Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let the Inmates take over the Asylum - Felon appointed to the Detroit Police Commission

Jeff Gerritt is at it again. First by smugging the suburbs and now pushing to improve Detroit by advocating for the wrong-headed decision to put a convicted murderer on the Detroit Police Commission.

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit Council should make Johnson police commissioner

Just so you know, Mr. Johnson is a felon convicted of second degree murder, convicted of shooting a 40 year old man.

Apparently for Gerritt it is important that the commission have diverse interests representative of the community, including the criminals it locks up.

By charter, the five-member body is supposed to represent the community’s diverse interests in overseeing the Police Department. There are tens — maybe hundreds — of thousands of ex-offenders and former prisoners in the city of Detroit. Many of them don’t trust, or cooperate with, the police.

The quest for Diversity strikes again. After all, the reason felons and ex-convicts don't trust the police is because one of their own isn't on the Police Commission.

Up to now, ex-offenders have had no voice on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. Johnson, 35, who served 12 years in prison for second-degree murder, would be the first such person to serve. His tenure would help bridge the gap between the police department and some of the dangerously disconnected young men in our city. It would, as one prisoner from Detroit told me last week, give cops some credibility when protecting the community.
The idea that it is desirable to have felons input into how the Police should be run is questionable, and the belief that presence of a convicted murderer on the Police Commission will give the police "street cred" is laughable.

"Yo, Da Police gots themselves a felon on the commission, yall better give 'em respect now, yo"

"True dat".

Not bloody likely.

Now it is certainly commendable that Mr. Johnson has apparently turned his life around, but to have a felon on the Police Commission certainly sends a message that Detroit is fundamentally unserious about tackling crime. Much as having an arsonist overseeing the fire marshal's office or an inmate running the asylum, the appointment of a felon to help oversea the department responsible for catching felons certainly sends the wrong message. Besides, Detroit has hopefully had it with felons running the city (cough, kwame Kilpatrick, cough Monica Conyers). This appointment sends the wrong message to both the honest remaining residents of Detroit that are sick of he crime, and to outside business and potential residents that otherwise might consider moving there if Detroit shows some credible shot at a comeback.

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