Family of Detroiter imprisoned in China for bar fight still waits for answers
DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit man has been held in a Chinese jail for more than a year - and his family says there is no end in sight.
FOX 2 first introduced you to Wendell Brown's story back in November. A football player turned coach, from Detroit, he was in China teaching American football to kids.
One night at a bar, a fight started and he defended himself as bottles were being thrown at him. He claimed self-defense in court. Video supported that claim and the U.S. Department of State also stands behind Brown in that assessment.
Despite that, he has been jailed in China for over 500 days. The court case has been over for six months now without any ruling from the judge. So Wendell, and his family, wait for answers.
"It is just unfair," said Antionette Brown-King. "And it is clearly wrong to have a man sit that long (with) no answer. It is devastating to us all."
MORE: Mom of Detroiter imprisoned in China for alleged bar fight asks president for help
"It seemed like we were getting somewhere, seven months ago," said Travon King, Wendell's step-father. "It is hard to explain, really, seeing my wife fight every night for her son, calling the Chinese embassy."
Within the last month, Wendell has written home, thanking supporters and in those letters, he has discussed a new tactic to that has been suggested to him - plead guilty and serve a several year sentence. To answer that, he writes, "If they refuse to release me and I'm saying I'm innocent, I know saying guilty won't free me! If they keep an innocent man this long, how long will they keep a guilty man!"
"Wendell feels that I'm innocence and you've been holding me all this time, what will you do if I plead guilty," said King.
"Just to know that he is staying strong and that he is holding onto his faith and his truth," Antionette said. "That is all we can do at this point."
Next Friday Wendell's mother headed to Washington DC where she has meetings with representatives from the US State Department and the Chinese Embassy.
"What is the hold up," Travon said. "That is what I want to know."
The State Department released a statement on the case saying:
"The Department of State takes seriously its obligation to assist US citizens arrested abroad. The US Consulate in Chengdu, China has been providing consular assistance including monthly consular visits to Mr. Brown since he was detained. We continue to monitor his case closely. We last visited him on January 19, 2018."