Detroit police are investigating claims that a drunken Charlie LeDuff, whose recently published memoir is climbing bestseller lists, got into a melee with two men, bit a security guard, urinated on the sidewalk and harassed three female cops at the end of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Corktown on Sunday.
But two friends of the Fox 2 reporter say the allegations are trumped up by an opportunistic security guard who wants to cash in on an inebriated LeDuff. Sure, he was drunk, they said, but the altercation was verbal until two thugs attacked him and his brother.
If LeDuff struck anyone, they said, it was out of self-defense.
“Charlie might push people’s buttons, but he doesn’t cross the line,” a friend of his told me. “He was attacked by some assholes and did what he could to defend himself.”
The security guard is threatening to sue, saying he was bitten and spit on by an out-of-control LeDuff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who gained fame as a New York Times reporter before returning to his hometown of Detroit.
LeDuff faces assault charges, police said.
A day after the melee, he was back to work, covering the conviction of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. No bruises were visibile, but as one television reporter told me, makeup artists can work magic.
LeDuff is the author of several books, including his most recent, “Detroit: An American Autopsy.”
Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, the unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.