Detroit police removed us from their media list recently because a public relations official, Sgt. Michael Woody, declared we had “disdain” for his department, which is far from the truth. Police have declined our requests to be returned to the list, which means we cannot access daily public records on missing children, fugitives and violent crimes – the kind of information that is critical to a safe community.
“Sergeant Woody’s response is capricious, arbitrary and contrary to the law,” Jamie Fields, an attorney and retired deputy chief of DPD, wrote to new police Chief James Craig, who also has ignored our requests. “United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart stated, ‘Restraint of the press reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
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Fields, a former candidate for Detroit Police Commission, is a strong advocate for transparency, civil rights and police reform.
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.