Detroit drops cases against BLM protesters, aid arrives for beaten minister, another Detroit mayoral candidate

The city of Detroit is dropping most of its cases against protesters that joined mass demonstrations over the summer, dismissing charges against 238 of the 245 who had been ticketed during the confrontations.

A Detroit city attorney said that prosecutors studied videotape and because not every demonstrator who violated the curfew that was set during the early days of June were ticketed, and because many of the citations were never submitted to a court, most are being thrown out.

However, seven people are still expected to be prosecuted for their involvement, including Nakia Wallace, a member of the Detroit Will Breathe activist group.

"We were delighted but they need to drop all charges," she said. "The truth is what we saw the city of Detroit do, was mass arrest, mass police brutality, and the fact that they can't show us body cam video, can't tell us who arrested who - none of that is a shock."

Wallace believes the same people who still face charges are those that filed police brutality lawsuits against the city.

Detroit Will Breathe was among the primary groups involved in summer demonstrations following the deaths of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the nation. Those representing the group say they want police banned from using batons, riot gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets that they claim hospitalized several members.

"I doubt there is a jury in the city of Detroit that is willing to convict non-violent protesters when police did these blanket arrests, and can't even prove people were doing anything," she said.

While charges were mostly dropped in Detroit, Macomb County is still following through with its prosecutions after several protesters were arrested following demonstrations against Shelby Township's police chief. 

Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido will still pursue charges in those cases due to the amount of proof and witnesses that saw protesters breaking the law. However, if activist groups have any other information to provide, he'll look into it.

City of Dearborn ridding legacy of former racist mayor

Orville Hubbard was Dearborn's longest-serving mayor and came up with its slogan "Keep Dearborn Clean" as a dog-whistle for keeping the city white years ago.

Last night, the city council voted to remove his name from the ballroom located inside the Ford Performing Arts Center, months after removing a statue honoring him from outside the Dearborn Historical Museum.

"I see this as a process that's really about evolving and it's not about erasing," said Councilwoman Erin Byrnes. "It really is about advancing unity and inclusivity in our city and I hope that this process and best update of the name sends a strong and positive message."

The city council decided to change the ballroom's name to honor that of Abraham Lincoln. 

Aid arrives in droves for minister beaten and carjacked

It's been an emotional eight days for Derek Hill, the St. Clair Shores minister who while out late Jan. 19 stopped to help people with car trouble. Instead, he was beaten and robbed of the van he uses to deliver food to the hungry. 

Since then, his van, which reads "Last Supper Mobile Ministry" on it, has been recovered. Roseville Police believe they have found one suspect and are searching for the other two. The community has also donated a second vehicle - a Chrysler Pacifica. And don't forget about the Gofundme.

"All leather, all power," Hill said after receiving it. "I couldn't be any happier."

He plans to hire another worker to help with food deliveries. And while society speaks of justice, Hill only thinks of forgiveness - something he already has done to the suspects who hurt him.

"Absolutely. I forgive them 110 percent and ask that they give their lives to Christ and be done with it," Hill said.

Anthony Adams throwing his hat into the Detroit mayoral ring

Count that two people running for mayor. Anthony Adams, an attorney, an assistant to Coleman Young, president of the Detroit School Board, and deputy mayor to Kwame Kilpatrick, has decided it's his time to hold the executive office.

On Tuesday, Adams kicked off his campaign for Detroit mayor, bringing what he calls is a "Whisper Campaign" to the race, hoping to elevate the voices of those left behind by Detroit's renaissance.

"When you talk about a renaissance, there clearly can be no renaissance in this city when you've had over 140,000 people lose their houses to tax foreclosure and more than 100,000 people have had their water shut off," he said Tuesday during a campaign announcement.

In addition to expanding economic wealth around the city, a more progressive police force is also shaping Adams' agenda on public safety with an emphasis on bolstering mental health services in lieu of a responding police officer.

Masks making facial identification more difficult

Now a traditional part of the daily wardrobe, face masks have introduced a new challenge for law enforcement due to their concealing nature. 

Recently, New York City's surveillance video caught a group assaulting an old man walking down the street. Police are struggling to identify members of the crowd involved in the beating. The incident raises issues for cities like Detroit that use the same technology and techniques for identifying suspects.

"It's going to make it very difficult for law enforcement to apprehend the suspects without actually catching their faces," said Robert Gonzalez, St. Johns University assistant professor. "They're going to need severe cooperation with the public in order to identify the suspects."

It can also be a problem for business owners trying to pick out the difference between someone patronizing a store and someone causing trouble.

However, police still rely on backtracking cases as a form of investigation.

Community rallies around Royal Oak ice cream shop

Opening in 1958, Ray's Ice Cream has been a staple of Royal Oak and a fan-favorite of the community for decades. The year it opened was when Tom Stevens was born.

He started working there when he was 7 and has helped the establishment weather economic crises and political scandal and food recalls and any other challenge. But COVID-19 is a different beast and it's brought the ice cream shop down.

"It's just been brutal - absolutely brutal because half of our business is not just serving cones out here, it's also restaurants, country clubs," said Stevens.

Even before the pandemic, construction had bogged down traffic. But with his business's back against the wall, Stevens has started a GoFundMe for help.

The outpouring of support has already been big - with the account up to $11,000  and growing fast by noon on Tuesday.

Other things of note

1. Detroit's Riverwalk has been nominated as one of the best in the country by USA TODAY 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards. The public can vote on which is best by clicking on the link
2. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is delivering her 2021 State of the State address tonight at 7 p.m. FOX 2 will stream it live onsite and on Facebook.
3. January's first full moon will be out in the sky Thursday, peaking around 7:16 p.m.
4. Two high-profile plea hearings are taking place Wednesday when former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith and UAW head Edward Robinson make an appearance in federal court.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Now comes a break in the snow - a four-day break to be precise. The next time it could come is Sunday. But expect cold air to stick around, dipping into the low teens at night.

‘Wartime effort’: Biden boosting vaccine supply to states, buying 200 million more doses

President Joe Biden spoke to the nation Tuesday about steps his administration is taking to meet his goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots within his first 100 days in office.

Biden announced a surge in vaccine deliveries to states, along with the news that the federal government is purchasing an additional 100 million doses each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. With existing purchases, the White House expects to be able to deliver enough of the two-dose regimens to states to vaccinate 300 million people.

"This is enough vaccines to vaccinate 300 million Americans by end of summer, early fall," Biden said, calling the push to increase supply a "wartime effort."

Biden also announced a roughly 16% boost in deliveries to states over the coming weeks amid complaints of shortages so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot.

He also promised increased transparency with state leaders and a goal that they will always have a three-week forecast of their vaccine supply.