Profanity-laced voicemail to Harper Woods school • Perry Johnson sues to stop ballot printing • record catfish
TUESDAY NEWS HIT - Police are investigating after a profanity-laced voicemail was left with the Harper Woods School District in April.
"I promise you that the neighbors across the street from your middle school are about done with the (expletive) parking on the opposite side of the no parking sign," the caller said. "You need to understand that your people are not exempt from this sign, and it’s posted everywhere. You need to get your (expletive) together and get the (expletive) out of my Harper Woods."
Superintendent Steve McGhee says the caller was upset with how parents parked at the middle school for drop-offs and pickups. About 93% of Harper Woods students are black. McGhee believes the voicemail and particularly the comments "your people" and "get the (expletive) out of my Harper Woods" are racist.
"I was just rather upset from the tone of the voicemail and the explicit language that was used," he said. "I heard it in the veracity of the person’s voice. I’m 56 years old, I’ve been in America a while, and you know when you hear it, you know when you feel it."
McGhee said the district's IT department traced the call to a white elected official.
"The name came up as a city councilman, and it’s in that voicemail, and I’m sure since it’s been FOIA’ed you’re going to get it, but he stated that it wasn’t him, but it was his son," he said.
McGhee filed a complaint with police. After that, Mayor Valerie Kindle called for a sit down with him, his school board members, the councilman, and other council members. He said the city offered a weak apology.
"It was not an authentic apology, but even so I’m bound as a superintendent to make sure I’m protecting not only our children and our staff but also myself," McGhee said.
Willie Smith, a veteran, ex-police officer, and former Harper Woods councilman now working with the school district, says the voicemail along with other disturbing phone calls likely from the same person, hit home with staffers and administrators in light of the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York and the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
"I know that they have beefed up additional security at all of the Harper Woods schools because of this phone call and the threats that’s going on nationally," Smith said. "When you mention anything about ‘my Harper Woods, your people,’ and started to use explicit language of how you and your neighbors are fed up, I think that’s a threat that must be taken serious."
The chief of police said it is too early in the investigation to say if a crime was committed. The councilman and mayor declined to comment.
Watch the full news report here.
Perry Johnson asks judge to stop printing of primary ballots
Perry Johnson, whose disqualification from the Michigan gubernatorial race was upheld by the state Supreme Court last week, has asked a judge to stop the printing of the 2022 primary ballot. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Johnson requested a temporary injunction against both the printing of the August ballot as well as the election rules requiring 15,000 signatures to qualify for the race.
In the filing, Johnson accused the Bureau of Elections of using "secretive processes, deceptive practices, and on nothing more than whims of fraud, drastically changed…" the agency's procedures for reviewing signatures. The changes that Johnson accused the bureau of deploying were "novel, inconsistent, trivial, and wholly arbitrary data points."
Johnson was one of five Republican candidates for governor who failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot after more than 68,000 signatures were deemed fraudulent. In addition to Johnson, James Craig also pursued legal avenues to return to the ballot through requests with the state Supreme Court.
That was last Friday. During the BOE's meeting with the Board of State Canvassers the week before, its director, Johnathan Brater, urged the election panel to move swiftly with their recommendations due to the little available time the state has to prepare for the August primary election day.
Read about the latest political drama here.
Indiana man catches record-size catfish in Michigan
Say hello to the newest Michigan fishing record holder: Lloyd Tanner. The Indiana-native was fishing in the St. Joe River in southwest Michigan when he wrangled in the state's largest-ever catfish: weighing in at 53.33 pounds and 48 inches.
The historic catch beats the previous record set in 2014 by a resident of Niles, when the fisherman caught a 52-pound catfish. "I've been fishing Michigan for almost 30 years," Tanner said in a DNR press release. "What draws me to Michigan is fishing for big catfish."
The St. Joe River where the catfish was caught is a tributary of Lake Michigan. Tanner usually catfishes every weekend as part of an informal gathering of friends in the Michigan Catfish Anglers Trail, an amateur fishing club. "We have several fun tournaments that anyone who enjoys fishing for catfish can come out and fish," he said.
Then, in the early morning last Sunday, he reeled in the record-breaking catch. It was verified by the Lake Michigan Basic coordinator, who works at the Department of Natural resources.
Woman charged after fatal hit and run that killed wheelchair-bound man
A woman is accused of hitting and killing a man in a wheelchair then fleeing the scene last week in Detroit.
Police said Mickayla Wilson, 24, hit the 48-year-old victim in the 6200 block of Artesian on June 2. While fleeing, she also hit multiple parked vehicles, police said.
She is charged with operating while intoxicated causing death, reckless driving causing death, fail to stop at accident when at fault - causing death, and resisting and obstructing.
Wilson was given a $500,000 cash bond, and will appear in court again on June 13.
Federal prosecutions coming for illegal gun possessions in parts of Detroit
Over the weekend, an 11-year-old girl was shot and killed during a sleepover at her house on Detroit's east side. This is the latest round of gun violence that resulted with a child being killed in the city and, now, the city leaders are turning to federal assistance to prosecute some of these crimes.
"I live in the most violent zip code in the city," Sandra Turner Handy said. "We are off the fence. We are no longer straddling the fence - it is time to start saving the residents in this city." Handy, who is president of the Community Relations Council in the city's 9th precinct said the time to step up is now.
On Monday, she and other leaders met to highlight a strategy on reducing gun violence in high crime areas in Detroit. "Through the data we have identified the most violent areas in Detroit and they are sections in the 8th and 9th precincts," said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. "As temperatures rise so does violence and so this summer enforcement strategy has already begun . It began Memorial Day and it will be continued through Labor Day."
The number of shootings has fallen by this time last year, Mayor Mike Duggan said, falling by 100 shootings. But in the wake of 11-year-old Saniyah Pugh's death, the focus remains on protecting those who are most vulnerable.
Read more about the summer strategy here.
What else we're watching
- About 2 inches of rain fell last night, leading to some spotty flooding in and around Metro Detroit. That may be business as usual for many residents suffering from periodic flooding. Read more about FOX 2's coverage of seniors managing the fallout of flooding here.
- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has another electric vehicle announcement coming Tuesday as the state hopes to boost productivity and the sector's infrastructure. Look for updates around 11 a.m.
- The country's largest robotics and automation show opens Tuesday morning at Huntington Place. Hundreds of vendors will be in attendance to showoff the latest innovation in the sector.
- Starbucks stores in Michigan are unionizing. So far 10 outlets around the state are having their votes counted this week, including five in Ann Arbor. It's the latest example of the reemergence of the labor trend.
- Ever wanted to be a mural hunter in Detroit? The Arts and Culture Department in Detroit is joining with CANVS to employ people to photograph some of the best and brightest paintings around the city.
Live on FOX 2
The recent round of rain is likely to be the heaviest Southeast Michigan sees this week, dropping 2 inches overnight and in the morning. By noon, it should be gone as the skies clear and the sun returns. Temperatures won't return quite as high, however.
Iditarod dog found safe 3 months after disappearing from race checkpoint
An Iditarod sled dog was found safe after disappearing from a checkpoint in the race three months ago and covering nearly 150 miles, the Iditarod Trail Committee said Saturday.
Musher Sebastien Dos Santos Borges of France was picking Leon up and returning with him to France, the trail committee said in a statement.
Leon went missing in March after what the trail committee said was his "escape" from the Ruby checkpoint. In May, residents of the Alaska city of McGrath, over 120 miles south of the checkpoint, reported to Race Director Mark Nordman that they'd seen Leon frequently near a cabin.
The resident of the cabin and another musher left food for Leon in the hopes of catching him, according to the trail committee. He was captured early Saturday morning and was safe, alert and "understandably skinny but seemingly healthy," said Iditarod spokesperson Shannon Markley.