Note: Police sources incorrectly stated to the media that Cushingberry was at a strip club. The Penthouse Club is not a strip club. It is a bar.
Newly elected Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is accused of trying to flee police after leaving a Detroit barin possession of marijuana and an open intoxicant.
Now an internal investigation is underway to determine why officers did not arrest Cushingberry, who earlier in the day told the Detroit News to “Go to hell” following an editorial that questioned the wisdom of his new leadership role.
Police said Cushingberry, who became the youngest state House representative when he was elected at the age of 21 in 1975, was leaving the Penthouse Club shortly after 10 p.m. on the city’s northwest side when he nearly struck officers. He refused to pull over at first, leading to a brief pursuit, said an officer who was involved.
When police pulled Cushingberry over, he flashed his council ID and was never arrested. Officers found an open container and pungent marijuana and ticketed him for failing to yield.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he wasn’t immediately notified of the incident, as required when a public official is pulled over.
“Whenever officers initiate an investigation involving a public official, they’re required to notify a supervisor,” Craig told the Detroit News. “The notification is also supposed to go to the chief’s office, and we’re also looking into why we weren’t notified.”
Cushingberry, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is among a bloc of council members who adamantly oppose state intervention and the appointment of an emergency manager. Brenda Jones, also known as an obstructionist, was elected as council president Monday after striking a private deal that gave Cushingberry the No. 2 position.
Those who supported Cushingberry as president pro tem were Brenda Jones, Scott Benson, Mary Sheffield and Gabe Leland. Cushingberry voted for himself.
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.