Detroit EM official resigns after making racist comments

Bonsall_smA restructuring expert hired by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr resigned today after making racist comments during a meeting with a black subordinate and others.

New CFO Jim Bonsall is accused of asking if he could “shoot someone in a hoodie” during Angel’s Night – an apparent reference to Trayvon Martin, whose death underscored the dangers of negative racial stereotypes. One employee complained that Bonsall was condescending to black people, especially black women.

Bansall, who grew up in Westland, resigned under pressure from Orr following an internal investigation.

If Orr, who is black, was offended, he didn’t say so. Instead, he applauded Bonsall for his work.

“Jim has decided it is best for the City and himself that he resign his post effective immediately; I have accepted his resignation,” Orr said in a statement. “Jim has made great improvements in how the city handles his cash and finance operations in the short time he has been here, but it is clear that new leadership is needed to continue to move the City of Detroit forward.
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I thank Jim for putting the needs of the City and its residents first, and for his dedicated service.”

Orr’s office will conduct a search for a new CFO.

Orr also caught criticism for his insensitive remarks about Detroiters, calling them “dumb, lazy, happy and rich.” He has since apologized.

Steve Neavling

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.

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