correct. I believe that Oakland County cops are trolling the 8 Mile boarder to arrest young black male drivers. This is a common practice carried out by police agencies across the country in order to engage in illegal searches, looking for drugs. Is it just me, or does whole thing smell fishy?
Written by Joseph Williams