Voting during Michigan's pandemic election, Ferndale and Detroit police hit with separate lawsuits

Welcome to Michigan's first pandemic election. It's been a weird and winding journey to the state's August primary, complete with an unprecedented shift toward how voters will be casting their ballot. With the coronavirus sidelining most activities that enable crowding, which include lining up to vote at the polls, Michigan will put its absentee voting infrastructure to the test.

Approving a measure in 2018 to allow any voter to mail in their ballot, the system saw early successes in the 2020 March presidential primary before the pandemic came to the state. The law came in handy even more in May when local elections around the state ramped up absentee voting infrastructure, which led to 98% of all votes being mailed in. 

Now comes an unprecedented statewide election that every registered voter will be included in. Party nominations for every state House seat, congressional house seat, and many state Senate seats are up for grabs. Elections for county executives and sheriffs will also be found on your ballot. Although, for at least a million voters - they're already aware of what was on their ballot. That's how many people have already returned their absentee sheets. Around two million voters requested ballots for the primary - almost twice as much as the previous high.

Michigan's secretary of state opted to mail every registered voter an application to vote absentee earlier in the year, anticipating a need to vote remotely as a safe alternative due to COVID-19. The decision brought the ire of President Donald Trump, who has wrongly claimed mass voter fraud would ensue if mail-in voting was expanding.

Secretary Jocelyn Benson's decision to send ballots to every voter does present clerks with other concerns, however. Benson has warned of potential delays in reporting results, due to the time it takes to count absentee votes. 

At this point, if you haven't voted via absentee yet, it's too late to mail in the vote. Residents will either have to physically drop the ballot off at their clerk's office, or vote the old fashioned way - in person. For the 2020 election, that will take on the same strangeness as most other normally ordinary matters (and yes, that includes the recommendation of mask-wearing). FOX 2 has compiled a complete guide to voting Tuesday. You can find out more here.

There are several key races to pay attention to, with many elections happening in Metro Detroit precincts. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones is looking to unseat progressive firebrand Rashida Tlaib, while several Republicans vying for House seats in the 8th and 11th districts will look to win their party's nomination to take on Democratic incumbents currently representing seats there.

For a short breakdown of what to expect on today's ballots, FOX 2 also has a Races to Watch story you can click on.

Ferndale, Detroit PD's hit with separate lawsuits

Both Ferndale and Detroit Police Department were hit with lawsuits in separate cases regarding alleged malpractice of officers that resulted in tragic endings for several parties involved.

In Ferndale, the incident traces back to 2018 when three officers came upon Deborah Reynolds and DeAngelo Martin at a 7-Eleven on Nine Mile. Identified only as two suspicious people outside the convenience store, they were reportedly both drinking at the time. After detaining both of them, officers decided against booking Reynolds and Martin, opting instead to drop them off in Detroit around 1 a.m.

According to a suit filed by family members, Reynolds told officers she did not know Martin and did not want to go anywhere with him. Her body was found in an abandoned home less than a mile away from where they were dropped off, near Woodward and State Fair, almost five months later. 

It would take several more months before she was identified.

"Why would you take her in a car, approximately two miles from where she was at and leave her," said attorney Todd Perkins. "And not only leave her but leave her in a place where she was not safe and with an individual she did not feel safe with."

While the medical examiner's office couldn't determine if Martin had killed Reynolds, he has been charged with several murders and first-degree sexual assaults. Reynold's siblings Mattie and Andre are convinced Martin killed their sister. 

"At this moment in time now all we want now is closure with them," said Andre. "And we want them to come forward and admit to their mistakes and live up to what they did."

In Detroit, the outcome of wrongful imprisonment didn't end in a gruesome fashion, but rather with eight years of incarceration for a crime Darell Chancellor never committed. Also included in a lawsuit against Detroit and its police department is Darrell Richmond, who also falsely served time in prison.

"Imagine sitting in a prison cell for eight years for something you did not do, but that a crooked cop said you did and you know he made it up," attorney Ven Johnson says. That's the reality for Chancellor, who was released in March after being behind bars for eight years for a drug crime he did not commit. He was convicted and sentenced based on the testimony of a dishonest Detroit police officer.

The crooked cop alleged in the crime is Michael Mosley, who has already been convicted of accepting a $15,000 bribe from a drug dealer to dodge charges. 

The lawsuit claims Mosley falsified search warrant affidavits and gave inaccurate testimony.

Mosley was convicted after a 2019 probe into the DPD's narcotics unit uncovered illegal activity within the sub-department. 

Daily Forecast

A Tuesday cool down will bring us to a 71 degree high before summer temperatures rise again ahead of the weekend.

CDC forecast shows nearly 20,000 more Americans could die of COVID-19 by Aug. 22

new ensemble forecast by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States estimates that new U.S. deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus could increase to 11,000 people per week by Aug. 22.

The CDC forecast shows that total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 could reach 173,000 by Aug. 22 — with a possible range between 168,000 to 182,000. More than 155,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to Aug. 3 data by Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC forecast uses predictions from 32 different groups about the U.S. COVID-19 death toll over the next four weeks.

The U.S. reported just over 9,000 new COVID-19 deaths during the week of July 26 and Aug. 2, according to data compiled by the New York Times.