THURSDAY NEWS HIT - Two more Detroit city councilmembers were the subject of federal law enforcement raids Wednesday when the FBI entered the homes and offices of Janee Ayers and Scott Benson, searching for what they called evidence.
The target of the search warrants was a surprise to political strategist Adolph Mongo, as well as the bribery indictment against Councilmember Andre Spivey. "They seem like three of the most unlikely people to get caught up in this mess," he said.
The immediate fallout is the concerning look of growing and expanding mischief at the city's top brass. But there are also concerns about what a federal investigation could mean for the city council elections in November.
In the case of Ayers, she won the most votes during the August primary election in the at-large race. Right behind her was Coleman Young Jr. There were two other candidates that made it into the top four, but with one already having a history of bribery, it could be Nicole Small, the Detroit Charter Revision commissioner that wins out.
"I think the two people that are going to benefit from this mess are Coleman Young and Nichole Small," Mongo said.
It's more complicated in Benson's case, however. The District 3 representative ran unopposed. "The ballots cannot be changed. They could resign, but their names would still be on the ballot and that could be very confusing to the public," said Mildred Gaddis, a talk show host at 105.9 KISS-FM. "It is horrible for the voters."
If Benson were to step down, would a special election serve to take his place? Or is someone appointed? There are pitfalls in both directions.
While Spivey is the most recent council member to be charged, it's Gabe Leland's recent conviction that Gaddis believes the current investigation is linked to.
"Keep in mind, Gabe Leland had a federal charge or some federal charges," she said. "How often do we see the federal government, the Justice Department, willing to kick the cases down to the state, without getting something substantial in exchange. That's just what my tea cards are telling me."
Speculation will keep any hard predictions from being made, but both political insiders FOX 2 spoke with wouldn't be surprised to see more people caught up in the public corruption investigation.
One person they don't believe will be hurt by the investigation is Mayor Mike Duggan.
'Welcome to Taylor': Video shows police officers punching, throwing man on ground
A Taylor man has become embroiled in a lawsuit against the city's police department over assault and battery accusations after several officers were seen on their bodycam footage ripping him from his car and throwing him on the ground. One officer named in the lawsuit is accused of punching him in the face several times.
Brendan Morgan, 34, was originally the subject of a domestic disturbance investigation last April when police were called by his girlfriend. The caller told police Morgan had left her home and was headed toward a Marathon gas station in a black sedan.
According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, one of the officers, 23-year-old Tyler Peake, approached Morgan with his gun drawn and told him to step out of his car get out several times. Morgan rolled down his window and raised both of his hands so they were visible. Ten seconds later, Peake can be seen punching Morgan in the face as he's thrown to the ground.
Morgan's attorney, Tom Perkins, said "they just look like a pack of wild dogs. They are swarming this one individual, tasing him, treating him less than human." During the incident, Morgan can be heard saying that he was hit in the head 10 times. "Welcome to Taylor," an officer responded.
Morgan is suing the department. He was originally charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer and fourth-degree fleeing the police. A judge dropped those charges after seeing the video. The domestic violence charge and malicious destruction of a building charge were also dropped because Morgan's girlfriend didn't appear in court. Peake has also been charged with misconduct of office and assault and battery. He has bene placed on unpaid leave.
Detroit opens cooling centers at rec buildings
The city has opened four recreation centers to offer air conditioning and relief from the heat that's swamped Metro Detroit the past week. Six public library branches will also offer their spaces to anyone who needs to get away from the high temperatures.
The four recreation centers, which are currently used for food distribution, will be co-opted as cooling centers until such time as the current heat advisory is lifted. Temperatures have hit 90 degrees multiple times this week and could do so again this weekend. Mask and social distancing rules will be required for anyone that enters. So will temperature checks. The locations will be open from 12 - 8 p.m. today and tomorrow.
- Butzel Family Center, 7737 Kercheval
- Farwell Recreation Center, 2711 E. Outer Drive
- Lasky Recreation Center, 13200 Fenelon
- Patton Recreation Center, 2301 Woodmere
The public library options will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Visitors will be limited to two hours for safety concerns.
- Campbell Branch 8733 W. Vernor Highway
- Edison Branch, 18400 Joy Road
- Jefferson Branch, 12350 E. Outer Dr.
- Parkman Branch, 1766 Oakman Blvd.
- Redford Branch, 21200 W. Grand River Avenue
- Wilder Branch, 7140 E. Seven Mile Road
Judge orders financial penalties, sanctions for 9 Trump lawyers
Nine lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump face financial penalties and other sanctions after a judge Wednesday said they had abused the court system with a lawsuit that challenged Michigan's election results in favor of Joe Biden.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said the lawsuit last fall was a sham intended to deceive the court and the public, just a few days after Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state was certified.
"Despite the haze of confusion, commotion and chaos counsel intentionally attempted to create by filing this lawsuit, one thing is perfectly clear: Plaintiffs’ attorneys have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way," Parker said in the opening of a scathing 110-page opinion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six Republican voters who wanted Parker to decertify Michigan’s results and impound voting machines. The judge declined in December, calling the request "stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach."
Woman's U-Haul storage unit emptied without her knowing
Some of Lindsey Grant's most prized possessions, from a signed Al Avila Tigers jersey to a framed photo of Steve Yzerman walking off the ice for the last time were stored away during her move from Ferndale to Royal Oak.
Now they're missing. That's because her U-Haul storage site in Troy was emptied last month without her knowing. "My heart sank. I was like, what is going on," she said. "A lot of the stuff that means a lot to me and no one else."
The facility has 24/7 surveillance security. However, when she went back in July to drop more stuff off, she found the lock had been changed and her items weren't there. Instead, someone else was using the unit.
Management let her watch tapes of the facility and saw movers removing things from the room. "It looked like a case of mistaken storage unit identity," she said. But she's still missing thousands of dollars worth of possessions. And U-Haul says it won't plan to cover any losses due to her opting out of extra insurance. Her hope is that news of it will help reunite Grant with her missing things
What else we're watching
- Former Detroit Lions players Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims will both be speaking at the National Cannabis Industry Association conference in Detroit on Sept. 22. They'll be discussing the physical demands of professional sports and the holistic approach to pain management.
- Two conservative hoaxers, Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, face the largest FCC penalty ever for robocalls they organized during the 2020 election that misleadingly told predominantly Black voters their personal information could be used in nefarious ways if they voted with a mail-in ballot.
- A 4-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run Wednesday night, leading Detroit police to issue an alert for a suspect driver. He turned himself in hours later. The investigation is ongoing.
- Early Thursday morning, Ecorse police came across a wandering young child in the area of Valley and 10 Mile. A parent was found hours later and the child was returned to their mother.
- Efforts to reduce recidivism are working in Michigan, according to the Department of Corrections. That's why the department has announced a new initiative to build upon the success and boost job and skills training.
Live on FOX 2
Temperatures will be hot again Thursday with forecasts seeing Metro Detroit near 90 degrees by mid-afternoon. Some showers to the south might bridge north, but it's unlikely to have much of an effect.
Many major insurers no longer waiving out of pocket costs for COVID-19 care
As highly effective coronavirus vaccines are available and hospitalizations continue to surge largely among the unvaccinated, nearly three-quarters of health care plans are no longer waiving out-of-pocket costs, according to a briefing by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Earlier in the pandemic, the majority of private health insurers voluntarily waived out-of-pocket costs associated with COVID-19 treatment, suggesting about 88% of people with insurance would have paid nothing if hospitalized.
But, with no federal mandate requiring insurers to waive these costs, the majority have instead pushed the costs back on the patient, according to research by the foundation.
"We find that 72% of the two largest insurers in each state and DC (102 health plans) are no longer waiving these costs, and another 10% of plans are phasing out waivers by the end of October," the company wrote. "Almost half these plans (50 plans) ended cost-sharing waivers by April 2021, which is around the time most states were opening vaccinations to all adults."