Police investigating Warren councilman who threatened pastor

Councilman Ron Papandrea (right) and Rev. W.J. Rideout III (left) on Let It Rip.

Southfield police are investigating a Warren City Councilman who threatened to choke a pastor and civil rights leader during and after a segment of Fox 2’s Let It Rip last week.

Rev. W.J. Rideout III filed an assault complaint Tuesday against Councilman Ron Papandrea, who was escorted out of Fox 2’s studio and building by security. Rideout also filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney General because Papandrea is an attorney.

Papandrea was on Let It Rip to defend Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who was caught on audio recordings calling black people “chimps” and older women “dried-up cunts.” Papandrea claimed the recordings, which were obtained and published by Motor City Muckraker, were fake and part of a sophisticated conspiracy to bring down the mayor

“Would you shut up and let me speak?” Papandrea exclaimed during the show before standing up and making a choking gesture.

After the segment, Papandrea repeatedly said in the studio that he wanted “to choke” Rideout, prompting security to remove the councilman from the building.

“He threatened me so many times,” Rideout told me today. “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

On Tuesday, Rideout joined dozens of people calling for Mayor Fouts to resign at a Warren City Council meeting. At the ending of the meeting, the council decided to take no action over the recordings.

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.