Man claiming to be mistaken for chemical bank robber works to repair image
GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (FOX 2) - A suspect who says he's not guilty in a string of bank robberies is working to save his reputation during the legal nightmare.
"I spend my entire life trying to become a member of this community and to have it all taken away just upon someone just choosing not to do their job," said Michael Fox.
Fox is working to clear his name after he said last April, SWAT teams armed with assault rifles swarmed the Detroit gym he owns and falsely arrested him for robbing a chemical bank in Grosse Pointe Woods.
"I was talking to a young man about making good decisions ... I turn around and there's an assault rifle pointed right at my head. They grabbed me started cuffing me up," he said.
Fox said there were about five men in ski masks who don't say anything but ask him for his name. They would not tell him why he was being arrested, he said.
Eight months ago, Fox spent two days in the slammed until he was finally released pending charges.
"They said someone said it looked looked like me so they just came right in without doing an actual investigation. That's what really hurt my feelings," he said.
Fox's attorneys said they believe the same person in the surveillance image has robbed two other banks in the area. Still, police are calling Fox a person of interest.
"I hate to think that part of it is racially motivated but you have to think about that because they saw a dark-skinned black man and didn't see anything else beyond that," his attorney Gerald Evelyn said.
Fox was forced to retain counsel to defend what they call a bogus charge. They say despite witness statements, surveillance video and an expert opinion that says the bearded suspect is not Fox -- Grosse Pointe Woods police have no cleared his name.
"The tragedy is that when this happens you have two victims. One is a person who is wrongfully accused and has that stain and the other person's out there committing robberies and still getting away with it," Evelyn said.
In the meantime, Fox has lost business, coaching jobs and contracts. They have suffered shame and embarrassment. Even his young son is being bullied because of a case of mistaken identity.
"I want them to just admit that they made mistake," Fox said.