Federal Government Moves to Combat Violence and Corruption in Detroit
Saturday, March 03, 2012
Federal authorities launched a two-pronged attack crime in Detroit, holding press conferences to announce crackdowns on both violence and corruption.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, surrounded symbolically by city, state and federal law enforcement officers, told the media that, “We will not allow Detroit to be defined by violence and homicides.” She particularly called attention to the east side of the city, which saw a 75% rise in homicides last year even as the rest of the city experienced a decline in murders and other violent crime.
Among the recent incidents that have shaken the city were the separate slayings of an infant and a 12-year-old girl and the murder of a woman, allegedly by her 14-year-old son. Six months ago, the U.S. government launched Project 48205 to prosecute gun crimes in a zip code with an unusually high rate of violent crime.
The day after McQuade’s press conference, Andrew Arena, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Detroit office, met with reporters to give support to a recently created task force that is fighting official corruption. Joining the task force are federal prosecutors, the Internal Revenue Service, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the State Police, Detroit police and federal housing, environmental protection and transportation investigators.
In mid-February, federal prosecutors indicted former Wayne County technology chief Tahir Kazmi for forcing an IT contractor to give him cash and free trips to Hawaii, Orlando and Turkey, and making the contractor sign over 49% of his company to Kazmi’s brother-in-law. On Tuesday, they indicted former Detroit Treasurer Jeffrey Beasle on charges that he accepted bribes and kickbacks that cost Detroit pension funds $84 million in losses. Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned in 2008 after six years in office, has served two prison terms and is currently on probation
To Learn More:
Detroit's East Side Put on Notice: Feds Are Cracking Down on Rash of Violence (by Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press)
Corrupt Officials' Time Is Up, Detroit FBI Chief Says (by M.L. Elrick and David Ashenfelter, Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Corruption Probe: Ex-Treasurer Indicted, the Kilpatrick Appointee Accused of Taking Bribes, Kickbacks (by Tresa Baldas and Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press)
Former Wayne County Technology Chief Appears in Federal Court on Extortion, Fraud Charges (by M.L. Elrick, Detroit Free Press)
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