What was supposed to be a debate among Detroit’s mayoral candidates devolved into name-calling, shouting and some good-old fashioned racism.
Perennial candidate, Tom Barrow, got personal with Mike Duggan, a white candidate and former Wayne County prosecutor.
“He doesn’t even have a Detroit accent,” Barrow said to some applause at the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. “He has no idea what it is we’re about.”
Duggan, who was born and raised in Detroit, but moved to the suburbs as an adult, did not back down.
“In 25 years of Democratic meetings, I never saw Tom Barrow show up to one of them,” Duggan said to applause.
Barrow has spent much of his campaign trying to get Duggan removed from the ballot, an effort that has so far failed.
The debate got off to a wild start when one of the candidates, John Telford, was escorted from the building when he began loudly complaining that he was not invited to participate.
During the debate, many of the six candidates lost their cool and spoke over each other as the crowd grew rowdy. At one point, candidate Lisa Howze, threw her hands in the air in frustration with the moderators.
“The rules have been broken all night,” Howze complained. “They aren’t consistent.”
The candidates eventually got around to talking about the issues but were often interrupted by one another.
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.